Glatiramer acetate (Copaxone) is an injectable drug used to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). RRMS is the most common type of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Copaxone helps block certain white blood cells known as T cells. These cells can damage your myelin. Myelin is the natural protein that wraps around and protects nerve cells in your brain and spinal cord.

Copaxone doesn’t have any known drug interactions.

If you’re taking other drugs, always tell your doctor and pharmacist. If drug interactions with Copaxone are discovered, your doctor and pharmacist will learn about them and advise you on how they may affect your treatment.

However, despite the lack of drug interactions, it still may not be safe to drink while taking this drug.

Although Copaxone doesn’t interact with alcohol, your medication side effects could be worse if you combine the two.

Flushing and redness

Many people who use Copaxone report flushing or redness in their face or body. Alcohol also causes flushing in many people.

If you drink while taking this drug, you could be more likely to experience flushing and redness in your face.

Other side effects

Alcohol can also aggravate more serious side effects of Copaxone. They include:

In addition, Copaxone can suppress your body’s ability to fight off infection.

These side effects can occur at unpredictable times. You may experience them weeks or months after you start using the drug.

Alcohol doesn’t interact with Copaxone, but it can interact with MS. Alcohol is a depressant that affects your central nervous system (CNS). It can also affect your:

  • mood
  • sleep
  • balance
  • movement
  • senses

Regular or excessive consumption of alcohol can also cause neurological symptoms that are similar to MS symptoms.

MS is commonly treated with more than one drug. If you take other medications for your MS, such as drugs to relieve spasms, help you sleep, or treat bladder problems, they may be affected by alcohol.

Additionally, it may be difficult to decide if worsening symptoms are caused by your MS or by the alcohol.

Did you know? Alcohol pulls water out of your body, which can change your blood pressure or heart rate. This can make it more difficult to fight off infections.

If you have a special occasion coming up and want to enjoy a toast with family and friends, first talk to your doctor about the risks of consuming alcohol with Copaxone. Ultimately, the decision to drink or to avoid alcohol is up to the individual with MS.

If you’re injecting Copaxone every day, you may experience daily side effects and the risk may be greater. If you inject Copaxone three times a week, your side effects may occur only on those days of the week.

The way your body processes Copaxone isn’t well understood. It’s also difficult to predict how your body will react to alcohol when you have MS.

If your Copaxone side effects are difficult to manage, your doctor may be able to change your dose schedule.

If the drug doesn’t help you completely manage your MS symptoms, you may need additional treatment. You may also want to talk about other treatments that may help with your MS.