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Multiple Sclerosis International
Volume 2019, Article ID 7151685, 19 pages
Review Article

Enduring Clinical Value of Copaxone® (Glatiramer Acetate) in Multiple Sclerosis after 20 Years of Use

Director, Clinical Research; Consultants in Neurology, Multiple Sclerosis Center, Northbrook, IL, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Daniel R. Wynn; moc.liamg@dmnnywd

Received 9 January 2018; Revised 29 June 2018; Accepted 29 November 2018; Published 15 January 2019

Academic Editor: Bruno Brochet

Copyright © 2019 Daniel R. Wynn. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic progressive neurodegenerative demyelinating disease affecting the central nervous system. Glatiramer acetate (GA; Copaxone®) was the first disease-modifying treatment (DMT) for MS successfully tested in humans (1977) and was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in December 1996. Since then, there have been numerous developments in the MS field: advances in neuroimaging allowing more rapid and accurate diagnosis; the availability of a range of DMTs including immunosuppressant monoclonal antibodies and oral agents; a more holistic approach to treatment by multidisciplinary teams; and an improved awareness of the need to consider a patient’s preferences and patient-reported outcomes such as quality of life. The use of GA has endured throughout these advances. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the important developments in the MS field during the 20 years since GA was approved and to review clinical data for GA in MS, with the aim of understanding the continued and widespread use of GA. Both drug-related (efficacy versus side-effect profile and monitoring requirements) and patient factors (preferences regarding mode of administration and possible pregnancy) will be explored.