I am six months into my Copaxone therapy. I am still have lumps and redness and sometimes burning. I ice, I heat, I make sure the alcohol wipe is completely dry before injecting, even using a sterile guaze pad to wipe the area dry. (At my Neuro's suggestion)
I notice that I will get the lumps more easily if I use the auto-injector. It really snaps the skin. Try pushing the blue button after it's cocked, without a syringe in it. You will see how fast and abrupt it is.
I don't know what the answer is to the injection site reactions. I do know they get less with time. I do not have any side effects from the Copaxone itself, after injection, which is why I choose the drug. I'll put up with any skin reactions....
Trust me, when I say the burning gets less and less over time.
If I'm not mistaken, you're not supposed to inject your stomach area but once a week. Maybe the Shared Solution people have changed that since February. The worse areas for injection site reactions are in the places where I have the least amount of fat. In those areas (like arms and thighs). For those areas I shoot at a 45 degree angle. However, if the angle is less than that, I noticed the medicine pooling under the skin and have a greater skin reaction. One time, the medicine even seeped out after injecting.
What helps me is the heat prior to the shot. I use a hair blower to warm and dry off the alcholol from skin. This has worked the best for me.
I no longer use the Autoinject device. The nastiest welts were from using it. If your hands have a tremor (sometimes mine do) or if you have a hard time holding on to the syringe, ask the Shared Solutions people to send the syringe holder.
I took Benadryl when I first started injecting my medicine, but I've noticed no difference in the site reaction. The place where I inject--if it's in the arms, will sometimes become warm and red. However, it doesn't sting as badly with the technique mentioned above.
Are you going to go back to the abdomen area? Or is it too sensitive? Can you try the butt and arms ?
I haven't been dx.xd yet but hopefully this week. I'm just waiting for paper work, last scan. How long from dx. until you got the meds. in your home?
Thanks for the info and sharing , its very helpful . I have a couple more questions . :) Later , O.K. ?
PS I did my own alpha interferon injections for hep.. I could not reach my butt very well and was discouraged from using my arms and no one ever mentioned abdomen . After a year my legs were a mess. It is a relief to be able to have so may places to choose from .. I found it helpful to use a mapping system, on paper.
Good luck tonight
Deb61: I think you're right about only doing abdomen injections once a week, according to the diagram. With Rebif it was OK to inject on either side of the navel, two days apart. I did my first Copaxone shot on the right side of my abdomen, then did left side the next day, quite far apart from the first injection. I don't know if this is a big problem or not. I did not have an issue with these first two injections, other than the unexpected post-injection pain and a little redness with the very first shot. Four days later I still have no residual site reactions in that area. I will ask the Shared Solutions nurse about injecting in the abdomen area and adjust my injection schedule accordingly if need be. Thanks for pointing this out!
If I get more lumps I may try without the autoinjector. It just makes giving the shot so easy, I hope I don't have to give it up.
I like your hair dryer technique and will give this a try!
Jo: I will continue to use abdomen area as per above, so far it has not been a problem for me in that area. I will try butt and arms too; hoping that all 7 injection areas are ok for me so I have lots of places to poke myself.
I was dx'ed Nov 2007 and started Rebif in Feb 2008. I wwanted to start sooner, as in ASAP, but my MS Clinic wanted to ensure my meds were free via a government program, even though I already had 90% drug coverage through my job and can afford the 10% co-pay. It bugged me since I felt if I can afford the treatment, why should I need to wait the 3 - 4 months till I get approved for full coverage, which is a nice bonus but not something I need. I told my neurologist that I felt this should ultimately be the patient's decision, as it is a financial decision, not a medical one. Long story, I'm still kind of annoyed by the delay, but what's done is done. Ultimately I had to quit Rebif two weeks ago, as it was causing my liver enzymes to elevate.
The same day the MS nurse called to tell me to stop Rebif, she made the referral to Shared Solutions, and called in my Copaxone prescription to the pharmacy. She also called the govt program and insurance provider to advise of my change in meds, and they approved it immediately. I got a call from the SS nurse later that same day. The next day, I picked up my first month supply of Copaxone. Six days later I received all my gear from SS via courier.
So in terms of making the switch of meds, it was smooth, seamless and quick. And the MS clinic did all the paperwork, I didn't have to deal with any insurance issues at all (another reason I love Canadian health care, in addition to the free MS meds).
More questions later? For sure, anytime!!
I find the best way is to not use the auto injector device. Make sure they are sending you the sharpest needles as well. Thicker needles cause more injection site problems. I did not know they had sharper needles until my wife asked about it. So, now the pain is not as sugnificant.
Best I can figure the lumps are the Copaxone.
If one injects the Copaxone in a space under the skin and not in a muscle the lump goes away much more quickly and the redness an bruising is not so bad. In fact if you are luckiy you will not feel any pain and the lump goes away within fifteen minutes instead of sticking around for days. Findin a spot with out mucle tissue is much easier with the auto injector. What I find is pincing the skin helps to inject into an area with muscule.