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Generic Name: mycophenolate mofetil (oral/injection) (MYE koe FEN oh late MOE fe til)
Brand Names: CellCept, Myfortic, MMF

Medically reviewed by Kaci Durbin, MD Last updated on Feb 18, 2019.

What is CellCept?

CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil) weakens your body's immune system, to help keep it from "rejecting" a transplanted organ such as a kidney. Organ rejection happens when the immune system treats the new organ as an invader and attacks it.

CellCept is used with other medicines to prevent organ rejection after a kidney, liver, or heart transplant.

CellCept is usually given with cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral) and a steroid medication. It can be given by mouth or as an injection.

Important Information

CellCept can cause a miscarriage or birth defects when used during pregnancy. Women using mycophenolate mofetil should use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy. However, if no safer options are available, CellCept is sometimes given to pregnant women.

CellCept may cause your body to overproduce white blood cells. This can lead to cancer or a severe brain infection causing disability or death. CellCept can also make you more likely to develop severe bacterial, viral, fungal, or protozoal infections.

Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as: fever, swollen glands, night sweats, weight loss, vomiting or diarrhea, burning when you urinate, a new skin lesion, any change in your mental state, weakness on one side of your body, problems with speech or vision, or tenderness near your transplanted kidney.

Do not open the CellCept capsule or crush or chew a tablet. Do not use a pill that has been accidentally broken. The medicine from a crushed or broken pill can be dangerous if it gets in your eyes, mouth, or nose, or on your skin.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use CellCept if you are allergic to mycophenolate mofetil, mycophenolic acid (Myfortic), or to an ingredient called Polysorbate 80.

Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medicine. Mycophenolate mofetil can affect your immune system, and may cause overproduction of certain white blood cells. This can lead to cancer, severe brain infection causing disability or death, viral infections causing kidney transplant failure, or other serious infections.

To make sure CellCept is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • a stomach ulcer or problems with digestion;

  • hepatitis B or C;

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • phenylketonuria or PKU (the liquid form of this medicine may contain phenylalanine); or

  • a rare inherited enzyme deficiency such as Lesch-Nyhan syndrome or Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome.

CellCept can cause a miscarriage or birth defects when used during pregnancy. You will need to have a negative pregnancy test before and during treatment with this medicine. If you are able to get pregnant, you must use specific forms of birth control to prevent pregnancy while using mycophenolate mofetil, and for at least 6 weeks after your last dose. Do not use birth control pills alone as this medicine can make birth control pills less effective. Follow all patient instructions about using effective non-hormonal forms of birth control. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.

You are considered able to get pregnant (even if you are not sexually active) from the age of puberty until you have been in menopause for at least 12 months in a row.

If you are a man, use effective birth control if your sex partner is able to get pregnant. CellCept is present in semen and can also harm an unborn baby if the father is using this medicine. Keep using birth control for at least 90 days after your last dose.

If a pregnancy occurs during treatment, do not stop using CellCept. Call your doctor for instructions. Also call the Mycophenolate Pregnancy Registry (1-800-617-8191).

You should not breast-feed while using CellCept.

How should I use CellCept?

Use CellCept exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

You must remain under the care of a doctor while you are using this medicine.

CellCept injection is given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Take the oral medication on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal. Swallow the tablet or capsule whole and do not crush, chew, break, or open it.

Shake the oral suspension (liquid) before you measure a dose. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand these instructions.

Mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept) and mycophenolic acid (Myfortic) are not absorbed equally in the body. Your dose needs may change if you switch to a different brand, strength, or form of this medicine. Avoid medication errors by using only the form and strength your doctor prescribes.

While using CellCept, you may need frequent blood tests.

If you've ever had hepatitis B or C, using CellCept can cause this virus to become active or get worse. You may need frequent liver function tests while using CellCept and for several months after you stop.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use. Throw away any unused liquid that is older than 60 days.

CellCept liquid medicine may also be stored in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.

Follow all handling and disposal procedures given to you. Avoid inhaling or direct contact of the skin and mucus membranes (mouth, nose) with the powder in CellCept capsules.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using CellCept? An overdose can lead to dangerously low white blood cell levels or cause stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

You must not donate blood or sperm while using CellCept, and for at least 6 weeks (for blood) or 90 days (for sperm) after your last dose.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using mycophenolate mofetil. The vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), polio, rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), and zoster (shingles).

CellCept can make you sunburn more easily. Avoid sunlight or tanning beds. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.

CellCept side effects

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

CellCept can affect your immune system, and may cause certain white blood cells to grow out of control. Call your doctor right away if you have:

  • fever, swollen glands, painful mouth sores, cold or flu symptoms, headache, ear pain;

  • stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss;

  • weakness on one side of your body, loss of muscle control;

  • confusion, thinking problems, loss of interest in things that normally interest you;

  • pain or burning when you urinate;

  • tenderness around the transplanted kidney;

  • swelling, warmth, redness, or oozing around a skin wound; or

  • a new skin lesion, or a mole that has changed in size or color.

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

  • bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;

  • easy bruising, nosebleeds, gum bleeding or other unusual bleeding;

  • signs of increased blood pressure such as severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears, anxiety, nosebleed; or

  • signs of low blood cell counts including fever, chills, tiredness, flu-like symptoms, mouth sores, skin sores, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, pale skin, cold hands and feet, feeling light-headed or short of breath.

Common CellCept side effects may include:

  • stomach discomfort, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation;

  • swelling in your ankles or feet;

  • rash;

  • headache, dizziness, tremors;

  • fever, sore throat, or other signs of infections;

  • low blood cell counts; or

  • increased blood pressure or heart rate.

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.

What other drugs will affect CellCept?

Avoid taking an antacid at the same time. If you also take sevelamer, take it at least 2 hours after you take oral CellCept.

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines. Many drugs can interact with CellCept, especially:

This list is not complete and many other drugs may affect CellCept. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use CellCept only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.