How it works

Why have I been prescribed this medication?

Mycophenolate is used as an immunosuppressant therapy in several neurological conditions. It is often referred to as a steroid-sparing agent as it allows the dose of corticosteroids to be kept to a minimum and reduce their side effects.

How it works

Mycophenolate works to suppress the immune system. In autoimmune myasthenia, specific antibodies that block the acetylcholine receptor are produced and prevent communication between muscle and nerves cells. Mycophenolate targets the production of white blood cells called lymphocytes, which are responsible for producing antibodies. A reduction in antibodies allows normal communication between muscle and nerve cells to continue, and also lets muscle cells heal, improving muscle strength. You will have blood tests to monitor how your body is coping.

How it is delivered

Mycophenolate is delivered orally and prescribed based on body weight. The dose is usually 1-1.5 g twice daily. Mycophenolate is available as 250 mg and 500 mg capsules. If you miss a dose of mycophenolate, take it as soon as you can, but never at the same time you are due your next dose. I.e.: do not take two doses at the same time.

When you have it and how long you will be taking it

Mycophenolate is generally prescribed to be taken daily at regular intervals. The length of time you will be taking mycophenolate depends on the condition being treated. Do not stop taking your medication unless your neurologist tells you to.

Side effects

All medicines can cause unwanted side effects which usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine. You may not experience any side effects, but some common examples for Mycophenolate are:

  • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • Hair thinning or loss

Please check the patient information sheet supplied with your medication for a more detailed list of possible side effects. If any side effects disclosed concerns you, seek reassurance from your doctor or the team at myaware for more information. As mycophenolate can affect your immune system, it can make you prone to infections. Please contact your GP if you are in close contact with anyone who has chicken pox or shingles.

If you experience any of the known side effects of Mycophenolate, talk to your doctor. Often, these side effects can be reduced by starting on a lower dose of Mycophenolate and increasing this dose gradually over time.

Known UK suppliers

AAH Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Accord Healthcare Ltd, CST Pharma Ltd, DE Pharmaceuticals, Medihealth (Northern) Ltd, Phoenix Healthcare Distribution Ltd, Sigma Pharmaceuticals Plc, Tillomed Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

FAQ (what else do I need to know?)

  • Mycophenolate can cause birth defects and as such must not be taken by women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant. Men taking mycophenolate should use acceptable birth control during treatment and for at least 90 days after their last dose.
  • Do not take Mycophenolate when breastfeeding.
  • Immunosuppressant agents may increase the risk of infection, and it is important to notify your doctor if you develop persistent signs of infection.
  • Mycophenolate can interact with other medications. You should tell your neurologist and GP which medications you are taking before starting mycophenolate.
  • Antacids, if required, should be taken at least on hour before or at least two hours after taking mycophenolate as they interfere with medication absorption.
  • It is safe to drink alcohol in moderation whilst taking mycophenolate, though it may make nausea worse.
  • You should avoid having live vaccines, but most travel vaccines are okay. The flu vaccine and pneumovax are safe to have whilst on this medication.
  • Mycophenolate treatment can lead to an increase in the risk of developing skin cancer. If taking mycophenolate, please be vigilant when in the sun and wear protective clothing, use sunscreen, and seek shade where possible.
  • It has been found that Mycophenolate can be more effective when taken on an empty stomach, so if possible, try to take 2 hours before meals.

Report any side effect you have to the Medicines Health and Regulatory Authority (MHRA) as part of their Yellow Card Scheme.

Click here to report a side effect to the MHRA.