What is Mycophenolate Mofetil?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Mycophenolate mofetil is a medication a doctor may prescribe to prevent rejection of a donor organ or to treat severe autoimmune disease. This medication is in a class of drugs known as immunosuppressants, working by limiting the activities of the patient's immune system. Such drugs can be very dangerous, as they will prevent the body from fighting infections, and patients must exercise care while taking medications like mycophenolate mofetil. A doctor may request regular follow-up appointments to check for complications like infections in order to provide treatment early.


In organ transplants, the body will recognize a donor organ as something that does not belong, and start attacking it. This results in inflammation and eventual rejection, where the organ will stop working and the patient will die or become very ill. Immunosuppressant drugs for organ transplant must be taken for life to keep the immune system's activity low, preventing rejection of the organ. Patients can take mycophenolate mofetil orally, and a doctor can also provide an intravenous injection.

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body mistakenly identifies its own tissue as dangerous. It sends out immune cells to break the tissue down just like it would with an infectious organism. This can cause problems ranging from rashes to severe joint disorders. Doctors can use a variety of measures to treat such conditions, and may eventually turn to a drug like mycophenolate mofetil to suppress the immune system so it will stop attacking. This can allow the body to recover from the inflammation.

Patients should be careful with taking doses of this medication. It needs to be taken on an empty stomach and may conflict with some other medications and dietary supplements. It is also important to take doses consistently. Patients who miss a dose should make it up, unless they are close to the time of the next scheduled dose.

This medication is extremely dangerous for pregnant women. It can cause pregnancy loss or birth defects. If a patient becomes pregnant while taking it, she should discuss the situation with her obstetrician to get medical advice. The medication also causes anemia and increased susceptibility to infections. Patients who notice signs of infection like nausea, chills, fever, vomiting, and sweating should seek treatment immediately.

Also known by the brand name CellCeptĀ®, this medication can cause a severe allergic reaction. If a patient is allergic to mycophenolate mofetil, he can experience rashes, difficulty breathing, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. These reactions usually onset shortly after taking a dose.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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