Compare Copaxone vs. Betaseron

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


(Interferon Beta-1B)

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.Lowers the frequency of MS exacerbations. Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B) is an injectable medicine effective for relapsing, remitting MS with fewer side effects and every other day dosing.
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Reviews & ratings
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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 »
  • Low white blood cells 12%
More Betaseron side effects »
How it works
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.Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B) is a man-made interferon that's similar to what your body naturally makes. Researchers don't know exactly how it works for MS, but interferons activate your own immune system to control immune responses that have gone out of control.
Type of medication
Multiple sclerosis treatment
Prescription only
Multiple Sclerosis treatment
Prescription only
Available as
  • Injection
  • Injection
Used for (click to learn more)
Risk factors for serious side effects
            Detailed Copaxone (Glatiramer) risks & warnings »
            • Alcohol use
            • Taking drugs that are liver toxic
            • Active or history of liver disease
              • History of depression or mental illness
              • History of or current heart disease
                • Women of childbearing age
                • Not changing injection sites
                • Bone marrow suppression
                  Detailed Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B) risks & warnings »
                  Pregnancy category
                  BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

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

                  See the FDA package insert
                  CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

                  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.

                  See the FDA package insert
                  No specific alcohol-related info.
                  • People taking Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B) had liver injury and failure, some due to autoimmune hepatitis. There's a higher risk if you're taking medications or substances (e.g. alcohol) that hurt your liver. Talk to your doctor if you develop symptoms of nausea, vomiting, belly pain, tiredness, loss of appetite, or you notice yellowing of your skin/whites of eyes or dark urine, change in stool color, or skin rash. Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B). Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B) can cause elevated liver enzymes with no symptoms. If levels increase significantly, your doctor may lower your dose or stop Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B) completely.
                  No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
                  Kidneys and liver
                  No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
                  No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
                  No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
                  No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
                  Upsides and benefits
                  • One of the main treatments for relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) that has been around for many years.
                  • Helps reduce the frequency of MS relapse episodes.
                  • 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).
                  • Interferon beta-1b was the first disease modifying agent for MS approved by the FDA to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).
                  • In short and long-term follow-up studies, Interferon beta-1b was shown to slow MS progression, reduce the number of flair-ups and increase overall survival.
                  • Convenient every-other-day dosing and refrigeration-free storage (before mixing) is less of a hassle.
                  • Interferon beta-1b has been shown to be more effective than Avonex in reducing new lesions, which lowers relapse and disease progression in people with RRMS.
                  • May be a treatment option for people with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS).
                  Downsides and risks
                  • 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.
                  • Requires injections.
                  • Injection site reactions are common. Symptoms range from pain, redness, and swelling to severe reactions with skin death around the injection site.
                  • Flu-like symptoms are common after interferon injections, but are less likely with Interferon beta-1b in particular.
                  • Blood testing required before and during use based on your other conditions.
                  • Unclear consequences to fetus during pregnancy.
                  Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
                  • 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.
                  • Every-other-day injections to the fatty layer under your skin.
                  • Store the powder for reconstitution at room temperature.
                  • Don't shake the medicine after reconstitution.
                  • Can cause flu-like symptoms (headache, fever, muscle pain) right after injections lasting minutes or hours.
                  • Flu-like reactions usually goes away with repeated treatments, or taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen 45 minutes before the injection to reduce the uncomfortable feeling.
                  • Injection site reactions can be common, including swelling, redness, pain, and rarely death of surrounding skin tissues.
                  Learn more
                  More about CopaxoneSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
                  More about BetaseronSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert