How to Use Your AutoJect for Copaxone

When you have been properly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, you’re ready to work with your doctor to decide what your plan of Therapy is going to be. I was diagnosed with Relapsing/Remitting type of MS . Over the years I have advanced to secondary progressive. I am able to walk with a walker, drive, talk without slurred speech and my vision is not impaired.

When you are diagnosed with this disease, there will be several therapies for you to choose from. I started with Avonex because it was only one immunization per week and I hate shots. Unfortunately my body didn’t respond well to Avonex so I changed to Copaxone. Even though there is a shot every day, Copaxone has the least side effects.

Injection site irritation is the main side effect. If the shot is not administered properly lipoatrophy occurs.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Copaxone injections
  • AutoJect
  • Hot/Cold Pack
  • Alcohol swabs (after the recall is removed)
  • Band-aids
  • Container to throw away used needles

How to Inject Yourself with Copaxone

Your doctor or Shared Solutions (Copaxone’s support network) will offer a training to administer this injection with the AutoJect. The first nurse gave me important information, but not enough. She provided me with a Daily Planner with illustrated instructions to help you schedule injection points. What she didn’t tell me was how to get the AutoJect to the arm. I made a movie to illustrate how easy it is and you can see it here.

I’ll tell you how I administered the injection every night to my body.

It’s important to memorize locations of the immunizations by the days of the week so that it’s easy to keep track of where to immunize.

I chose to give myself the injection before I went to sleep at night because Copaxone caused me to feel a little spacey when I gave my shot during the day.

Each night inject yourself, going to the designated injection site. The injections will be administered like this every evening, until all your body parts have been injected.

To get ready for your daily or nightly injections of Copaxone Therapy, open the auto injector for the glass syringe. It should now be in two pieces with the syringe removed from the paper container.

With the auto injector in two pieces, place the syringe with the gray top down into the bottom of the auto injector until you hear it click.

Turn the blue screw to the number best suited for your body. I’m a thin person, so the nurse suggested I set my screw to between the 4 and 6 (obviously 5, but it is not written.)

If you don’t know the number to set your autoject on, ask your doctor or call Shared Solutions 1-800-887-81001-800-887-8100 and ask them.

With the auto injector still in two pieces, insert the half with the red screw facing down into the other half on top of the yellow pressing down until it clicks to set the spring.

Next, put the two pieces together. Then take the gray cover off the needle by taking off the red screw. To take off the red screw, hold on to the bottom of the auto injector while firmly pulling up on the red screw and turning the red screw over as the gray syringe top falls out.

To warm up your blood, heat up a hot/cold pack either in a pan of warm water or in a microwave. Place the warm pack on the area getting the syringe.

Now, open an alcohol swab and rub the swab on the body part and let dry before injecting yourself.

Finally, with the red screw pulled off the auto injector, place the injector on the body part where the injection will go. Right here, I am putting the auto injector into my right leg to show you what it looks like injecting the syringe into my skin.

Simply click on the blue bar to set off the spring. Count to 10 and the medication should all be in your body.

With the auto injector removed from your body, turn the auto injector over into a plastic container for safe syringe removal.

If the site is bleeding, place a small band-aid on the area where the syringe was injected. Never rub a cotton swab on area where injection was administered. You may see a bump appear after the injection as this is one of the side effects.

Repeat these steps every day or night on a different body part. With all these steps completed, injecting yourself should be easy. The pre-filled syringes and the AutoJect makes giving yourself shots doable because you do not have to see yourself sticking the syringe into your skin. It is nice and clean.

Have you used Copaxone? Was it before the prefilled syringes? Tell me about your experiences with Copaxone in the comments below.

Linda

About our Co-Founder: With a bachelors in Social Work, Linda is 53 years old, happily married with eight children and 17 grandchildren. Diagnosed with MS in 1995 and now having accepted and truly embraced her new reality, Linda has created MSrelief.com. She is dedicated to proving that joy can be chosen while living with Multiple Sclerosis. Linda specializes in helping others, especially those with MS attain the lifestyle, independence and happiness amid living with MS.

