What is mycophenolic acid?

Mycophenolic acid lowers your body’s immune system. The immune system helps your body fight infections. The immune system can also fight or "reject” a transplanted organ such as a liver or kidney. This is because the immune system treats the new organ as an invader.

Mycophenolic acid is used to prevent your body from rejecting a kidney transplant. This medication is usually given with cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral) and a steroid medication.

Mycophenolic acid may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Precautions

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to mycophenolic acid or mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept).

Before using mycophenolic acid, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • a stomach ulcer or other disorders of your stomach or intestines;
  • kidney disease;
  • a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection; or
  • a rare hereditary deficiency of hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyl-transferase (HGPRT) such as Lesch-Nyhan and Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome.

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication.

FDA pregnancy category D. This medication can cause harm to an unborn baby, especially if used during the first trimester of pregnancy. Do not use mycophenolic acid without telling your doctor if you are pregnant or if you plan to become pregnant during treatment.

If you are a woman of child-bearing potential, you will be required to receive contraceptive counseling and to start using two forms of birth control 4 weeks before the start of your treatment with mycophenolic acid. You will also need to have a negative pregnancy test within 1 week before your treatment begins.

Unless you have been in menopause for at least 12 months in a row, you are considered to be of child-bearing potential. Adolescent girls who have entered puberty are also considered to be of child-bearing potential, even if not yet sexually active.

Use two non-hormone forms of birth control (such as a condom, diaphragm, spermicide) to prevent pregnancy before and during your treatment with mycophenolic acid, and for at least 6 weeks after your treatment ends. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.

Mycophenolic acid can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about the most effective non-hormonal forms of birth control and which two are best for you.

Although mycophenolic acid can cause harm to an unborn baby, not treating the mother with this medication after a transplant could pose a greater risk to the mother’s health. Mycophenolic acid is sometimes given to pregnant women who are unable to take other needed transplant medications. Your doctor will decide whether you should receive this medication.

Your name may need to be listed on a national transplant pregnancy registry if you use mycophenolic acid during pregnancy. The purpose of this registry is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and delivery to evaluate whether mycophenolic acid had any effect on the baby.

It is not known whether mycophenolic acid passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed a baby while taking mycophenolic acid and for at least 6 weeks after your treatment ends.

Avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Do not receive a "live” vaccine while you are being treated with mycophenolic acid. The live vaccine may not work as well during your treatment, and may not fully protect you from disease. You may still be able to receive a flu shot, but ask your doctor first.

Avoid taking an antacid together with mycophenolic acid. Antacids contain different medicines and some types can make it harder for your body to absorb mycophenolic acid.

Avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (sunlamps or tanning beds). Mycophenolic acid can increase your risk of skin cancer. Use a sunscreen (minimum SPF 15) and wear protective clothing if you must be out in the sun.

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Instructions

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, unusual bleeding or bruising, and signs of infection.

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

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Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any a serious side effect such as:

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, mouth sores, white patches in your mouth or throat;
  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;
  • coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
  • bloody, black, or tarry stools;
  • painful or difficult urination;
  • thirst, increased urination, hot and dry skin;
  • chest pain, fast heart rate;
  • feeling like you might pass out;
  • high potassium (slow heart rate, weak pulse, muscle weakness, tingly feeling);
  • low potassium (confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, increased urination, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling);
  • pancreatitis (severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate);
  • problems with vision, speech, balance, or memory; or
  • weakness in your legs, lack of coordination.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, upset stomach;
  • headache, dizziness, blurred vision;
  • swelling in your hands or feet;
  • joint or muscle pain, back pain;
  • runny or stuffy nose, cough;
  • anxiety, sleep problems (insomnia); or
  • weight gain.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Interactions

Before using mycophenolic acid, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • cholestyramine (Questran), colesevelam (Welchol), or colestipol (Colestid);
  • acyclovir (Zovirax) or ganciclovir (Cytovene); or
  • other medicines that weaken the immune system, such as azathioprine (Imuran), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), or mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept).

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with mycophenolic acid. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Other Names

Myfortic and mycophenolic acid

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Disclaimer

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04

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