Why did my healthcare provider prescribe CellCept?
When you receive a transplant, your body's defense system (the immune system) may respond to the new organ as a foreign intruder, like a cold germ, and try to get rid of it, or reject it. To help prevent this from happening, your healthcare provider prescribes anti-rejection medicines. CellCept, one of these medicines, is taken with other anti-rejection drugs.
CellCept is a medicine given to people who have received kidney, heart or liver transplants to help prevent rejection of their new
organ(s). Anti-rejection medicines like CellCept are sometimes called immunosuppressants because they are intended to help limit the response of the body's immune system. Most transplant patients are prescribed several different anti-rejection medicines to take at the same time. Please contact your healthcare provider if you have questions about any of the medicines you are taking.
What important safety information do I need to know?
Females who take CellCept during pregnancy have a higher risk of miscarriage during the first 3 months (first trimester), and a higher risk that their baby will be born with birth defects. Your doctor must talk with you about pregnancy testing and acceptable birth control methods to use while taking CellCept.
CellCept weakens the body's immune system and affects your ability to fight infections. Serious infections can happen with CellCept and can lead to death. These include certain viral, brain and fungal infections.
People who take CellCept have a higher risk of getting lymphoma, and other cancers, especially skin cancer.
Talk with your doctor right away if you have any signs of infection such as fever, tiredness, headache, redness of skin/wound or swollen lymph glands. Tell your doctor about any changes in your skin.
Can I take CellCept with my other medicines?
You may also need to take other prescription medicines because of your transplant, or due to another health condition. It's important that you take your medicines according to your healthcare provider's directions. Take only the medicines prescribed for you. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you are taking including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Some medicines may affect the way CellCept works, and CellCept may affect how some medicines work. Check with your healthcare provider before taking any new medicine—even ones prescribed by physicians outside your transplant team, or ordinary medicines you can buy without a prescription.
How do I take CellCept?
You may have already been given your first dose of CellCept intravenously (IV) or in tablet or capsule form, soon after surgery (within 3 days). CellCept comes in 250 mg blue and brown capsules, and 500 mg lavender tablets. CellCept tablets should not be crushed and capsules should not be opened or crushed. Some patients may receive CellCept in a liquid suspension.
Most patients should take CellCept on an empty stomach. However, some stable kidney transplant recipients may be able to take CellCept with food. Talk with your healthcare provider.
Your healthcare provider will also tell you how many tablets or capsules you should take, and help your figure out the best time to take them based on your schedule and daily activities. Instructions will be written on the medicine label. Be sure to read it carefully, and ask your healthcare provider to explain anything you don't understand.
What if I forget or skip a dose?
If you miss a dose of CellCept, or are not sure when you took your last dose, take the regular amount of CellCept prescribed as soon as you remember. If it is time for your next dose, skip the missed dose. Do not take 2 doses at the same time. Call your healthcare provider if you are not sure what to do.
Take only the amount prescribed for you and call your healthcare provider. Using a medicine dispensing box can help you determine if you've missed a dose. Also, do not stop your medicine or change the dosage without consulting your healthcare provider.
You will be taking other medicines along with CellCept, and you should follow your healthcare provider's instructions on how and when to take them. It's a good idea to plan out your daily medicine schedule on a piece of paper and review it with your healthcare provider. A medicine schedule will help you easily keep track of your therapy.
Take your medicine as your healthcare provider has prescribed. Don't skip doses—even if you are feeling fine.
How should I store my medicine?
Store CellCept capsules and tablets at room temperature, between 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C). Keep the container closed tightly. Store the prepared CellCept Oral Suspension at room temperature, between 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C), for up to 60 days. You can also store CellCept Oral Suspension in the refrigerator at 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). Do not freeze CellCept Oral Suspension.
Keep CellCept and all medicines out of the reach of children.
Who should not take CellCept?
You should not use CellCept and all forms of mycophenolic acid if you have ever had an allergic reaction to CellCept or any of its ingredients. Please discuss this with your doctor.
What additional information should I know about CellCept?
People taking high doses of CellCept each day may have a decrease in blood counts, including white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Your doctor will do blood tests before you start taking CellCept and during therapy with CellCept to check your blood cell counts. Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of infection, or any unexpected bruising or bleeding, unusual tiredness, lack of energy, dizziness or fainting.
Cases of bleeding in the stomach or intestines that required hospitalization have been reported. Early signs of bleeding may include stomach pain, blood in your stool, or dark, sticky stools. Tell your doctor if you have any digestive problems, such as ulcers.
People taking CellCept should not take live vaccines. Some vaccines may not work as well during treatment with CellCept.
What health checks or laboratory tests do I need?
Following your transplant, you'll need to monitor your health daily and have regular checkups. You should report even small changes in your health to your healthcare provider immediately. In addition, having regular laboratory tests is an important part of taking anti-rejection medicines. Blood tests should be performed on a regular basis for as long as you are taking CellCept. A member of your transplant team will set up a schedule for you to follow.
What side effects may occur?
The most common side effects include diarrhea, vomiting, pain, stomach area pain, swelling of the lower legs, ankles and feet, and high blood pressure. Be sure to call your healthcare provider right away if you have diarrhea.
Side effects that happen more often in children than adults include stomach area pain, fever, infection, pain, blood infection, diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat, colds (respiratory tract infections), high blood pressure, and low white and red blood cell counts.
These are not all of the possible side effects of CellCept. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
What if I'm a woman of childbearing age?
If you are a female who can become pregnant your doctor must talk with you about acceptable birth control methods (contraceptive counseling) to use while taking CellCept.
You should have one pregnancy test immmediately before starting CellCept and another pregnancy test 8 to 10 days later. Pregnancy tests should be repeated during routine follow-up visits with your doctor. Talk to your doctor about the results of all of your pregnancy tests.
You must use acceptable birth control during your entire CellCept therapy and for 6 weeks after stopping CellCept, unless at any time you choose to avoid sexual intercourse (abstinence) with a man completely. CellCept decreases blood levels of the hormones in birth control pills that you take by mouth. Birth control pills may not work as well while you take CellCept, and you could become pregnant. If you take birth control pills while using CellCept you must also use another form of birth control. Talk to your doctor about other birth control methods that you can use while taking CellCept.
If you plan to become pregnant, talk with your doctor. Your doctor will decide if other medicines to prevent rejection may be right for you. If you become pregnant while taking CellCept, do not stop taking CellCept. Call your doctor right away. In certain situations, you and your doctor may decide that taking CellCept is more important to your health than the possible risks to your unborn
baby. You and your doctor should report your pregnancy to: Mycophenolate Pregnancy Registry (1-800-617-8191). The purpose of this registry is to gather information about the health of you and your baby.
How long will I need to take CellCept?
Just as you will always need regular medical checkups to monitor your health, most transplant recipients take anti-rejection medicines for the rest of their lives. Of course, every patient is different, and only your healthcare provider can determine what is right for you. Your healthcare provider may change the dose of your medicines, or add or drop medicines based on how well the medicines are working or if you experience side effects. Your transplant coordinator and pharmacist will help you learn about your medicines and what side effects to watch for.
How can I get the most out of my treatment with CellCept?
CellCept is part of an overall treatment program following transplantation. Follow your transplant team's recommendations regarding all medicines, your diet and exercise. Be sure to keep your follow-up appointments and keep on top of your health. While this site provides important information about CellCept, it does not contain all information about this medicine.
Be sure to consult your transplant team if you have any questions regarding your condition or treatment.
How do I know if I'm getting CellCept?
If your doctor decides that brand name CellCept is right for you, it's important that you Be in the Know so you can help ensure that you receive CellCept every month.