25 Comments:

  1. Awesome article. I began using Copaxone in August 2010 after not having success with BetaSeron. Copaxone is okay- the site reactions are annoying (especially when the area is still healing a week later) and I wish that the accompanying tools came with the medicine (ex: cotton balls, needle clips & “approved” alcohol pads).

    It’s taken some time to get used to the daily injections but I’m finally getting used to the routine. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jess,
      Thank you for visiting my blog and even more for leaving a comment! I totally agree! It took a while to get used to the injections and yes, the time needed for healing!
      Linda
      ps. why don’t you connect a picture to your comment? It’s simple and free! Here’s a tutorial to walk you through the process! I’ll send you an email in case you don’t see this!

  2. Great Article. I’ve been on copaxone for about 18months now.
    Most annoying sight is the Arm have just about mastered it. Although at times the injection doesn’t seem to work after going through the cycle when I take the AutoJect away the copaxone just squirts out. Any tips to prevent this from happening. When this happens should #i redo injection in different site

  3. A little trick that I use with my autoject is this:

    Instead of pressing the device into the skin to make the two parts come into contact (to the point you can push the button), use a rubber band to keep the device held together. Before this I was accidentally going too deep and it was very painful. With the rubber band you can lightly press the tip of the autoject to the skin which results in less pain (I think).

    I don’t think this trick is taught by most injection nurses since it’s most likely not “approved”, but I have seen many others do it too.

    • Jess,
      I am sorry, I don’t understand what you mean. If we set the blue screw on the appropriate depth then we won’t shoot the needle too deeply into our skin. If you ask your doctor or Shared Solutions you can find out which number best suits you. I thank you for bringing this to my attention because in this post I accidentally said “red” screw and I meant blue! Good luck with it all!
      Linda

  4. Linda,
    I’ve enjoyed this posting of yours and you’re helping with an awkward part of maintaining the maintenance of MS. I was first diagnosed with MS when I was 32 years old and I’m now 62. I’ve been on Copaxone since it first hit the market and feel the progression of my MS has been halted, per my MRI’s.
    The other night, my young dog got to my auto injection device and completely ruined it. I’ve looked all around the Net today looking for where I can find another one but have had no luck at all….
    Can you please point me in the right direction because I’ve become very dependent on this gadget and lost without it.
    Thank you,
    David Dougherty

    • David,
      I hope you found an AutoJect by now!! I’m like you I could use Copaxone without it! You can get another one at Shared Solutions by calling 1800-887-8100. They’ll get one right in the mail!

      Darn Dog, you gotta love ’em!
      Linda

  5. I lost my Autoject for Copaxone. Last time I tried to order another one, the one sent was totally unuseful. How can I get the same one I started with?

    • Janet~
      Goodness! I couldn’t have injected Copaxone without it. Wait. When I first started Copaxone they didn’t have the AutoJect. If I remember, when we first started we had to load the syringe personally and inject it with out the AutoJect. I was so happy with they started filling the syringe and we had the AutoJect!
      Where did you get the one that you have now? I don’t have any idea if they have started making a different style or something. My advice is to call shared solutions: 1-800-887-8100 during business hours 8am-8pm CT M-F.
      I would love it if you’d tell me more about it, where you got it, what the difference is and how it’s resolved when it is!
      Linda

  6. I have used Copaxone for as long as it has been around, tonight my autoject
    finally broke. It lasted over a decade. So that is pretty great. Do you know how I can get a new one?
    Thanks

    • Hey Ruth!
      You can get another AutoJect at Shared Solutions by calling 1800-887-8100. They’re very good at getting one right in the mail!
      ~Linda

  7. Howdy just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the
    pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I
    think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same results.

