CellCept is the brand name of the prescription drug mycophenolate mofetil, used to prevent organ rejection in people who’ve had a kidney, heart, or liver transplant.
The medicine is usually given along with other drugs.
It’s sometimes also used to treat Crohn’s disease (a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the digestive tract).
CellCept is an immunosuppressant. It works by weakening the body’s immune system so that it won’t attack a transplanted organ.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved CellCept in 1995. It’s manufactured by Genentech,
CellCept contains a black box warning because it may increase your risk of developing an infection, or reduce your body’s ability to fight serious infections.
Alert your doctor before taking CellCept if you have any type of infection. Avoid being around people who are sick while you’re taking CellCept, and wash your hands often.
Tell your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms while taking CellCept:
- Fever, sore throat, chills, or cough
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
- Pain or burning while urinating
- Frequent urination
- Drainage from a skin wound
- A wound that won’t heal
- Weakness or extreme fatigue
- Feeling like you have the flu or a cold
- White patches in the mouth or throat
- Cold sores
- Headache or earache
CellCept may cause you to develop a number of infections, including shingles, cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes, blood infections, BK virus, hepatitis B or C, and others.
It can also increase your risk of developing a serious and sometimes life-threatening infection of the brain known as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).
Before taking CellCept, tell your doctor if you have, or have ever had:
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- Sarcoidosis (a condition that causes inflammation and swelling of the lungs and other parts of the body)
- Leukemia or lymphoma
- Any other condition that affects your immune system
Pregnancy and CellCept
CellCept contains a black-box warning because it may increase the risk of birth defects or miscarriage in pregnant women.
Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant shouldn’t take this medicine.
If you’re a woman of childbearing age, you must use two forms of effective birth control for four weeks before starting on CellCept, as well as throughout the duration of your treatment, and for six weeks after you stop taking the medicine.
CellCept may reduce the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives, which is why it’s important to use two forms of birth control.
Tell your doctor immediately if you miss your menstrual period while taking CellCept.
It’s not known whether CellCept passes into breast milk or could harm a breastfeeding baby. Don’t breastfeed while taking this drug without first talking to your doctor.
Common Side Effects of CellCept
Tell your doctor if any of the following side effects become severe or don’t go away:
- Stomach pain or swelling
- Difficulty sleeping
- Pain in your back, muscles, or joints
- Uncontrollable shaking
Serious Side Effects of CellCept
Tell your doctor right away if you experience any of the symptoms listed in the CellCept Warnings section above, or any of the following serious side effects:
- Swelling of the hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Itching or rash
- Fast heartbeat
- Lack of energy
- Black, tarry, or bloody stools
- Bloody vomit, or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- Pale skin
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes