How long does it take for Copaxone to reach full effectiveness? I was diagnosed with MS in June 2015 and have been on it for a year. My first MRI after 6 months of use showed a decrease in size of my existing lesions, but also showed a new lesion. My second MRI 4 months later showed no change in existing lesions but also showed some new lesions. My doctor does not want to continue prescribing Copaxone and wants me to switch to another drug. I have not had any relapses since experiencing the initial symptoms that led to my diagnosis. Should I give up on Copaxone?
Copaxone should have "taken effect” within 6 months of starting treatment. Your continued MRI activity at 10 months (4 months after the 6 month MRI) confirms that copaxone is either not working or only partially effective. If you were to continue Copaxone, it is more likely than not that you would fail treatment within the next 3-5 years.
We use MRI scans for their predictive validity not their concurrent validity. If MRIs only confirmed your current clinical state (in your case without relapses and feeling fine), they would have little utility in decision making. If this were the case we would just ask you how you are doing. We are far more interested in predicting the future if all else (including your current treatment) remains the same going forward.
I hope this helps. Time to consider another disease modifying treatment.
Revere (Rip) Kinkel MD
Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Program
Director of Hillcrest Neurology
Professor of Clinical Neurosciences
University of California San Diego