Injection Sites

Has anyone taking Copaxone found that the back of the arms and the back of the hips are difficult? Any suggestions on how to inject, manually though. Also, I was told sometimes your doctor can advise you on different areas to inject other than the normal seven sites recommended for Copaxone. Any information or advice would be greatly appreciated!!

55 Replies

  • I did better with hips and arms. Stomach and thighs were not cool for me, but the stomach is generally more tolerable. I also found that pushing the med slowly helped. I used a shotblocker to help w the sticks. That helped quite a bit. Other than that, time. They get better over time. Hang in there!!

  • Hi lauranell2u! Thanks for your reply. It's my daughter who has MS. Just diagnosed in June, she's 18. I try to find out as much as I can to help her. She's doing really good considering. She started Copaxone the end of August and after 2 weeks she switched to doing her injections manually. So far her arms and hips seem to be the worse. But someone had mentioned to us about her doctor being able to suggest other sites if some of the recommended ones were too painful. We saw her neuro last week but hadn't heard about asking about other sites plus she hadn't gotten to the arms and hips to know they were going to be difficult. He's a great neuro but not actually a MS neuro so most of the questions we did ask he said we needed to speak to Shared Solutions but I just thought if I could find someone who had been approved for other areas then we could bring that up to him and see what he says. We wouldn't do a different area without approval though. Also, what is a shot blocker? Is it something prescribed? Thanks!!!

  • Look at Amazon. Shot locker by Bionix. That's the one I had.

  • Oh lord!! Autocorrect. Ugh.


  • Thanks so much. Definitely looking into that!!!!

  • @Cathy616, I stopped Copaxone 6 years ago, and so I'm speaking from experience that may be out of date. But if they haven't changed the routines, I found that the arms were the hardest of all--not just hard to reach but also more likely to swell up and hurt.

    Finally I asked about whether I could substitute a few more sites on the stomach area for the arm injections. The doctor didn't see any problem with that, and that's what I did from then on. I hope you'll run any ideas about changing injection sites past your doctor first, just to be on the safe side.

  • Hi agate! Thanks so much. My daughter has MS and I was just wondering about other injection sites that I could mention to her neuro bc she finds the hips and arms very painful. The stomach she does really good with. We'll check with her dr about other stomach areas and see what he says. Did you stop Copaxone for another DMT? Thanks so much!!!

  • @Cathy616, It's surprising but many people find the stomach injection sites the easiest. And there's a lot of "real estate" there--so you aren't apt to run out of sites. No, I'm not any DMT any more. Tried Avonex for 3 years, Copaxone for 3 years. With SPMS that's been with me since about 1978, the DMTs probably weren't doing me any good but I might return to Copaxone one of these days.

  • @agate, thank you. You're right the stomach is a pretty big area so hopefully she'll continue to do good with that and the other areas she can tolerate but ultimately like everyone else I pray for a cure to all types of MS. In the meantime I just pray and keep my faith that all will be well with my daughter and everyone who is dealing with this!!! Take care and best wishes!!!!

  • Hi! I've been on Copaxone for about a year and a half. I have the most difficulty with the backs of the arms and the thighs. Those four sites always swell and hurt for days. The belly and hip shots are much better for me. I guess everyone is different. I am planning to ask my doctor about alternate injection sites at my next appointment. Good luck!

  • Hi cindyrn68! Definitely, some areas are too painful or just too hard to get to manually. We're wanting to find out about other areas too, this is for my daughter who was just diagnosed in June. I'm want to help her and learn as much as I can to make things easier for her. Thanks for your reply and I hope you get some alternate areas from your doctor!! Best wishes!!!

  • I took Copan one for 7 years. I didn't do areas that gave me problems. I ckd with doc 1st. Important to rotate AND use heat on areas before shot.Then I used cool post shot. CAN'T recall is that correct order? Memory slip sliding down slippery slope. LOL

    I couldn't do shot on top of thighs, painful. Doc fine with that.

    I also sprayed liquid benadryl or equivalent on site where I did shot. Stopped shot reactions. Walmart online sells generic few $.

    PS, able to do arms if I put a folded towel underneath arms and press arm towards my torso. Made my excess skin accessible.

