Compare Copaxone vs. Gilenya

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

Copaxone
(Glatiramer)

Gilenya
(Fingolimod)

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.Treats relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. Gilenya (Fingolimod) is an oral medication that has a lot of side effects, but it reduces the number of flare-ups, slows physical changes, and decreases the number of new brain lesions in relapsing MS.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.310344827586207Copaxone
Reviews for Copaxone (Glatiramer)
52%
of people say Copaxone (Glatiramer) is worth it
38%
say it works well
28%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Gilenya (Fingolimod)
42%
10% vs. Copaxone (Glatiramer)
30%
8% vs. Copaxone (Glatiramer)
30%
2% vs. Copaxone (Glatiramer)
Side effects
CopaxoneGilenya
  • 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 »
  • Alt/ast increased 9%
  • Diarrhea 5%
  • Back pain 5%
  • Ggt increased 4%
  • Bronchitis 4%
  • Migraine 4%
  • Vission blurred 3%
  • Abnormally slow heartbeat 3%
  • Influenza viral infections 3%
  • Tinea infections 3%
More Gilenya side effects »
How it works
CopaxoneGilenya
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.Gilenya (Fingolimod) is an immune modulator. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it seems to stop your white blood cells from attacking the nerves in your brain and spinal cord.
Type of medication
CopaxoneGilenya
Multiple sclerosis treatment
Immunomodulator
Prescription only
Multiple sclerosis treatment, Immunosuppressant
Immunomodulator
Prescription only
Available as
CopaxoneGilenya
  • Injection
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
CopaxoneGilenya
Risk factors for serious side effects
CopaxoneGilenya
            Detailed Copaxone (Glatiramer) risks & warnings »
            • Taking with drugs that slow heart rate
            • History of heart problems
              • Taking other immunosuppressant drugs
              • Age 60 or older
              • Weak immune system
              • Diabetes
              • History of eye inflammation (uveitis)
              • Women of childbearing age
              • History of respiratory problems
              • History of liver problems
              Detailed Gilenya (Fingolimod) risks & warnings »
              Pregnancy category
              CopaxoneGilenya
              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
              Alcohol
              No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
              Food
              No specific food-related info.
              • Take one capsule daily with or without food.
              Kidneys and liver
              No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
              Sex
              No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
              Sleep
              No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
              Weight
              No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
              Upsides and benefits
              CopaxoneGilenya
              • 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).
              • Gilenya (Fingolimod) is the first once-daily pill you can take for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
              • Studies show it lowers relapse rates better than placebo and Avonex, and it delays the progression of physical disabilites better than placebo.
              • Gilenya also reduced the number of new MS lesions better than Avonex.
              Downsides and risks
              CopaxoneGilenya
              • 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.
              • Taking more than the 0.5 mg dose won't give more benefits, but will only cause more side effects.
              • Gilenya can remain in your blood for up to 2 months after you stop taking it. Your immune response won't work as well during this time.
              • Not the best choice if you've had a heart attack, stroke, or have been in the hospital for heart failure in the past 6 months. The risk of serious heart rate effects is higher when taken with certain drugs (methadone, erythromycin, citalopram, ketoconazole) or if you have low potassium or magnesium.
              • If you have to re-start Gilenya after stopping it for 2 weeks or more, you'll have to take your first dose at your doctor's office again.
              • If you didn't get chicken pox and never had a vaccination, you'll need to be vaccinated and wait one month before starting Gilenya.
              Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
              CopaxoneGilenya
              • 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.
              • Take one capsule daily with or without food.
              • It's very important you read the Gilenya Medication Guide. Don't change your dose or stop the medicine without asking your doctor.
              • You'll need to be watched for at least 6 hours in a doctor's office after taking your first dose because it can cause serious heart rate and blood pressure problems.
              • Gilenya increases your risk of infections. Get blood tests 6 months before starting treatment.
              • Use effective birth control or plan to stop Gilenya 2 months before getting pregnant. If you do become pregnant while on Gilenya (Fingolimod), you'll need to enroll in the Gilenya pregnancy registry.
              • Tell your doctor if you've had any vaccines recently. Don't get any live vaccines while taking Gilenya.
              • Your doctor will monitor your eyes, lungs, and liver for up to 2 months after stopping Gilenya.
              Learn more
              More about CopaxoneSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
              More about GilenyaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert