Mycophenolate is the active ingredient in two anti-rejection medications (CellCept and Myfortic). This medicine helps prevent the body from rejecting a transplanted kidney, heart, or liver by weakening the immune system, making it less likely to attack the new organ. It comes in many forms, including tablets, capsules, and an oral liquid suspension. Common side effects include pain, nausea, and constipation.
Although CellCept and Myfortic both contain forms of mycophenolate, they are not the same medication. The body handles these two forms of mycophenolate differently. In fact, the body breaks down mycophenolate mofetil and converts it into mycophenolate sodium.
Mycophenolate mofetil is approved to prevent organ rejection in people who have received a heart, kidney, or liver transplant, while mycophenolate sodium is only approved to prevent rejection in people who have received a kidney transplant. Both forms are used in combination with other medications.
Another difference is that mycophenolate sodium (Myfortic) comes as a specially coated, delayed-release tablet that bypasses the stomach and dissolves in the intestines. Mycophenolate mofetil is not delayed-release.
Mycophenolate sodium and mycophenolate mofetil are not interchangeable. Therefore, if you need to switch from one brand or type of mycophenolate to another, only do so under the supervision of your healthcare provider. If you happen to receive a mycophenolate product that looks unfamiliar to you, check with your pharmacist to make sure you received the correct drug.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Myfortic [package insert]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation;2010 October.
CellCept [package insert]. South San Francisco, CA: Genentech USA, Inc.;2010 February.
Mycophenolate mofetil capsules and tablets [package insert]. Pennington, NJ: Zydus Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.;2011 April.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed December 3, 2013.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed September 27, 2011.
National Library of Medicine (US). Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?HSDB. Accessed September 27, 2011.
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