    Best of luck

  • Hi purpletustin! I know, some areas are too painful. I'm speaking as a mom, my daughter was just diagnosed in June, she's 18. She has found applying alittle heat before helps and the cold after definitely. She's not liking the hips or the arms but the arms are a little better just harder to get to bc she does her shots manually. I'll tell her what you mentioned about a towel underneath and pressing arm toward torso for the next time. We're wanting to know about possible other sites so we can ask her neuro about them bc she understands the importance of rotating. Did your doctor approve the liquid Benadryl and do you spray it on right after your injection. Her doctor said to use cortisone cream.

    Thanks so much!!

  • This is probably a stupid question but did you spray the Benadryl before or after you did your shot?

  • Just after. Eventually didn't even need the spray. Be sure to rotate

    Smiles to u.

  • Sorry for not responding right back. My parents stopped by to see us. But thank you. I figured after but wanted to be sure. I hope it helps her bc she's now having a hard time injecting manually since she did her arms and got one hip but both hurt really bad. She can pinch about an inch on her hips but for some reason she's having a hard time with it all right now. Just stressed out and then she beats herself up if she isn't able to get all the medicine in. I'm glad to hear you did well on Copaxone for a long time and I wish you the best and I greatly appreciate your reply and advice and support. I think she's so worried about the skin damage from the shots even though most say it's takes awhile for that to happen. I'm definitely going to get the spray in hopes that it helps ease some of the pain. Thanks again and take care, bless you!!!!

  • Ask her to please hold on and concentrate on positives. This medication carried me well for 7 years. I am overweight by about 20 pounds so I always had enough to pinch an inch. Warm compress before injecting. I only had manual shots when my injector broke in a foreign country on a cruise. My husband did the shots as I was queasy. Awful, since I come from a medical background in clinical trials. Hope she will give the injector a few more chances. Would she agree to let you do them until she gets used to it? Think I mentioned, but in case I didn't, in order to give myself shots in the arm, fleshy part, I would put a folded up towel under the area and squeeze the towel to my body. My extra flesh pooched (doesn't sound medical) out and I quickly gave shot and then sprayed and put cold towel compress on it. Never a problem. In the long run, hope she gets comfortable with the injector. In the beginning my emotions were a bit problematic so my sweet husband did the shots for me using injector. After the first shots, I took over. Best to you, Flo

  • I will and even though everything is alittle stressful right now I know she'll continue on. She is very positive though but, of course, has those moments. She might in the future try the injector again but as far as doing manual shots she prefers to do them herself with me there to guide her and for encouragement. Thanks again and best to you as well.

  • I can not do arms or thighs. My doctor gave me permission to do anywhere that I can pinch an inch of skin. Since I am overweight that is pretty much anywhere for me. I use hips, buttocks, stomach, area below breasts and above stomach. The doctor said she even had one patient inject into her breasts but she didn't recommend that. I have to get a little creative sometimes because I am also a diabetic and wear an insulin pump and that uses the same sites.

  • OMG at breast injections!!! I told one of the other nurses this morning that I have heard it all. But now, it is official… Lordy!!

  • I know! There is no way I am injecting into the "girls"!

  • OMG I would go without it first!

  • I'm with you, the breast. I couldn't even imagine!!!

  • Hi Bygonelines! Thanks for your reply. Yeah the breast, ouch!! I'm trying to find out for my daughter. She was diagnosed in June, 18 yrs old. She's doing really good other than the arms and hips but hips are really painful for her. Thanks for the areas you listed and best wishes to you!!!!

  • For me the hips work best when I inject more towards my back than towards my side. Hopefully that makes sense.

  • It does and thank you.

  • Hi Cathy616 Is your daughter able to pinch an inch on the hip? That was always one of my easiest spots to inject My nurse instructor, years ago taught me this and always barely any feeling when I did the shot, followed up the first few months with spray Benadryl or generic. Walmart and Walgreens have generics, think I paid about 5$ for the spray and it lasted many months.

  • I was on Copaxone for 7 years and just started to shoot the stomach and thighs with auto injector, the doctor was not that happy. She said I could get dimples and scar tissue. I'm 64 who cares. I did change to Glatopa back a year ago, They have a much better auto injector that works smooth and steady. Every once in awhile I will hit an old injection site and the needle won't go in but if I wiggle it a little it will work.

  • Hi normwithms! The auto injector didn't work for my daughter. She felt like she was shooting a dart into herself so she's doing them manually. As her mom I'm just trying to learn as much information and input from others to help her. She's so young and it breaks my heart to see her dealing with this and I feel for anyone that is dealing with MS. But I must stay strong for her bc she's my world!!! Thanks so much for your reply.

    Best wishes!!!!

