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Most forms of multiple sclerosis strike women twice as often as men. Primary progressive MS, though, affects men and women in nearly equal numbers, baffling researchers. Here's what's understood at this point:

The 'Equal Opportunity' MS

Primary progressive MS is marked by a steady march of symptoms from the time of diagnosis. There are no attacks followed by later improvement, as in the more common forms of MS.  

Recent studies show that gender differences in primary progressive MS vary according to age. In the largest studies done so far, hundreds of men and women with primary progressive MS were followed for decades:

  • Under age 30, equal numbers of men and women were affected.
  • Among people developing MS at ages older than 45 there were more women than men.
  • Almost two women for each man were diagnosed with primary progressive MS after age 50 -- still short of the rates in other forms of MS.

When it comes to disease severity, primary progressive MS is also unique. MS in men is usually more severe than in women. But large studies of primary progressive MS show:

  • Early on, men and women had equal disease severity and rates of progression.
  • After about 20 years of living with primary progressive MS, men's disease finally began to "outrun" the women's in severity.

Why the differences? At this point, there are more questions than answers. As in other forms of MS, sex hormones may well be involved. There are clues in the chemistry and the MRI scans of the brains of people with primary progressive MS. But research into this form of multiple sclerosis is only beginning.

Men vs. Women in All Types of Multiple Sclerosis

Among people who develop all types of MS before the age of 20, women outnumber men by 3 to 1.

Looking at people of all ages, at least twice as many women as men are living with MS. But the ratio of women to men with MS may be rising even higher. Some recent estimates place the number at 4 to 1 -- and suggest it is still going up.

Sex Hormones and Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis doesn't target all women equally. Nearly always, MS attacks during the childbearing years. Symptoms often increase after childbirth or at the end of a menstrual cycle.  

When men develop multiple sclerosis, it's more often in their 30s or 40s -- just about the time their testosterone levels start to decline.

Taken together, these clues suggest that sex hormones, like estrogen and testosterone, may be involved. It may be the balance of hormones, rather than their actual levels, that's most important.

dose three times a week

Dose three times a week

Use this discussion guide to talk with your doctor about how 3-times-a-week COPAXONE® 40 mg may work for you.

COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection) is indicated for the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.

Important Safety Information about COPAXONE®

Do not take COPAXONE® if you are allergic to glatiramer acetate or mannitol.

Some patients report a short-term reaction right after injecting COPAXONE®. This reaction can involve flushing (feeling of warmth and/or redness), chest tightness or pain with heart palpitations, anxiety, and trouble breathing. These symptoms generally appear within minutes of an injection, last about 15 minutes, and do not require specific treatment. During the postmarketing period, there have been reports of patients with similar symptoms who received emergency medical care. If symptoms become severe, call the emergency phone number in your area. Call your doctor right away if you develop hives, skin rash with irritation, dizziness, sweating, chest pain, trouble breathing, or severe pain at the injection site. If any of the above occurs, do not give yourself any more injections until your doctor tells you to begin again.

Chest pain may occur either as part of the immediate postinjection reaction or on its own. This pain should only last a few minutes. You may experience more than one such episode, usually beginning at least one month after starting treatment. Tell your doctor if you experience chest pain that lasts for a long time or feels very intense.

A permanent indentation under the skin (lipoatrophy or, rarely, necrosis) at the injection site may occur, due to local destruction of fat tissue. Be sure to follow proper injection technique and inform your doctor of any skin changes.

The most common side effects in studies of COPAXONE® are redness, pain, swelling, itching, or a lump at the site of injection, flushing, rash, shortness of breath, and chest pain. These are not all of the possible side effects of COPAXONE®. For a complete list, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Tell your doctor about any side effects you have while taking COPAXONE®.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

support from the start

24/7 support from the start

Receive one-on-one support and free tools when you join our Shared Solutions® program. Choose a therapy with 24/7 support you can trust.

COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection) is indicated for the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.

Important Safety Information about COPAXONE®

Do not take COPAXONE® if you are allergic to glatiramer acetate or mannitol.

Some patients report a short-term reaction right after injecting COPAXONE®. This reaction can involve flushing (feeling of warmth and/or redness), chest tightness or pain with heart palpitations, anxiety, and trouble breathing. These symptoms generally appear within minutes of an injection, last about 15 minutes, and do not require specific treatment. During the postmarketing period, there have been reports of patients with similar symptoms who received emergency medical care. If symptoms become severe, call the emergency phone number in your area. Call your doctor right away if you develop hives, skin rash with irritation, dizziness, sweating, chest pain, trouble breathing, or severe pain at the injection site. If any of the above occurs, do not give yourself any more injections until your doctor tells you to begin again.

Chest pain may occur either as part of the immediate postinjection reaction or on its own. This pain should only last a few minutes. You may experience more than one such episode, usually beginning at least one month after starting treatment. Tell your doctor if you experience chest pain that lasts for a long time or feels very intense.

A permanent indentation under the skin (lipoatrophy or, rarely, necrosis) at the injection site may occur, due to local destruction of fat tissue. Be sure to follow proper injection technique and inform your doctor of any skin changes.

The most common side effects in studies of COPAXONE® are redness, pain, swelling, itching, or a lump at the site of injection, flushing, rash, shortness of breath, and chest pain. These are not all of the possible side effects of COPAXONE®. For a complete list, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Tell your doctor about any side effects you have while taking COPAXONE®.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

lower your co pay

Your co-pay could be $0 per month*

When you switch to new 3-times-a-week COPAXONE® 40 mg, your co-pay could be lowered to $0 per month out-of-pocket.*

Injections for 3-times-a-week COPAXONE® 40 mg should be at least 48 hours apart.

* Certain limits and restrictions apply.

Terms and Conditions: COPAXONE Co-pay Solutions® is open to both new and existing patients who are residents of the US or Puerto Rico and who have commercial prescription insurance coverage for COPAXONE® 40 mg. The offer is not valid for uninsured patients or patients covered in whole or in part by Medicaid, Medicare, TRICARE, or any other federal or state government pharmaceutical assistance plan or program (regardless of whether a specific prescription is covered), or by private health benefit programs that reimburse for the entire cost of prescription drugs. Use of this offer must be consistent with the terms of any drug benefit provided by a health insurer, health plan, or private third-party payor. This offer is void where prohibited by law, taxed, or restricted. No additional purchase is required. This offer is valid only at participating pharmacies and may be changed or discontinued at any time without notice. This program is not health insurance.

COPAXONE is a registered trademark of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
Shared Solutions® is a registered service mark of Teva Neuroscience, Inc.
COPAXONE Co-pay Solutions® is a registered trademark of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

© 2014 Teva Neuroscience, Inc. COP-41530

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