Is Copaxone considered IMMUNOTHERAPY?

A board to discuss the Multiple Sclerosis modifying drug Copaxone

Is Copaxone considered IMMUNOTHERAPY?

Postby julu » Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:57 pm

I was diagnosed as having RRMS two years ago, and have been on Copaxone for a year. I'm doing great, with no symptoms other than waxing and waning in the strength of my voice.

I applied for a government job about six months ago, and have passed through all the various levels of the application process -- EXCEPT for the last step, which was the medical examination. It included a full medical history, which asked for all the medications I was on, all the doctors I'd seen, etc. The doctor who performed the physical examination determined that I was fully able to perform the duties of the job.

I got a rejection letter yesterday, stating that I was not suitable for the job because I was taking medication for IMMUNOTHERAPY, and the job involves "close contact with international air travelers with frequent exposures to various types of pathogens".

I have read that Copaxone is an immunomodulator, and as such does not lower the body's immune defense against viruses and other outside pathogens. This certainly has been my experience, as I have not had any kind of cold, flu, etc., while being on Copaxone. This is entirely different than the lowered immune response when a person is on immunotherapy (chemotherapy).

Am I understanding this correctly? Is there a heightened risk to outside pathogens when one is on Copaxone?
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Re: Is Copaxone considered immunotherapy

Postby NHE » Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:45 am

Hi Julu,
I would not consider Copaxone to be immunosuppressive which is what I think they were concerned about. If there's still a chance for this position, then it might be worthwhile to have your doctor write a letter explaining the difference to the bean counters in the bureaucracy.

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Postby patientx » Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:34 am

I would agree with NHE that Copaxone does not suppress the immune system, so it doesn't sound like you should be disqualified from the job for this reason. The letter is a good idea, but it might be best coming from your neurologist. My PCP didn't know the difference, either.
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