Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) is composed of four amino acids, the building blocks of protein. The injection therapy is given under the skin three times a week. Copaxone increases immune cells that reduce inflammation. In animal models of MS, these cells traveled to the brain and spinal cord to reduce inflammation. In a clinical trial, Copaxone prevented 34% of new relapses and reduced new MRI activity with contrast by 45%.
In large trials comparing Copaxone to Rebif and Betaseron, Copaxone showed similar benefits in reduction of relapse rates to these interferons, but benefits on some MRI tests were better for interferon. The side effects of Copaxone include skin injection reactions and occasionally brief chest pain or shortness of breath after injections.