You will need to have regular blood tests while you are on this treatment.
Each time you collect a new supply of this medicine from your pharmacy, make sure it looks to be the same as you have had before. If you are unsure, ask your pharmacist to check for you.
Taking mycophenolate may reduce your body's resistance to infections. Try to keep away from people who you know are ill and report any sign of infection (raised temperature, cough) to your doctor.
Limit the amount of sunlight and ultraviolet light you get, by wearing protective clothing and using a sunscreen with high sun protection factor.
|Type of medicine||Immunosuppressant|
|Used for||To prevent transplant rejection in heart, kidney or liver transplants|
|Also called||Arzip®, CellCept®, Myfenax®, Myfortic® (as mycophenolic acid)|
|Available as||Tablets, capsules, oral liquid, and injection|
Mycophenolate is used to prevent the rejection of new organs following a transplant operation. Sometimes the body tries to reject new donor tissue and mycophenolate helps to prevent this rejection by suppressing your body's immune or defence system. It will be prescribed for you, along with other medicines to prevent rejection, by a transplant specialist doctor.
There are two different forms of mycophenolate; mycophenolate mofetil and mycophenolic acid. There are also a number of different brands of tablets and capsules. It is important that you do not swap between these different formulations, so each time you collect a new supply from your pharmacy, make sure it looks to be the same as you have had before.
Before taking mycophenolate
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking mycophenolate it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have kidney problems (other than if this is the reason for your transplant).
- If you have any problems with your digestive system.
- If you have been told you have a deficiency of hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HGPRT). This is a rare inherited disorder.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take mycophenolate
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the specific brand of mycophenolate you have been given, and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take mycophenolate exactly as your doctor has told you. It is usual to take two doses daily (morning and evening). The number of tablets or capsules for each dose will vary depending on the type of transplant you have had. Your doctor will tell you what dose is right for you and this will also be on the label of the pack to remind you. Try to take your doses at the same times of day each day as this will help you to remember to take them. You can take mycophenolate before or after meals, but it is best if you stick to one or the other.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time to take your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose when it is due. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
- Continue to take mycophenolate unless you are advised otherwise by your doctor. Stopping this treatment will increase the risk of your body rejecting the transplant.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Keep your regular doctor's appointment so your progress can be monitored. You will need to have regular blood tests while you are on this treatment.
- It is important to try to avoid anyone who is suffering from chickenpox or shingles. Tell your doctor if you come into contact with anyone with these infections.
- It is important that you do not become pregnant while you are taking mycophenolate. You should use contraception before you start treatment, during it, and for six weeks after you stop treatment. Make sure you have discussed with your doctor which types of contraception are suitable for you and your partner.
- While you are taking mycophenolate you may become more sensitive to the harmful effects of sunlight. As a result there is an increased risk of skin cancer. Protect yourself when you are outside by using a sun cream with an SPF factor of 15 or higher, and avoid sitting out in the sun.
- While you are taking mycophenolate and for six months after you stop treatment, do not have any immunisations (vaccinations) without talking to your doctor first. Mycophenolate lowers your body's resistance and there is a chance either that you may get an infection from the vaccine or that the vaccine will not work properly.
- If you are having any treatment like an operation or dental treatment tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines. This is because some medicines (such as antacids and some vitamin preparations which contain iron) can interfere with the way mycophenolate works.
Can mycophenolate cause problems?
Mycophenolate can cause unwanted effects and your doctor will discuss the possibility of these with you. Let your doctor know if you experience any of the following:
|Very common mycophenolate side-effects - these effect more than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine
||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Infections||Let your doctor know straightaway if you have a high temperature, a cough, or if you feel generally unwell|
|Unexpected bruising or bleeding||Let your doctor know straightaway about this|
|Feeling or being sick, abdominal pain||Stick to simple foods - avoid rich or spicy meals|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, discuss them with your doctor.
How to store mycophenolate
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, CellCept® 250 mg Capsules; Roche Products Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated July 2012.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Myfortic® 180mg gastro-resistant tablets; Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated August 2011.
- British National Formulary; 63rd Edition (Mar 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Adrian Bonsall