Which med to choose???

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 74
   Posted 10/4/2006 11:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Ok now that I have the dx, the decision is now what meds? hummm, I really have been looking at them closely and had decided on Copaxone. Then someone mentioned to me that is not an interferon med.  So now what.  Copaxone, Rebrif and Betaseron are subq injections, but the amount of injections are different.  Copaxone everyday, Betaseron everyother day and Rebrif 3 times a week, and they all are for relapsing forms MS.  I have a friend on the Betaseron and one on the Copaxone and not sure now what and which med to start. 
I have read their side effects over and over, and have seen some posts here on the effects.  And it seems to me that the meds are almost as unpredictable as MS. I mean that each MSer is different and so i suspect the meds will also be different for each person.  So any suggestion, experiences you've had would be appreciated. 
On a good note lol I found out that the meds are covered on my insurance well, rebrif, betaseron copaxone and avonex are covered, with a $9 copay. whew. and well today I found a pharmacy on our "network" hehe insurance companys geeze, that has them instock and the pharmacist went over a few things with me and then put my info and ins info in the puter so when i get the script it will be much easier. 
Ohh almost forgot. hehe my small town has a MS support group and i found out where and when the meet whoo hooo.
Thanks Cyndi
Mother has MS, diagnosed 10 yrs ago.
Diagnosed with spastic colon in 2000.
Diagnosed with MS Sept 06.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 10/5/2006 5:39 AM (GMT -6)   
You're correct that Copaxone is not an interferon...but it does do as promised -- slow the progression of MS. It's newer than the interferons, and generally folks on it experience fewer side effects.

I think if I were facing this decision now, I'd try the Copaxone.

I'm glad you're insurance company is covering the cost (except for that co-pay. I pay $20 / month copay for my Betaseron).
...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 74
   Posted 10/5/2006 10:18 AM (GMT -6)   
thank you uppity for the response, the side effects are why I had decided on Copaxone in the first place lol At this point, im just ready to start the next adventure of my life with MS. Well thats how im looking at it anyhow. Im terrified of needles, but im talking to myself alot (more like coaching/trying to motivate) on giving myself shots. My mind frame is if this tiny shot (i know might not me so tiny but trying to convince myself its just tiny) that will slow the progressions then I just have to do it. I dont want to rely or have my husband always do it. Yes he has said that he would give me the shots, but what if he is away suddenly for work and gone a few days on a weekend, and i cant get to the dr office to have the injection. Im telling myself suck it up it could be much worse lol Ok enough rambling on
Mother has MS, diagnosed 10 yrs ago.
Diagnosed with spastic colon in 2000.
Diagnosed with MS Sept 06.

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 137
   Posted 10/5/2006 12:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Cyndi,

You and I both going on Copaxone. They tried rebif and I had an allergic reaction. You may be interested in these comments:

"I have been on Copaxone for over two years. I can't really say if the needle is thicker or longer, because I've never seen a rebif needle. To me, it's a pretty short, inobtrusive needle compared to others I've seen. And, with the auto injector, it is a very easy shot to administer.

A Copaxone injection will leave a welt and lump, any subcutaneous shot will. It will feel like a bee sting, and really isn't bad at all. I highly recommend using the self injector, set at 8, and make sure to rotate your sites religiously. It really hurts if you hit a spot too soon after the last time you injected there. Remember, you cannot do the shot either one half hour before or after a shower. You may massage the injection site 24 hours after injection, I recommend this, it helps the lumps to subside. I keep a shower pad and gel and massage the injection areas every day, this has really helped to eliminate accumulation of lumps.

The best way to use a daily shot is to do it as part of your routine, like brushing your teeth. I believe it's best not to baby oneself with these injections. Make it a short, simple part of your day and you will adjust to it very quickly. However, if you allow yourself to get into needing to sit and ice and baby the shot each time you do it, it will become a very unpleasant ordeal. Get all the items you need out on the counter: self injector, syringe, alcohol wipe, cotton pad. Make sure the Copaxone has been out of the fridge for at least 20 minutes. I take a batch of five out at a time and leave them in my injector kit, it can go unrefrigerated for 5 days as long as the temperature in the house is not over 80 degrees.

