GENERIC NAME: mycophenolate mofetil
BRAND NAME: CellCept
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Mycophenolic acid is an immunosuppressive drug. Mycophenolate mofetil is a prodrug (inactive form) of mycophenolic acid (MPA). Following oral administration, mycophenolate mofetil is rapidly absorbed and hydrolyzed (converted) to MPA. MPA is the active metabolite which has pharmacological activity.
MPA is a strong, reversible inhibitor of inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH). IMPDH plays a critical role in the production of DNA. T and B lymphocytes (immune cells) are heavily dependent on the activity of IMPDH to make DNA to proliferate, whereas other cells can use alternative pathways. In patients who have received transplanted organs, the recipient's immune system attacks the transplanted organ because the body perceives it as foreign or harmful. MPA decreases the activity of the immune system by inhibiting the proliferation of immune cells that attack the transplanted organ. Mycophenolate is used with other medications that also inhibit the rejection of transplanted organs such as cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Gengraf, Neoral) and corticosteroids.
Mycophenolate mofetil was approved by the U.S. FDA on May 3, 1995.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Mycophenolate mofetil is used for the prophylaxis of organ rejection in patients receiving renal (kidney), cardiac (heart), or hepatic (liver) transplants. Mycophenolate has been shown to be safe and effective in adults as well as children who have received transplanted kidneys.
SIDE EFFECTS: Common side effects include:
- pain in the stomach area,
- high blood pressure, and
- swelling of the lower legs, ankles, or feet.
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