  • Cathy616 I am so sorry your daughter has this. I have 5 kids I can't even imagine having to watch any of them struggle with this. I just hope they come up with a cure for your daughter soon.

  • normwithms thank you!! It is really hard to watch your child have to go through this and especially so young. But I pray and I have faith that she will continue to be a fighter and that a cure will be found at some point or at the very least some type of treatment that is easier to do. She unfortunately can't take any of the current oral meds. Thanks again.

  • LOL, I'm 71 and could care less. I thrived on Copaxone, until I didn't any longer. Best wishes, needed that comment from you. LOL

  • Just wanted to say sorry again but I hope you're doing well and will keep you in my prayers too!! Thanks again for your replies!!! :)

  • The back of the arm is difficult. Although I don't do this, one way to make it easier is to use tape to keep the injector depressed so that only the release catch needs to be depressed with a thumb. I have found that raising my upper arm to a horizontal position and injecting upwards from below works more easily.

  • Hi atolley! Thanks for your reply and the tips regarding the back of the arms. I'll mention them to my daughter, she has MS and I'm just trying to learn as much as I can!!

    Best wishes to you!!!

  • Not sure about copaxone I take Extavia and I'm also having difficulty finding an area that does not hurt . The best area for me is in the stomach but I also am advised to rotate 😢 Is your shot muscular, mine is not but still hurts.

  • Hi Satinshaw!! My daughter finds the stomach the best place too. Her shot isn't muscular either but yeah even the stomach hurts but the other areas like the hips and arms really hurt!!! Thanks for replying!!

    Best wishes to you!!!!

  • Hi there, I repeated my nurse training on Copaxone, years ago. I thought I thoroughly understood, but she showed me some good, newer ways. The stomach was good, as long as I grabbed an inch or so. I could have grabbed way more, but that's another laugh.

  • We just had the nurse come out again this past week just to be clear on everything and she's great. Unfortunately she doesn't recommend any of the creams or sprays but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. :)

  • I cleared spray with neurologist. At MS seminar the trainer and speaker said, go for it.

    Smiles on the way

  • I'm glad you got it cleared with your neurologist and we like her neuro but he doesn't specialize in MS, knows a lot, but not necessarily up to date but he's been the nicest one so far and it's hard to get in with one that specializes MS where we live. But I'm going with the spray!!

    Thanks again!!!!

  • I haven't taken Copaxone in a long time, but I do remember trying the back of my arm one time and I hit a muscle. I thought I had punctured something the pain was so bad. I called a Shared Solutions nurse and she walked me through it, but it took a few days to heal. I had real trouble marking injection sites (I was on the full 7u days--the 3 day one hadn't come out yet) and it wasn't helping anyway, so I was real happy to get off of it.

  • Hi Sukie437! My daughter just recently got to the back of the arms in her rotations and she didn't like that area, very painful and hard to get to. She's on the 3 days a week shots. After you got off Copaxone did you start a different DMT? She just got diagnosed in June and started Copaxone the end of August so we won't know how this is working until her MRI this coming March. I wish she could take an oral but she already has difficulty swallowing and she also tested positive for the JC virus so the PML risk didn't seem worth the risk. Thanks for your reply!!

    Best wishes!!!!

  • It's funny...or should I say, interesting, how different we all are. I was on Copaxone for a long time. I could not...absolutely would not...inject my stomach. That was soooo painful to me. My thighs were best and then arms. I will say, though, I had my husband give them to me. I got such anxiety trying to give them to myself. Even though it didn't hurt, I would cry when I did it. A big baby when it comes to shots! I believe it was Copaxone where I had an ice pack that helped, too. Can't remember if I did it before or after or both...maybe even had a hot pad...I can't remember. The nurse help line through the drug company can give you great tips, though. They are always happy to least, that has been my experience. They may even be able to send you things to help. Good luck.

  • Tinker-Belle hi! Thanks for your reply. You're right, everyone is so different in every aspect of MS. My daughter was just diagnosed in June, she's 18. She had a lot of anxiety with the autoject so she started doing them manually. She's having a hard time with the arms and hips but she's only gotten to those areas once so I think she might be able to do the arms again with some tips I've received but the hips, not so sure. She's hanging in there and I'm just trying to learn as much as I can and get input from others to help her. She applies alittle heat before and the ice pack after. We have also found Shared Solutions very helpful and it's so great to either talk to someone right away and/or on the weekends get a call back so quickly. How long were you on Copaxone and do you take another DMT now? Also, do you take vitamin D? Just wondering bc we've been hearing a lot about taking at least 5000 mcg daily?