First, wash your hands. Then, open the alcohol pad and thoroughly cleanse the area to inject. While the alcohol is drying, open the plastic pack and get the syringe and inspect it, make sure it is clear and not cloudy. If it's cloudy, throw it out (I've never had a cloudy one in two years). Load the auto injector, remove the cap by holding the auto injector pointed at the ceiling and pulling the red cap. Press the injector onto the sterilized spot and fire away. When the red lines have stopped moving through the window you know you're injections done, pull the injector away, and press on the injection site with a cotton ball for thirty seconds. Put things away, say to yourself, "Oh, that stung," and carry on.

Copaxone does not cause the flu like symptoms of the interferons. There are a few people who for the first 10 days experience chills and headaches following injection, but this is very rare and does subside. I experienced it, it's not a big deal and did pass.

I think that the lack of side effects and that there's no risk of liver problems or depression using copaxone makes the daily use very easy to take. "

Symptoms since 1998
DX 2004

"I haven't heard the rule about the shower and shot. I inject immediately after the shower sometimes--no problems.
Set at 8??!! Yow! I think that would hit bone. lol

I set mine at 4 for most areas, shallower for the stomach.

What's the shower rule about?"

"The shower rule is stated somewhere. If you inject before a hot shower, the hot water can irritate the injection site and actually allow some of the Copaxone to leak out. If you inject directly after a hot shower, you have a better chance of hitting a "bleeder" as the hot shower brings blood to the surface.

As for the setting on the autoinject, that's really a personal thing depending upon body type, but 8 is where they usually start a person. If at 8 there's leakage then the setting needs to be deeper, if there's bleeding, it needs to be shorter. I personally have a healthy layer of fat for injecting, and so the 8 works well. "

"I have been on Copaxone since April 06, I have had no problems with it. I don't even use the auto injector. I just do it manual, I have total control of depth, and speed depending on site. I just I will the auto when I need to use a site I can't reach well, but so far I just get a family member to help. I just want to let you know manual is fast and easy, and no real set up, I find so much easier. But another trick a friend of mine just gave me yesturday if your skin gets tight and it hurts to put the needle in, moisterise your skin with cream, I find those body butters work the best, a day later,and I didn't feel the needle go in again. Keep fighting the fight, together we will find the cure. "

"I've been on copaxone for eight months now. I had bad injection site reactions for the first three months or so: large whelps that didn't go away even after two or three weeks, itched like mad, etc. I started icing down before and afterwards. I also use witch hazel on the site afterwards. Makes the lump go down much faster and doesn't make me itch."

"I set my auto inject set between 4-6 depending on where I am injecting. Hips close to 6, stomach 4. The less fat you have the lower the number should be. Everyone is different as far as who has injection site reactions/ who doesn't. I know some folks who have never had any. Some who have been on the med for years who still have pretty bad reactions. Just like MS sx, everyone is different."

"Basically the nurse who trans you will give you the best advice and teach you how to do it. Also they will call you from Shared Solutions quite often to make sure you don't have questions and give advice etc.

All things considered, taking a shot everyday is not nearly as bad as having the side effects from the other therapy I was on previously."

"My husband has been on Copaxone for two years and at his list MRI they saw great progress. Two of his lesions have DECREASED by about 2mm. This was wonderful news and we hope this continues.
Oh and he does not use the auto injector. It goes to deep for him even in the lower settings...plus he says he doesn't feel it if he does it when he does it himself. The auto injector tends to push it in to fast."

"Wow so sorry you had such a bad reaction with the Rebif. Copaxone is every single day, but that makes it easy to remember You can use the autoinjector or do it manually, it's entirely up to you. The autoinjector is really nice, and if you have any questions Shared Solutions is great. Our first one malfunctioned and we just called them up and they sent a new one free of charge. In the meantime though, we had to inject manually and it turns out he prefers that method, says it doesn't hurt as much.

Just rotate the inject sites every day, theres eight of them. You might get a lump and stinging sensation as the med goes in, but it doesn't last long. He's been on it for six years now. There has been a few occassions where he has gotten chest pain and shortness of breath right after injection but that was gone in like 15 minutes. No major problems or side effects though.'
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