Making Sense of MS Research

Summaries of independent,
high-quality research about multiple sclerosis treatments

Copaxone® for all types of MS

This is a summary of the research about the effect of Glatiramer Acetate (Copaxone®) in people with relapsing and progressive forms of MS, written in plain language for people with MS and their family members. It is based on a report (known as a systematic review) that was produced by The Cochrane Collaboration.

In August 2009, the authors of the report searched for all the randomised controlled trials (RCTs) on this topic and combined the results. They aimed to provide an overall picture of whether Copaxone® is effective in treating MS. They found six trials, including 540 people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) and 1049 people with secondary progressive MS (SPMS) primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). As at August 2012, there are no new RCTs conducted in this area.

Review question

What is the effect of Copaxone® in people with RRMS and SPMS/PPMS?

The short answer

The research suggests that for people with RRMS and SPMS/PPMS, Copaxone® does not prevent disability getting worse. However, it may slightly reduce the chance of having a relapse for people with RRMS. Common side effects include flushing, chest tightness, sweating, palpitations, anxiety and local injection-site reactions. Copaxone® does not appear to cause any major side effects.

Do these results look different from what you’ve read elsewhere? See the FAQ page for an explanation. You can also discuss the results with your local MS Australia office.