Mycophenolate (CellCept) is used with other medications to help prevent transplant organ rejection (attack of the transplanted organ by the immune system of the person receiving the organ) in adults who have received heart and liver transplants and in adults and children 3 months of age and older who have received kidney transplants. Mycophenolate (Myfortic) is used with other medications to help prevent the body from rejecting kidney transplants. Mycophenolate is in a class of medications called immunosuppressive agents. It works by weakening the body’s immune system so it will not attack and reject the transplanted organ.
Side Effects Of Mycophenolate
Mycophenolate may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- stomach pain or swelling
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- pain, especially in the back, muscles, or joints
- prickling, tingling, or burning feeling on the skin
- muscle stiffness or weakness
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
- diarrhea, sudden severe stomach pain
- swelling of the hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- difficulty breathing
- chest pain
- fast heartbeat
- lack of energy
- pale skin
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- black and tarry stools
- red blood in stools
- bloody vomit
- vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- blood in urine
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
Mycophenolate may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking mycophenolate:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to mycophenolate, mycophenolic acid, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in the mycophenolate or mycophenolic acid product you are taking. If you are taking mycophenolate liquid, tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to aspartame or sorbitol. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: activated charcoal; acyclovir (Zovirax); certain antibiotics such as amoxicillin and clavulanic acid (Augmentin), ciprofloxacin (Cipro),, and sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim (Bactrim); azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran); cholestyramine (Prevalite); ganciclovir (Cytovene, Valcyte); other medications that suppress the immune system; isavuconazonium (Cresemba); probenecid (Probalan); proton pump inhibitors such as lansoprazole (Dexilant, Prevacid) and pantoprazole (Protonix); rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, in Rifamate, Rifater); telmisartan (Micardis, in Twynsta); valacyclovir (Valtrex); and valganciclovir (Valcyte). Also, tell your doctor if you are taking a combination of both norfloxacin (Noroxin) and metronidazole (Flagyl). Many other medications may also interact with mycophenolate, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list. Also, be sure to tell your doctor if you stop taking any of your medications. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- if you are taking sevelamer (Renagel, Renvela), or antacids that contain magnesium or aluminum, take them 2 hours after you take mycophenolate.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had Lesch-Nyhan syndrome or Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome (inherited diseases that cause high levels of a certain substance in the blood, joint pain, and problems with motion and behavior); anemia (a lower than a normal number of red blood cells); neutropenia (less than a normal number of white blood cells); ulcers or any disease that affects your stomach, intestines, or digestive system; any type of cancer; or kidney or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding.
- you should know that mycophenolate may make you drowsy, confused, dizzy, lightheaded, or cause uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
- do not have any vaccinations without talking to your doctor. Ask your doctor if you should get a flu vaccine before or during your treatment because taking mycophenolate may increase your risk of infection.
- if you have phenylketonuria (PKU, an inherited condition in which a special diet must be followed to prevent mental retardation), you should know that mycophenolate suspension contains aspartame, a source of phenylalanine.
Mycophenolate comes as a capsule, a tablet, a delayed-release (releases the medication in the intestine) tablet, and a suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken twice a day on an empty stomach (1 hour before or 2 hours after eating or drinking, unless your doctor tells you otherwise). Take mycophenolate at about the same times every day, and try to space your doses about 12 hours apart. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take mycophenolate exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
The medication in the delayed-release tablet (Myfortic) is absorbed differently by the body than the medication in the suspension, tablet, and capsule (CellCept). These products cannot be substituted for each other. Each time you have your prescription filled, make sure that you have received the right product. If you think you received the wrong medication, talk to your doctor and pharmacist right away.
Swallow the tablets, delayed-release tablets, and capsules whole; do not split, chew, or crush them. Do not open the capsules.
Do not mix mycophenolate suspension with any other medication.
Be careful not to spill the suspension or to splash it onto your skin. If you do get the suspension on your skin, wash the area well with soap and water. If you get the suspension in your eyes, rinse with plain water. Use wet paper towels to wipe up any spilled liquids.
Mycophenolate helps prevent organ transplant rejection only as long as you are taking the medication. Continue to take mycophenolate even if you feel well. Do not stop taking mycophenolate without talking to your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.