Copaxone linked to Cancer?

A board to discuss the Multiple Sclerosis modifying drug Copaxone

Copaxone linked to Cancer?

Postby Melissa33W » Mon Sep 19, 2011 5:07 pm


I just found this group and wanted to get advice and wisdom from others with MS and taking Copaxone.

First off I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2004 and put on Copaxone. I took it pretty faithfully for almost 2 years and then came upon some information about it causing an increased risk of Cancer.
Here now it's 2011 and I feel my MS is getting worse, I've now started to experience bladder retention and I'm really at my wits end trying to figure out what to do.
I also battle anxiety and the thought of Cancer is something that really makes my anxiety unbearable.
I did some research online and A lot of the information I found has been linking Copaxone to Breast cancer and skin cancer risks.

I really don't know if the 30% less chance of a MS relapse while on Copaxone is worth the risk of Cancer?
This is something that I've been stressing over for the past 2 weeks and we all know Stress make MS symptoms worse. So I'm finally seeking the opinions and advice of other Copaxone users.

Thank you!
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Re: Copaxone linked to Cancer?

Postby Interrupted » Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:17 am

Hi Melissa,

Can you post some links to where you've seen these studies linking it? :smile:
28/07/10, 04/10/10, 16/11/10 - CCSVi Dopplers x3 ** 12/10/10 - Poland procedure. Symptoms worsened. No improvement.
13/02/12 - Wheldon ABX protocol for 1.5yrs. Fairly stable but no improvement. Unable to source alternate ABX needed.
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Re: Copaxone linked to Cancer?

Postby daverestonvirginia » Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:23 am

I have never heard or read anything about Copaxone being associated with cancer.
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Re: Copaxone linked to Cancer?

Postby Wonderfulworld » Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:52 pm

Hi Melissa :smile:
I used to read all the potential side-effects too and stress about them. I have only recently been diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder (so I understand the anxiety, bigtime!) and OCD, so once I get an idea stuck in my head it's hard to get it out.

The thing is though that the risks for cancer in the general population is so high anyway, 1 in 3 for women I think, that you have to weigh up the relative risks. You know you have MS, but you don't have cancer. MS is actually associated with a lower risk for certain cancers, and a very very few a higher risk.

Maybe I'm just being too logical about it but I think if you are experiencing symptoms of MS right now, you should deal with things that are happening now. I have often found it takes up to 6 months for Copaxone to kick in properly as I've been on and off it due to pregnancies in the past. Do you have a nurse in the neuro's office you could talk your concerns through with at all?

The other thing that jumps out at me is advice I should have taken myself a decade ago :roll: - only now am I tackling my anxiety and the relief that a good medication can bring. I also have had bladder issues for 2 decades, although in my case it is the opposite of retention, but if you haven't been to a urologist or for a bladder scan/urodynamics testing, it can be very helpful and you may find it it easily solved, it would give you great relief.

Wishing you all the best with your decision, PM me if you want to ask anything, and let us know how you get on if you can,
Concussus Resurgo
RR-MS dx 1998 and Coeliac dx 2003
Tecfidera, Cymbalta, Baclofen.
EPO, Fish Oils, Vitamin D3 2000 IU, Magnesium, Multivitamin/mineral, Co-Enzyme Q10, Probiotics, Milk Thistle, Melatonin.
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Re: Copaxone linked to Cancer?

Postby NHE » Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:11 am

When I was first diagnosed and asked to choose one of the ABCs in 1999, I went through the prescribing information pamphlets for each of the medications with a fine toothed comb and a medical dictionary. One concern that I had was that Copaxone was found to be clastogenic in a mutagenesis assay. Clastogenic means that when given to cells in a tissue culture (in vitro) at some concentration it caused breaks in DNA. Cells have the ability to repair their DNA. However, if the damage is extensive, then the cell will commit suicide for the betterment of the organism. This cell suicide is known as apoptosis. The lipoatrophy that some folks experience with Copaxone has been attributed to apoptosis. It may be the clastogenic activity that is triggering the lipoatrophy, I don't know, nor have I found any material on it at this level of detail. In all of the time since then, I have never read anything about Copaxone being linked to cancer. However, it would be best to discuss your concerns with your doctor. I recommend that you do your homework first and read through and understand Copaxone's prescribing information pamphlet. Your local library should have a medical dictionary though they can often be found in used bookstores for a reasonable price (I picked up a copy of Stedmen's medical dictionary for only $8 that was a few editions old). It might also be a good idea to search through PubMed for published articles (even if it's only for your own peace of mind).

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Re: Copaxone linked to Cancer?

Postby MarkLavelle » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:04 pm


I'm newly diagnosed (March 2011) and I had lung cancer in 1996 with a metastasis to the brain in 1998.