    • krystle,
      I thank you for letting us know, unfortunately we are not able to get it resolved yet, time, we need more time! No worries, we will!
      ~Linda

  8. Hi all, I have just started on Copaxone and following advice on the web I used a cold pack afterwards to help with the stinging and burning. The nurse has told me not to do this as it is no longer recommended to use anything at all until 24 hours after because it interferes with distribution of the medication. I am worried now as this made the pain bearable. Has anyone else been given this advice ? It seems to be a recent development.

    • Jacki,
      I have to say I haven’t heard of ice packs interfering with the distribution of the medication, but I’ve been off Copaxone for almost a year. The reputable source (your nurse) giving you this information validates it. I’m going to call ‘Shared Solutions’ 1-800-803-2523 and see what they say~ thank you for sharing!
      ~Linda

    • Jacki,
      I just spoke with a nurse on http://www.sharedsolutions.com ~ the official site for Copaxone. She told me that the information you received about the cold packs is incorrect. You’re encouraged to use a cold pack after your enjection for up to a minute. She suggested you call 1-800-887-8100 and register. It’s free and you’ll receive excellent information from a personal nurse, financial assistance if needed and many more benefits. I encourage you to register and get information from a very reliable source.
      ~Linda
      Come back and let me know if you do, and what your experiences are!

      • Thank you Linda. I am from the UK so we use Connexions not Shared Solutions, and the advice I had was from the Connexions nurse, and my MS nurse. It looks like conflicting advice across the pond. Our service is telling people that cool packs prevent medication dispersing and may increase the risk of skin reactions.

  9. I have been using the auto inject for about two years, lately i have been wasting injections because it is not injecting ? I have not changed how i was doing it and I also got a new injector.? wish I could inject by myself but cant even watch any one else doing it. Wondering if anyone else has that problem with the auto inject not working, I waste so much, and what should i do?

    • Jeanne,
      I have herd of others needing to have it replaced, it’s a drag that even your second one isn’t working properly! Talk to your doctor and he/s will refer you to the official site in your area. If you’re in the US, SharedSolutions.com is the place to get info about Copaxone. You can call 1-800-887-8100 and register there. Your doctor or Shared Solutions should give you the support you need.

      Will you please come back and tell us how it turned out?
      ~Linda

  10. This site has been so great for me. I was diagnosed last week with RR and just got my autoinject in the mail. Im 24 and man, already just a crazy scary journey. I absolutely hate needles and even cry when I get blood drawn. Reading all of these comments helps! I started a blog to help with what Im going through. Would love to follow each other. I travel a lot with work, and wonder how you travel with the syringes? And I had no idea you could inject anywhere else besides your legs? Also, I found this thing called the “Ouchless Needle”, I’m in medical sales and one of my great friends who’s a plastic surgeon invented the device, I look forward to using it and encourage you guys to do so as well to help with pain with the injection!

    • Ali,
      I am sorry to hear you have MS as I am for all of us! Life with MS is definitely a roller coaster! I would love follow your blog! I’m very curious about the “Ouchless Needle”. Are you in the US? Here it’s no problem traveling with Copaxone. Now it doesn’t have to be refrigerated so you can pack all of the syringes in your suit case. Did you have a nurse come to your house to teach you how to use the AutoJect? Did you see my post about using the AutoJect in your arms? That’s the one I didn’t understand for years!
      ~Linda
      ps. I’m going over to your blog right now…

  11. I need another inejector for the glass syringe copaxone, Is there any way to get another one?

    My mailing address is:

    Nancy Remling
    2517 Rankin Court
    Caldwell, ID 83607

    (208) 407-1553

    Thank you.

    • Nancy,
      I’m sorry, MSrelief.com doesn’t supply the AutoJect. You’ll need to call Shared Solutions; 1-800-887-8100 open 8am-8pm M-F Central Time. If they can’t help you, they will direct you to someone else.
      Let me know when you talk to them so I know you’re taken care of!
      ~Linda

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