Glatiramer or copolymer-1 (cop-1) is used in multiple sclerosis.
Glatiramer is a polypeptide mixture that resembles a component of myelin. In multiple sclerosis it is the myelin covering of nerves that is affected. Glatiramer seems to block the autoimmune reaction against myelin that leads to the nerve damage of multiple sclerosis.
Given as a subcutaneous injection, glatiramer seems to reduce the frequency of relapse, but does not seem to slow the progression of the disease.
Local injection site side effects are common - local irritation, redness, inflammation, itching.
People with multiple sclerosis should realize that glatiramer may have no effect on the course of their disease. It seems to work best for people who are less disabled - and for them the improvement may only be marginal.
Many other drugs are used in multiple sclerosis, and no interactions with glatiramer have been reported.
Ann Pharmacother 1996;30:1272
Am Fam Physician 1996;54:1301
The relevant product monographs must be regarded as the appropriate sources of prescribing information.