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.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.23Copaxone
Reviews for Copaxone
50%
of people (All ages) say Copaxone is worth it
37%
say it works well
27%
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Copaxone (Glatiramer)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Gilenya
42%
+8% better vs. Copaxone
30%
+7% better vs. Copaxone
30%
+3% better vs. Copaxone
Have you used Gilenya (Fingolimod)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
CopaxoneGilenya
  • Dysphagia 1%
  • Injection Site Fibrosis 1%
  • Injection Site Atrophy 2%
  • Benign Neoplasm of Skin 1%
  • Speech Disorder 1%
  • Nervousness 1%
  • Laryngospasm 1%
  • Eye Disorder 2%
  • Diplopia 1%
  • Local Reaction 2%
More Copaxone side effects »
  • Asthenia 2%
  • Eczema 1%
  • Pruritus 2%
  • Blood triglycerides increased 2%
  • Eye pain 2%
  • Leukopenia 3%
  • Tinea infections 3%
  • Bradycardia 3%
  • Alopecia 2%
  • Vission blurred 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
Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availablePrescription onlyNo lower cost generic available
Available as
CopaxoneGilenya
  • Injection
  • Pill
Used for
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
    Detailed Gilenya (Fingolimod) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy

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

    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.

    Food
    CopaxoneGilenya
    No food related info.
    • Take one capsule daily with or without food.
    Pain
    CopaxoneGilenya
    • Injection site reactions are common with pain, redness, swelling, and lipoatrophy (loss of fat under the skin where the injection is made).
    No pain 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
    Have you used Copaxone (Glatiramer)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about GilenyaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Gilenya (Fingolimod)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it