Generic Glatiramer Acetate

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: April 2023

Generic Glatiramer acetate is a generic injectable drug approved to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) in adults, including:1

What are the ingredients in glatiramer acetate?

The active ingredient is glatiramer acetate.1

How does glatiramer acetate work?

The exact way that glatiramer acetate works is not well understood. Glatiramer acetate may change how the immune system works in people who have MS.1

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of glatiramer acetate include:1

  • Injection site reactions, including redness, swelling, itching, and lumps
  • Flushing
  • Rash
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

These are not all the possible side effects of glatiramer acetate. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking glatiramer acetate. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking glatiramer acetate.1

Benefits of generic drugs

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensures that generic drugs have the same clinical benefits as their brand-name medicine. Generic drugs are created to be the same as their brand-name medicine in:2

  • Active ingredients
  • Safety
  • Strength
  • Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Benefits

Some people may feel that a generic version of a drug is not as trustworthy. But this is not true. Research shows that using authorized generics leads to results that are just as good as those of brand-name products.3

Generics usually cost much less than their brand-name counterparts. This is because they typically do not have to repeat the same level of testing already performed for the brand-name drug. The active ingredients are the same, so these tests do not need repeating.2

The choice of a generic drug may also mean that more people will stick with their treatment. This is because research shows that reducing the costs of prescription drugs increases the chances someone will take the medicines prescribed by their doctor.4

Other things to know

Before starting glatiramer acetate, tell your doctor if you:1

  • Are allergic to glatiramer acetate or mannitol
  • Are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding
  • Have any other medical conditions

Glatiramer acetate is given by injection under the skin (subcutaneously).1

Glatiramer acetate may change how your immune system works. This can increase your risk of infection.1

If you have any questions about giving yourself an injection, talk to your doctor or nurse. They can help talk you through the process.1

There is not enough information to know if glatiramer acetate is safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding. There have been no high-quality studies looking at generic glatiramer acetate during these times in the birth cycle. But there are studies suggesting that other formulations of glatiramer acetate have low risk if you take them during pregnancy. These studies did not find evidence that the formulations they looked at cause birth defects. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.1

The first time you take glatiramer acetate, you should have a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist with you. They will help you learn how to give yourself injections. Every person is different, so your doctor or nurse will help you find the best place on your body to inject the drug.5

Before beginning treatment for MS, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of glatiramer acetate.

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