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Copaxone Benefits RRMS Patients in the Long Term

September 20, 2017

Copaxone, a Teva Pharmaceuticals drug, is one of the most common therapies prescribed for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients often have fewer regulatory immune cells, which control autoimmune responses. Copaxone can modulate immune responses while protecting the neurological system. An Italian study has currently found that the drug benefits RRMS patients by boosting the number of anti-inflammatory immune cells and restoring balance of regulatory immune cells. The study, “Biological activity of glatiramer acetate on Treg and anti-inflammatory monocytes persists for more than 10 years in responder multiple sclerosis patients,” appeared in the journal Clinical Immunology.

Previous studies have been done on Copaxone, but only measuring the short-term effects of the drug. Little is known about its long-term effects. Italian researchers at Turin’s Neuroscience Institute Cavalieri Ottolenghi measured Copaxone’s long-term effects. The researchers analyzed blood samples from 37 healthy volunteers and 90 RRMS patients. Results showed that only 19% of patients receiving long-term Copaxone therapy relapsed within the first two years of treatment while 29% relapsed during the entire duration of the treatment. 32% didn’t show neurological progression detected by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), progression of EDSS (Expanded Disability Status Scale) score or clinical relapse. The authors then hypothesized that Copaxone therapy changes the way these immune cells function rather than alter their numbers.

“In conclusion, we show that daily administration of [Copaxone] causes a continuous stimulus which induces an increase of [regulatory immune cells], that in turn suppress the autoimmune response typical of MS.” the researchers wrote. “We demonstrate that these changes are stable for the whole period of the treatment as highlighted by the data obtained from patients treated for more than 100 months.”