Health Guide
Drug Guide

Glatiramer (Subcutaneous route)

Pronunciation:

gla-TIR-a-mer AS-e-tate

Brand Names:

Dosage Forms:

Classifications:

Therapeutic

Central Nervous System Agent

Uses of This Medicine:

Glatiramer injection is used to reduce the frequency of relapses (flare-ups) in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RMMS). This medicine will not cure multiple sclerosis (MS), but may extend the time between relapses.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using This Medicine:

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Children

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of glatiramer injection in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Older adults

Appropriate studies on the relationship of age to the effects of glatiramer injection have not been performed in the geriatric population. However, no geriatric-specific problems have been documented to date.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy CategoryExplanation
All TrimestersBAnimal studies have revealed no evidence of harm to the fetus, however, there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR animal studies have shown an adverse effect, but adequate studies in pregnant women have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus.

Breast-feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Other medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other medical problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

Proper Use of This Medicine:

Use this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor in order to help your condition as much as possible.

Special patient directions come with glatiramer injection. Read and follow the directions carefully before using the medicine.

This medicine comes in two dosage strengths: 20 milligrams (mg) and 40 mg prefilled syringes. Your doctor will prescribe which dosage strength is right for you.

To use the injection:

Before you self-inject the glatiramer dose, decide where you will inject yourself. There are 7 possible injection sites on your body (eg, arms, thighs, hips, or lower abdomen or stomach area), and you should not use any site more than once each week. Marking a calendar will help you keep track of the sites you have used each day. Try to be consistent and give yourself the injection at the same time each day. Choose a time when you feel strongest. Also, do not inject the medicine in a part of the skin that is depressed.

To dispose of the needles and syringes:

Needles and syringes should be used for only one injection. Place all used syringes and needles in a hard-walled plastic container, such as a liquid laundry detergent container. Keep the cover of this container tight and out of the reach of children. When the container is full, check with your physician or nurse about proper disposal, as laws vary from state to state.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Keep out of the reach of children.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Store in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.

You may also store glatiramer injection at room temperature for up to 1 month. Avoid exposing this medicine to bright or intense light.

Precautions While Using This Medicine:

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

Some patients have a reaction to this medicine a few minutes after receiving a shot. The symptoms might include: chest pain, flushing, a fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat, anxiety, trouble breathing, a tight feeling in the throat, or hives. These symptoms will usually go away without treatment in a short time. Call your doctor right away if these symptoms become worse or do not go away. This reaction can happen even if you have used the medicine regularly for several months. Also, chest pain can occur by itself, but should not last more than a few minutes.

This medicine may cause a permanent depression under the skin at the injection site. Contact your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects at the injection site: depressed or indented skin, blue-green to black skin discoloration, or pain, redness, or sloughing (peeling) of the skin.

Do not stop using this medicine without first checking with your doctor.

Side Effects of This Medicine:

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common
Anxiety
bleeding, hard lump, hives or welts, itching, pain, redness, or swelling at the place of injection
chest pain
cough
excessive muscle tone
fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
flushing
joint pain
lower back or side pain
neck pain
painful or difficult urination
skin rash
swelling or puffiness of the face
swollen lymph glands
swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
troubled breathing
Less common
Agitation
bloating or swelling
chills
confusion
difficulty with swallowing
feeling faint, dizzy, or lightheaded
fever
headache, severe and throbbing
itching of the vagina or outside genitals
muscle aches
pain
pain during sexual intercourse
purple spots under the skin
rapid weight gain
red streaks on the skin
shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
small lumps under the skin
spasm of the throat
strong urge to urinate
sweating
swelling of the fingers, arms, feet, or legs
swelling or puffiness of the face
thick, white curd-like vaginal discharge without odor or with mild odor
tightness in the chest
tingling of the hands or feet
trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
unusual weight gain or loss
Rare
Back pain
blood in the urine
burning or stinging of the skin
continuous, uncontrolled back-and-forth or rolling eye movements
decreased sexual ability
diarrhea
difficulty with moving
ear pain
fast breathing
irritation of the mouth and tongue (thrush)
loss of appetite
menstrual pain or changes
muscle pain
painful cold sores or blisters on the lips, nose, eyes, or genitals
sensation of motion, usually whirling, either of oneself or of one's surroundings
speech problems
vision problems

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
Headache
increased sweating
lack or loss of strength
nausea
sore throat
stuffy or runny nose
unusual tiredness or weakness
vomiting
Less common
Double vision
seeing double
weight gain

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Last Updated: 10/12/2016

Thomson Micromedex. All rights reserved.

Thomson & A.D.A.M