NOTE: For those not familiar with multiple sclerosis (MS), there is no cure for it. There are, however, drugs available called disease modifying drugs (DMDs) that have been shown to slow its progression (although results vary in users who have no assurance it is working other than personal history and experience) . Most of the DMDs are injectable. Copaxone is one of the DMDs, and recently a different dosage option was made available.
Two days ago, I started the new Copaxone. I am now injecting the new dose, 40 mg, three times a week instead of seven days of 2o mg injections per week.
Shared Solutions, the customer program run by Teva Marion, which makes Copaxone, is highly helpful for users. The program sent a nurse representative to train me in the new dosage option and check on my past and current use. I learned a lot of useful information.
There are seven injection sites Copaxone indicates. With the previous 20 mg injections seven times per week, each site was used once per week. Of these seven sites, I have found three to be easier than the other four. The new dosage and frequency of injecting led me to wrongly assume I could inject only in my three preferred areas. Rotating all seven injection sites is still recommended, but they are spread out over two weeks instead of one week. All injection areas have been expanded (as shown in their literature) so there is more surface area to work with. This makes injections easier, especially for long-time users like me who have experienced “dimpling” over time. Users are given the choice to administer the medicine on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays or Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays.
The refresher on injecting was very helpful. There are things I have changed which have improved my injecting experience. My auto-ject gun used to administer the medicine was old and not working well. I had received a new one from the company, so the old one went straight to the trash where it belonged. I have also adjusted the settings I use on the auto-ject.
The box the syringes are packaged in is different. It is smaller, and white instead of blue.
The plungers on the 40 mg syringes are blue while the older, 20 mg syringes were white.
The new monthly kit is more expensive than the older kit. This is unfortunate, but it’s business. It really includes the same amount of medicine, but in fewer syringes. As a business, the newer dosage was a smart option for the company to offer, and its development benefits patients. Good for Teva Marion for offering this choice. As stressed by the Shared Solutions nurse who came for a home visit, the company does offer help for those who are faced with financial issues.
Copaxone now offers a device that snips off and stores needles off of syringes, rendering them unable to be reused by anyone who might come across them. This gives a worrier like me some peace of mind when disposing of medical waste, which means large containers of used syringes. The device is small and easy to use. It holds up to 1500 needles, which I believe translates to four years of daily 20 mg injections or at least 8 years of the new 3 times per week 40 mg dosage. A shout out to whoever invented this simple and very helpful contraption!
Regardless of the Copaxone dosage you use or even whatever injectable DMD you might be on, this handy little thing is likely available to you from some source. I encourage you to check it out.
DISCLAIMER: This information is shared as a patient. All inquiries should be made to Shared Solutions for their professional advice and expertise. Their call center for telephone support is available 24/7.