Compare Avonex vs. Copaxone

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Avonex
(Interferon Beta-1A)

Copaxone
(Glatiramer)

Lowers the frequency of multiple sclerosis exacerbations. Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) is an injectable medicine effective for relapsing, remitting MS and has manageable side effects and weekly dosing.Lowers the frequency of multiple sclerosis exacerbations. Copaxone (Glatiramer) is an injectable medicine that's effective for relapsing, remitting MS. It has fewer side effects than other meds, but the self-injections are needed frequently.
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Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
3.52Avonex
Reviews for Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A)
36%
of people (All ages) say Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) is worth it
24%
say it works well
33%
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Copaxone (Glatiramer)
50%
+14% vs. Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A)
37%
+13% vs. Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A)
27%
+6% vs. Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A)
Have you used Copaxone (Glatiramer)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
AvonexCopaxone
  • Flu-like symptoms 20%
  • Chills 14%
  • Fever 11%
  • Muscle pain 7%
  • Muscle weakness 6%
  • Nausea 4%
  • Injuction site inflammation 4%
  • Low mood disorder 4%
  • Infection 3%
  • Chest pain 3%
More Avonex side effects »
  • Injection site erythema 33%
  • Infection 27%
  • Injection site pruritus 23%
  • Injection site pain 20%
  • Injection site mass 20%
  • Widening of blood vessels 15%
  • Injection site edema 15%
  • Nausea 14%
  • Shortness of breath 10%
  • Injection site inflammation 8%
More Copaxone side effects »
How it works
AvonexCopaxone
Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) is an interferon that acts like the ones your body naturally makes. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but interferons activate your immune system to control immune responses that have gotten out of control.Copaxone (Glatiramer) is an immune modulator that alters the immune process. Researchers don't know exactly how it works. It's thought to "trick" out-of-control immune cells and slow their attacks on nerves.
Type of medication
AvonexCopaxone
Multiple sclerosis treatment
Immunomodulator
Prescription only
Multiple sclerosis treatment
Immunomodulator
Prescription only
Available as
AvonexCopaxone
  • Injection
  • Injection
Used for (click to learn more)
AvonexCopaxone
Risk factors for serious side effects
AvonexCopaxone
  • History of depression or mental illness
  • Allergy to albumin
  • Prolonged use of Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A)
  • Alcohol use
  • Taking drugs that are liver toxic
Detailed risks & warnings »
    Detailed risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy

    Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

    Interactions
    AvonexCopaxone
    • Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) can cause flu-like symptoms (headache, fever, muscle pain) right after injections, lasting minutes or hours.
    • Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior. Watch for new or worsening depression or any unusual changes in mood or behavior, especially during the first few months of treatment or when the dose changes. Tell your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.
    • Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) has been reported to cause hypersensitivity reactions (severe rash, trouble breathing) and angioedema (life-threatening condition with swelling with or without hives). Get emergency care right away.
    • Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) can cause serious liver injury with the risk increasing during the first 6 months after you start. You'll need to have your liver enzymes tested at 1, 3, and 6 months. If liver enzymes are significantly elevated and you have appetite/weight loss, stomach discomfort, vomiting, and notice dark urine, yellowing of skin/eyes, change in stool color, and skin rash, you should stop taking Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) until your doctor decides if it's safe to re-start.
    • Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) is not thought to cause adverse effects on the heart, but a small number of people with no history of heart problems developed heart failure and heart muscle weakness. Your doctor should watch you carefully especially when you start Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) then as long as you continue to take it.
    • Because Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) vial contains albumin, made from human blood, there’s an extremely low risk of transmitting a fatal brain disorder called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) or other viral disease. People who have allergies to albumin shouldn't use the vial formulation of Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A). The prefilled syringe doesn't contain albumin and may be a better choice for albumin-sensitive people. Make sure you talk to your doctor first.
    • Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) hasn’t been studied in pregnant women, so the effects on your unborn baby are unknown. If you take it during pregnancy or breastfeed, it’s possible that some medicine may get into your baby’s blood. Talk to your doctor first and if you get pregnant while taking Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A), you'll need to enroll in the Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) pregnancy registry.
    • Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) can affect the bone marrow and lower your red and white blood cells and platelets to very low levels. When your blood cells and platelets levels drop too low, you are at more risk for infections, bleeding and bruising and will have to stop taking Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) until levels correct. You'll have to get your blood tested regularly at least every 6 months.
    No interactions related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    AvonexCopaxone
    • Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) can cause serious liver injury with the risk increasing during the first 6 months after you start. You'll need to have your liver enzymes tested at 1, 3, and 6 months. If liver enzymes are significantly elevated and you have appetite/weight loss, stomach discomfort, vomiting, and notice dark urine, yellowing of skin/eyes, change in stool color, and skin rash, you should stop taking Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) until your doctor decides if it's safe to re-start.
    No kidneys and liver related info.
    Pain
    AvonexCopaxone
    • Flu-like reactions are the most common side effects and usually go away with continued treatment or can be avoided by using over-the-counter pain and fever-reducing medicines before the injection (like acetaminophen or ibuprofen).
    • Injection site reactions are common, ranging from localized pain, redness, and swelling to severe skin dryness.
    • Injection site reactions can be severe and include pain, redness, swelling, infection, and rarely, tissue death. In some cases, these reactions happened more than 2 years after starting Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A). They usually get better, but may need antibiotics or in severe cases, surgical treatment. It’s important that you follow instructions carefully and learn how to inject Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) correctly.
    • Injection site reactions are common with pain, redness, swelling, and lipoatrophy (loss of fat under the skin where the injection is made).
    Upsides and benefits
    AvonexCopaxone
    • One of the main treatments for relapsing MS that has been around for many years.
    • Injections are given weekly, and not daily like other MS medications.
    • Flu-like reactions are the most common side effects and usually go away with continued treatment or can be avoided by using over-the-counter pain and fever-reducing medicines before the injection (like acetaminophen or ibuprofen).
    • Helps reduce the frequency of MS relapse episodes.
    • One of the main treatments for relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) that has been around for many years.
    • Fewer side effects than other injectable MS medicines, like interferons.
    • Can be helpful in maintaining nerve functions.
    • Likely safe to use during pregnancy.
    • Copaxone (Glatiramer) is a possible treatment for primary-progressive MS (PPMS) even though the clinical evidence is not conclusive (there are currently no approved treatments for PPMS).
    • Helps reduce the frequency of MS relapse episodes.
    Downsides and risks
    AvonexCopaxone
    • Injection site reactions are common, ranging from localized pain, redness, and swelling to severe skin dryness.
    • Flu-like symptoms are common after interferon injections.
    • It's not clear what type of problems occur if taken during pregnancy.
    • Blood testing is required before and during use of Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A).
    • May not be as effective as other interferons.
    • Requires injections, either day or every other day (but no more than three times a week), depending on the dose you're taking.
    • Injection site reactions are common with pain, redness, swelling, and lipoatrophy (loss of fat under the skin where the injection is made).
    • Doesn't stop the progression of MS.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    AvonexCopaxone
    • Inject yourself once a week in your muscle (you need to go deeper than the fat layer between your skin and muscle).
    • Refrigerate the powder and pre-filled syringes and pens.
    • Don't shake the medicine once it is taken out of the refrigerator or mixed.
    • If using the pre-filled syringes, the tiny air bubbles won't hurt you.
    • Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) can cause flu-like symptoms (headache, fever, muscle pain) right after injections, lasting minutes or hours.
    • Flu-like reactions usually go away with repeated treatments. Taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen 45 minutes before the injection can reduce the uncomfortable feeling.
    • Inject yourself at the same time every day into your subcutaneous fat (the layer between your skin and muscle).
    • Injection site reactions are common. Symptoms include swelling, redness, and pain.
    • Rarely, can cause a fast and irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, or flushing that usually goes away after 10-15 minutes.
    • You can keep syringes at room temperature for up to a month if you can't store them in the refrigerator.
    Learn more
    More about AvonexSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about CopaxoneSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Copaxone (Glatiramer)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it