Lipoatrophy is the loss (the “atrophy”) of subcutaneous fat. It appears as “dents” or depressions in the skin.
This condition in multiple sclerosis is usually related to the use of Copaxone (glatiramer acetate), one of the disease-modifying therapies for MS. Copaxone is injected daily subcutaneously (or into the fat layer under the skin).
Some patients on Copaxone develop lipoatrophy at injection sites. I was one of them. I noticed sunken spots on my legs in the area that I was giving myself the injection. I had no idea what it was and I wasn’t worried. I was confident that they would go away.
Just by chance I mentioned to the Dr. at one of my office visits. He looked at my legs and said, “Oh, that’s just fat atrophy.” I knew what atrophy was and thought, “I don’t want my muscles to atrophy, but fat? That can’t be bad.”
Ignorance isn’t bliss, at least not this time. It wasn’t till later that I learned what lipoatrophy is and that it is permanent, irreversible (although some people have said it lessons over time) and avoidable. When I followed the nurse’s training for the use of the AutoJect, I never had another ‘dimple’ put in my body.
Unfortunately, the damage was done.