Precautions and Warnings With Glatiramer
Talk to your healthcare provider about the precautions and warnings with glatiramer before starting treatment. Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or breastfeeding; you should also tell him or her about all other medications you are taking. Precautions and warnings with glatiramer include being aware that the drug can cause dangerous allergic reactions and may increase your risk for infections.
You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking glatiramer acetate (Copaxone®) if you:
- Have any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives
- Are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
- Are breastfeeding.
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking glatiramer include the following:
- The medication should be given only by subcutaneous injection (just under the skin). It should not be injected into a vein (by IV) or into a muscle.
- Make sure your healthcare provider shows you exactly how to inject glatiramer. If you have any questions about how to inject the drug, do not hesitate to contact your healthcare provider.
- Glatiramer works by limiting immune system reactions. Theoretically, the drug could weaken the immune system in such a way as to make infections or cancers more likely. However, there is no evidence that glatiramer actually has these effects.
- In rare cases, the drug can cause dangerous allergic reactions. Report any symptoms of an allergic reaction (such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, itching, hives, and swelling) immediately to your healthcare provider.
- Glatiramer is unlikely to interact with other medications (see Drug Interactions With Glatiramer).
- Glatiramer is considered a pregnancy Category B medication. This means that it is probably safe to take during pregnancy. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using the drug when pregnant (see Copaxone and Pregnancy).
- It is not known whether glatiramer passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Copaxone and Breastfeeding).