    Best wishes to you!!!!

  • That is very sweet of you to learn as much as you can to help her. Shared Solutions was awesome! Hmmm, how long was I on it? Goodness, that has been a while ago. I'm thinking a couple of years maybe. I have taken Avonex, Tysabri, Copaxone, and Tecfidera, in that order, I believe. I am no longer taking any of them. I now have SPMS. Yes, I do take 1,000 IU of D3. In fact, I just had my blood tested to determine if my levels were ok or if I should take more. They were perfect. Back to getting the shots...the autoinject did make a pretty loud click so I imagine that could be disturbing. I did best with my hips when I started doing them myself, both with ease and least amount of sting. Again, though, I wimped out altogether except when I had to. I can't stress enough how very nice it is for you to be involved. You may think, "well, duh, she's my daughter and only 18 at that..what do you expect?" To you and to me, if it were my child, that is a no-brainer. However, MS can be so stressful with crazy symptoms and roller coaster emotions. Additionally, it is "invisible," as they say, so often those symptoms aren't obvious to others. Having a mother who loves her and, at times, does nothing more than listen, trying to understand, will mean so much to her. Of course, I don't know your daughter. She may make that very obvious to you. There also may be times, at some point, where it seems nothing you say or do can help. Please know that your love and your interest DO help. It is wonderful you have each other. Best wishes to both of you on this journey.

  • @Tinker-Belle, thank you so much for your thoughtfulness. It means a lot and helps me help her fight this fight. I just hope and pray that she doesn't progress fast and I know only time will tell. She's a very strong willed person and through this past year leading up to the diagnosis she has been a trooper and stayed quite positive, of course, some ups and downs and a lot of stress bc she was so excited about college and had always worked so hard in school then all this started happening her senior year. I just try to keep her in that positive mindset and sometimes just being there to listen, like you said, or letting her vent is all she needs to reset and continue on. But thank you again and I wish you all the best!! Also, thanks for the info regarding vitamin D. Her doctor isn't really on board with the whole vitamin D thing but we've just heard a lot about it and almost everyone I've met with MS is taking it and I've read about it being a good supplement to take. Sorry this is so long but again thank you!!! Take care!!!!

  • You are quite welcome. I'm surprised to hear the doctor is not on board with Vitamin D. I think they have shown it helps so many things and it certainly wouldn't hurt to take and be tested. Her positive attitude, and yours, will be So beneficial. I would encourage her to eat healthy food and exercise as much as she can. That is, continue being active...things like walking, light weights, leaning against a wall like she is sitting with no chair (not sure that makes sense)...I imagine there are a lot of simple suggestions on line. I wish I had done more of those things when I was just "too tired." A positive attitude, emotional support, eating right, and exercise can go a long way in fighting this battle. I hope she finds she can still go to college and pursue her interests. Keeping our brains active is also a huge help. Wishing you and your daughter many blessings ahead.

  • I'm definitely going to talk to her doctor again about the vitamin D bc I agree it's not like there's no info about it helping. He just says well you get it from the sun but even though you do since even before her diagnosis she was finding that she was not tolerating the best like she use to. We would stay at the beach during the summer and now it's very limited. I've also changed so much about what I cook and what we eat now. She's been trying really hard to eat better especially if she's not eating at home. We're going to start yoga soon. For now the college has deferred her until the Spring semester so they've been really great about everything. She's a little undecided about being so far from home now so we're just taking that day by day and have told her it's okay to take some time for now and if she'd rather go to the community college first and then transfer but not to forget about her hopes and dreams!!!!

  • Great advice. She will do quite well having such an encouraging support group!

  • Thank you! Have a wonderful day :)

  • I take 5000iu a day. You can get them off amazon fairly cheap. I get a lot of my stuff from there LOL obviously :-) it's like Christmas when the mailman comes

  • @lauranell2u, thanks for the tip on how much vitamin D you take daily!! I really appreciate all the advice and support from everyone!!!

  • It would be easier if you use Copaxone autoject.

  • Hi sybermomm! I first thought the autoject was best but my daughter had a lot of anxiety with that so she decided to try manually and for now she likes that better bc she can take her time especially with injecting the medicine slowly. I'm just glad she's not so stressed out like she was. She's still not thrilled about injections but she feels like she has more control. Thanks for your reply and best wishes to you!!!

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