I don't know if that counts as having had cancer once or twice, but my Stanford neuro doc said Copaxone was the *only* MS disease-modifying therapy that was safe for someone like me with a "compromised" immune system (i.e., previous chemo & radiation and higher probability of future cancer). I don't know what you've read, but to the best of my knowledge Copaxone is the med *least* likely to cause nasty side effects like cancer...

-- Mark

RRMS dx 3/3/11; Copaxone since 12/1/11
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Re: Copaxone linked to Cancer?

Postby julperr18 » Sun Sep 22, 2013 6:02 am

:sad: :!:

I took Copaxone for 7 years. I had to stop taking it because it did something to my red blood cells and I ended up so anemic, I almost died. My hemoglobin dropped down to 3. I had been feeling really bad and I thought it was my MS, but I eventually figured out I was anemic. Now I have to take iron continuously or my iron level drops like a rock. I don't seem to be able to replenish my iron stores at all anymore. Now I'm reading that Copaxone has been linked to causing breast and skin cancer. I have recently noticed a change in my breast that is commonly associated with cancer. It has occurred fairly recently and now I am going to the doctor to see what is going on. There is no history of breast cancer in my family at all and if I now have breast cancer after taking Copaxone, there will be hell to pay. Copaxone never did anything to stop the progression of my MS. What it did do, though, was make me quickly gain 40 pounds. I couldn't figure out why I kept gaining weight since I never changed my eating habits. It was the Copaxone. The fast weight gain put pressure on my sciatic nerve in my left leg, which is a problem I had when I was pregnant, and it made my leg stiff and not function well. Again, I blamed the MS, but my neurologist said it wasn't MS since it was a constant problem. Because of that, in 2005, I fell down a small hill while out walking my dog. My left leg couldn't keep up with the rest of me to stop the fall and I severely broke my left ankle. In 2011, I fell again and broke my right ankle. I had to have surgery on both and the recovery time was extended. I have walked with a cane ever since and have struggled to get back the function I had before these falls. No one ever told me about this breast cancer risk when I started Copaxone. If they did, I would never have taken it. Some tech somewhere who created this drug had to have known that it split the DNA. They also had to know about all the other risks, like how it destroyed my red blood cells. To promote this drug using scare tactics so they can make billions, and not tell people the risks, is criminal. Now I have 2 broken ankles, walk with a cane, I am anemic, and now possibly have breast cancer all because I believed if I took Copaxone it would help my MS. None of these problems were caused by my MS, they were caused by Copaxone. Before I started taking Copaxone, I was taking dance lessons. Now I hobble around with a cane. I am really angry about this. I would advise anyone thinking about taking Copaxone to not take it, and not take any MS medication until you know for sure it is not toxic because none of the medications they have come out with for MS help enough to risk getting cancer.
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Re: Copaxone linked to Cancer?

Postby swissmissme » Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:19 am

Thank you for your post. I got my second brain scan...I asked My Doc as they always ask us in a scale of 1-10 what was my MS with my diagnosis first brain scan aug 2012 --what was I a 1--she said no a 2---and now she said this brain scan is a 6. She said I NEED to go on Copaxin...I do not want to---I read all this stuff--I really like your post....I ask people I hear in my area with MS if the meds have helped...WELL I HAVE A BIGGER PROBLEM___I WAS ALSO DIAGNOSED WITH A MZ PHENOTYPE,,,,a Birth /genetic inherited/ from my parents being mismatched PHENOTYPE---WHAT THIS ALL MEANS IS I WAS NOW AT 58 diagnosed with Chirossis of the liver--a fatty liver and PORTAL HYPER TENSION SCORE OF 11--12 is the WORST SCORE...Oh he said--my liver DOC--says my liver is functioning well---perhaps my life was not injured more by this --I rarely drank anything--I do not do illegal drugs---however have used Excedrin- motin and tylen in my life. These are evil I now know....People need to know everything they put in their mouth goes thru their liver....My mismatched phenotype means I can ONLY use Copaxin because it is a shot...It wont hurt my LIVER...OH JOY....I would rather not. I am also VERY ANEMIC my IRON LEVEL IS VERY LOW NOW....AND you say Copaxin hurt urs..I also lost 18 lbs recently and need to lose more for my liver and everyone says copaxin makes u gain weight--I recently got over sciatica from falling being in PAIN FOR 6 MONTHS before asking for physical therapy--at a different location from the Cleveland Clinic...UH physical Therapy in Westlake has helped my sciatica plus not driving my stick shift car. So--have anemia have chirossis, have recovered from not want to gain weight---Please anyone reply...
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