Description and Brand Names

Drug information provided by: Micromedex

US Brand Name

  1. Cellcept

Descriptions


Mycophenolate belongs to a group of medicines known as immunosuppressive agents. It is used with other medicines to lower the body's natural immunity in patients who receive organ transplants (eg, kidney, heart, or liver).

When a patient receives an organ transplant, the body's white blood cells will try to get rid of (reject) the transplanted organ. Mycophenolate prevents the white blood cells from rejecting the transplanted organ.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Powder for Suspension
  • Capsule
  • Tablet

Before Using

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of mycophenolate in children receiving kidney transplants. However, safety and efficacy have not been established in infants younger than 3 months of age.

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of mycophenolate in children receiving heart or liver transplants. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of mycophenolate in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related liver, kidney, or heart problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving mycophenolate.

Pregnancy

Information about this mycophenolate-mofetil-oral-route
Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters D Studies in pregnant women have demonstrated a risk to the fetus. However, the benefits of therapy in a life threatening situation or a serious disease, may outweigh the potential risk.

Breastfeeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Drug Interactions

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Activated Charcoal
  • Adenovirus Vaccine Type 4, Live
  • Adenovirus Vaccine Type 7, Live
  • Aluminum Carbonate, Basic
  • Aluminum Hydroxide
  • Aluminum Phosphate
  • Azathioprine
  • Bacillus of Calmette and Guerin Vaccine, Live
  • Cholestyramine
  • Colesevelam
  • Colestipol
  • Cyclosporine
  • Dexlansoprazole
  • Dihydroxyaluminum Aminoacetate
  • Dihydroxyaluminum Sodium Carbonate
  • Esomeprazole
  • Influenza Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Lansoprazole
  • Magaldrate
  • Magnesium Carbonate
  • Magnesium Hydroxide
  • Magnesium Oxide
  • Magnesium Trisilicate
  • Measles Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Metronidazole
  • Mumps Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Norfloxacin
  • Omeprazole
  • Pantoprazole
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Live
  • Rabeprazole
  • Rifampin
  • Rotavirus Vaccine, Live
  • Rubella Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Smallpox Vaccine
  • Typhoid Vaccine
  • Varicella Virus Vaccine
  • Yellow Fever Vaccine

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Cyclosporine
  • Desogestrel
  • Dienogest
  • Drospirenone
  • Estradiol Cypionate
  • Estradiol Valerate
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Ethynodiol Diacetate
  • Etonogestrel
  • Iron
  • Levonorgestrel
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate
  • Mestranol
  • Norelgestromin
  • Norethindrone
  • Norgestimate
  • Norgestrel
  • Sevelamer
  • Valacyclovir

Other Interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Bone marrow problems (eg, neutropenia) or
  • Hepatitis B or C infection or
  • Stomach ulcers or bleeding—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Infection—May decrease your ability to fight an infection.
  • Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome (rare genetic disease) or
  • Lesch-Nyhan syndrome (rare genetic disease)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
  • Kidney disease, severe—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU)—The oral suspension contains aspartame (phenylalanine), which can make this condition worse.

Proper Use

Take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. Taking too much may increase the chance of side effects, while taking too little may lead to rejection of your transplanted organ.

This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.

It is best to take this medicine on an empty stomach, either 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

Mycophenolate capsules and tablets should be swallowed whole. Do not break, crush, open, or chew them.

It is important that you handle this medicine with care. Avoid inhaling the powder from the capsule or allowing the powder or the oral liquid to touch your skin or eyes. If the medicine gets on your skin, wash it thoroughly with soap and water. If the medicine gets in your eyes, wash them with plain water. Should a spill occur, wipe it up using paper towels wetted with water to remove the powder or liquid.

You should use the oral dispenser from the pharmacist to measure the correct amount of suspension. If you have any questions about this, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Use only the brand of mycophenolate tablets that your doctor ordered. Different brands may not work the same way.

If you are also using antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium (such as Maalox® or Mylanta®), do not use them at the same time as mycophenolate. Use them 1 hour before or 2 hours after your dose. If you have questions, talk with your doctor about the best times to use your medicines.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage forms (capsules, suspension, or tablets):
    • For heart transplants:
      • Adults—1.5 grams two times a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For kidney transplants:
      • Adults—1 gram two times a day.
      • Teenagers and children 3 months of age and older—Dose is based on body size as determined by the doctor. The suspension dose is 600 milligrams (mg) per square meter [m(2)] two times a day. The capsules and tablets are given as 750 mg to 1 gram two times a day.
      • Children younger than 3 months of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For liver transplants:
      • Adults—1.5 grams two times a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

The oral suspension can also be kept in the refrigerator. Throw away any unused suspension after 60 days.

