August 29, 2002 Thursday
They were pioneers when they entered the longest prospective multiple sclerosis drug therapy trial. Today, they make history as they become the first people with MS to enter the second decade of an MS drug trial.
You will not hear a groan, a sigh, or nary a complaint from four women who give themselves a daily injection of COPAXONE(R) (glatiramer acetate injection) to take a proactive stance against multiple sclerosis. But now ... 10 years and many injections later, they would not change a thing.
These women consider themselves fortunate because they were able to begin drug therapy as part of a clinical trial before the FDA approved the first treatment for MS in 1993. The trial began with a total enrollment of 251 patients, and there still are more than 100 people participating. "With my daily injection of COPAXONE(R) my relapses are not occurring as often as they would be without drug therapy. I wish more people living with MS could experience the hope I attribute to my long-term use of COPAXONE(R)," says Kathy Fletcher, a member of the COPAXONE(R) extension trial.
COPAXONE(R) is indicated for the reduction of relapses in relapsing-remitting MS. Since FDA approval of the first three drug therapies, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) came out with a consensus statement in 1997 relaying the message that the initiation of therapy is advised as soon as possible following a definite diagnosis of MS and determination of a relapsing course.
Another trial participant, Linda DiLuco, believes drug therapy has helped her be exacerbation free for five years. Joanne Nicholas says, "COPAXONE(R) (glatiramer acetate injection) has been the primary player in assisting me to manage my MS. I have only experienced three mild attacks in the last 10 years." Another participant, Sue Lemmon says, "It has been two years since my last attack, which is the longest I have ever gone."
"I am back on an exercise routine and for the first time in my life, I actually am using a treadmill. My energy level continues to improve as time passes," says Joanne Nicholas. While individual results may vary, these four women all feel their energy level is better than or the same as when they started the trial 10 years ago. Collectively, they feel the tolerable side effects of their drug therapy have made it possible to keep giving themselves the daily injection.
Although the positive effects of the MS therapies have been established, there still are thousands of people living with MS who are reluctant to begin therapy. These women want to stress the importance of the early initiation of drug therapy and to share information about some of the resources that have been helpful in finding good information on MS and drug therapies.
This site is one of the largest online communities for people with MS. It includes a personal planner, a doctor's report that allows you to record your daily activities and print it out for the doctor, discussion groups, chat rooms, expert sessions, and a news and humor section. Members can log on and ask experts questions about MS and relapses. Becoming a member of MSWatch(R) is easy and absolutely free!
-MS University(TM): www.msuniversity.com
MS University(TM) (MSU) is the first online education site for MS available to people in the MS community. Students can log on and enroll in educational courses designed to teach people about the human body and MS. Courses walk students through the basics of learning about the human body to identifying more specific information about the disease. Enrolling in MSU is simple and absolutely free!
Shared Solutions(TM) is a patient support program that is here for you, your family, and anyone who is affected in any way by MS. Shared Solutions(TM) is a service of Teva Neuroscience. This service is available to everyone and is absolutely free -- simply call -800-887-8100.
-National Multiple Sclerosis Society: www.nmss.org
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society Web site gives users access to information about the latest developments in MS diagnosis and treatments, resources for living with MS, and societyfunded research. Users can locate contact information for their local chapters in order to gather information about MS and drug therapy. You also can reach the NMSS by calling 1-800-FIGHT-MS.
This site includes information about COPAXONE(R) (glatiramer acetate injection) and tips on managing your MS. Users can find information on understanding MS and how to get in touch with someone who knows exactly what you are going through by using Shared Perspectives(R), a unique support system for people with MS.
The most common side effects of COPAXONE(R) are redness, pain, swelling, itching, or a lump at the site of injection, flushing, chest pain, weakness, infection, pain, nausea, joint pain, anxiety, and muscle stiffness. These reactions are usually mild and seldom require professional treatment. Patients should tell their doctor about any side effects.
Some patients report a short-term reaction right after injecting COPAXONE(R). This reaction can involve flushing (feeling of warmth and/or redness), chest tightness or pain with heart palpitations, anxiety, and trouble breathing. These symptoms generally appear within minutes of an injection, last about 15 minutes, and go away by themselves without further problems.
After you inject COPAXONE(R), call your doctor right away if you develop hives, skin rash with irritation, dizziness, sweating, chest pain, trouble breathing, severe pain at the injection site or other uncomfortable changes in your general health. Make no more injections until your doctor tells you to begin again.
Call 1-800-887-8100 or log onto www.copaxone.com for more information about COPAXONE(R) (glatiramer acetate injection) or multiple sclerosis. Teva Neuroscience, Inc. markets COPAXONE(R). COPAXONE(R) is a registered trademark of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. Shared Solutions(TM) and MS University(TM) are trademarks of Teva Neuroscience, Inc. MSWatch(R) and Shared Perspectives(R) are registered trademarks of Teva Neuroscience, Inc.
See additional important information at www.copaxone.com/pi/html or call 1-800-887-8100 for electronic releases. For hard copy releases, please see enclosed full prescribing information.
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