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First generic medication for MS developed

New study finds a generic version of Copaxone to be just as effective, safe

A new study on the first generic medication for Multiple Sclerosis is showing promising results when compared to the widely-used name brand medication, Copaxone.

"The study was positive. It showed that the generic version of glatiramer acetate, Copaxone, was equivalent," said Cleveland Clinic neurologist Dr. Jeff Cohen, a principal investigator in this study.

Cohen and his team of researchers tested the effects of generic glatiramer acetate on nearly 800 people. MRI was used to determine if the generic version was comparable at inhibiting brain-lesion activity. Researchers also checked the generic's effectiveness at controlling relapses and other disability changes.

Cohen says the generic is not only comparable but it is equally safe.  He says the next step will be to complete the extended follow-up on the safety and efficacy of the drug, but added the initial results are encouraging.

"So, we think these are very interesting results and hopefully will lead to the availability of generic versions of some of the multiple sclerosis medications, which could lead to significant cost-savings," Cohen said.

After the next round of tests, Cohen says the medication would then be considered for approval from the Food and Drug Administration. He hopes the generic version will be available sometime next year.