Precautions

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. Your doctor will do blood tests to make sure that mycophenolate is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby or cause a miscarriage during the first 3 months. If you are a woman who can bear children, your doctor may give you a pregnancy test before you start using this medicine to make sure you are not pregnant. Your birth control pills may not work as well while you are using this medicine. You must use two forms of birth control together for 1 month before starting this medicine, for the entire time that you are being treated, and for 6 weeks after you receive your last dose of this medicine. Use birth control pills together with another form of birth control, such as a condom, diaphragm, or contraceptive foam or jelly. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.

Using this medicine may increase your risk of getting skin cancer or cancer of the lymph system (lymphoma). Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about this risk.

Use sunscreen or sunblock lotions with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 on a regular basis when you are outdoors. Wear protective clothing and hats and stay out of direct sunlight, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds.

Mycophenolate can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, which increases the chance of getting an infection. If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you have a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.

Mycophenolate may cause pure red cell aplasia (PRCA). This is a very rare condition where the body no longer makes red blood cells and the patient has severe anemia. Check with your doctor right away if you have a fever and sore throat, pale skin, unusual bleeding or bruising, or unusual tiredness or weakness.

This medicine may increase your risk of developing a serious and rare brain infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). Check with your doctor right away if you are having more than one of these symptoms: vision changes, loss of coordination, clumsiness, memory loss, difficulty speaking or understanding what others say, and weakness in the legs.

This medicine may increase your risk of developing rare and serious virus infections, such as shingles, herpes, cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, polyomavirus associated nephropathy (PVAN), and BK virus-associated nephropathy (BKVAN). The BK virus may affect how your kidneys work and cause a transplanted kidney to fail. Check with your doctor right away if you are having more than one of these symptoms: bloody urine, a decreased frequency or amount of urine, increased thirst, loss of appetite, lower back or side pain, nausea, swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs, trouble breathing, unusual tiredness or weakness, vomiting, or weight gain.

This medicine may cause reactivation of hepatitis B or C infection. Check with your doctor right away if you have the following symptoms while using this medicine: dark-colored urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain in your upper stomach, yellow skin or eyes.

While you are using mycophenolate, and after you stop, do not have any immunizations (vaccinations) without your doctor's approval. Mycophenolate will lower your body's resistance and there is a chance you might get the infection the immunization is meant to prevent.

Do not stop taking this medicine without checking first with your doctor. Doing so may cause rejection of your transplanted organ. Your doctor will decide how long you should take this medicine.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

  1. Abdominal or stomach cramps or pain
  2. black, tarry stools
  3. bladder pain
  4. bleeding gums
  5. bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  6. blood in the urine or stools
  7. bloody or cloudy urine
  8. blurred vision
  9. burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  10. chest pain
  11. confusion
  12. convulsions
  13. cough or hoarseness
  14. decreased urine
  15. difficult or labored breathing
  16. difficult, burning, or painful urination
  17. dizziness
  18. dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  19. drowsiness
  20. dry mouth
  21. fainting
  22. fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  23. fever or chills
  24. flushed, dry skin
  25. frequent urge to urinate
  26. fruit-like breath odor
  27. headache
  28. increased hunger
  29. increased thirst
  30. increased urination
  31. irregular heartbeats
  32. irregular pulse
  33. irritability
  34. lightheadedness
  35. loss of appetite
  36. lower back or side pain
  37. muscle cramps in the hands, arms, feet, legs, or face
  38. muscle pain or cramps
  39. muscle spasms (tetany) or twitching
  40. nausea or vomiting
  41. nervousness
  42. numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
  43. painful or difficult urination
  44. pale skin
  45. pinpoint red spots on the skin
  46. pounding in the ears
  47. rapid weight gain
  48. rapid, shallow breathing
  49. seizures
  50. sore throat
  51. sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  52. stomach pain and bloating
  53. sweating
  54. swollen glands
  55. tightness in the chest
  56. tingling of the hands or feet
  57. trembling
  58. tremor
  59. troubled breathing with exertion
  60. unexplained weight loss
  61. unusual bleeding or bruising
  62. unusual tiredness or weakness
  63. unusual weight gain or loss
  64. weakness or heaviness of the legs

Incidence not known

  1. Back pain
  2. constipation
  3. coughing or spitting up blood
  4. darkened urine
  5. general feeling of illness
  6. indigestion
  7. night sweats
  8. pain
  9. pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  10. severe headache
  11. sudden high fever or low-grade fever for months
  12. tenderness
  13. watery or bloody diarrhea
  14. yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  1. Acid or sour stomach
  2. belching
  3. fear
  4. heartburn
  5. lack or loss of strength
  6. rash
  7. trouble sleeping
  8. weight loss

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.