Mycophenolate Information Sheet This information sheet answers some common questions patients ask about mycophenolate. Further information can be found in the information leaflet supplied by the manufacturer or from your specialist nurse, pharmacist or doctor. 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 Does It Work? Mycophenolate belongs to a group of medicines called immunosuppressants. Your immune system helps to protect you against infections. However, sometimes it can over react or react abnormally and cause illness. Mycophenolate helps to reduce or suppress the production of antibodies by 'damping down' the activity of the body's immune system. What Dose Do I Take The dose of mycophenolate is usually 1-1.5g twice a day. How Do I Take It? Mycophenolate is available as 250mg and 500mg capsules. You should always take the medicine as directed by your neurologist. You should always read the manufacturers information leaflet as well as this one, if possible. There may be additional information there that you could find useful. You should take mycophenolate with food to help prevent stomach problems such as nausea and abdominal pain. Never take more than the dose prescribed by your neurologist or GP. If you or someone else has taken an overdose of mycophenolate, contact your GP or go to the nearest A&E department immediately, taking the medication container with you. How Long Will I Be Taking It? 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, even if you feel well. Does mycophenolate interfere with my other medications? 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 one hour before or at least two hours after taking mycophenolate as they interfere with the absorption of mycohenolate. Oral management may reduce absorption Always check with your GP or pharmacist first before starting any new medication whilst you are taking mycophenolate It is safe to drink alcohol in moderation whilst taking mycophenolate, but it may make nausea worse. You should avoid having live vaccines but most travel vaccinations are OK. The flu vaccine and pneumovax are safe. Can Taking Mycophenolate Cause Any Side Effects? All medications can cause unwanted side effects which usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine. During the early weeks of treatment, mycophenolate may cause the following side effects: General feeling of being unwell, including dizziness and generalised aches and pains Stomach upsets such as feeling or being sick and diarrhoea Skin rashes Hair loss As mycophenolate affects your immune system, it can make you prone to infections. It can also cause problems with blood clotting. If you feel generally unwell or develop unexplained bruising, bleeding, sore throat, fever (high temperature) or malaise (lacking in energy) contact your GP. Also, if you are in close contact with anyone who has chicken pox or shingles, contact your GP. Mycophenolate can cause a fall in the production of some cells in the bone marrow. These are the white cells (which fight infection) or platelets (which stop bleeding and bruising). This can make you more prone to infections, or cause problems with clotting of your blood and wound healing. You will be having blood tests to monitor how your body is coping. These changes are rarely serious provided they are picked up early with blood monitoring. Please report unexplained bleeding, bruising and blood in the urine, sore throat, fever or malaise to your GP. Mycophenolate may increase the risk of certain types of cancer Do I Need Any Special Checks Whilst on Mycophenolate? As mentioned above, mycophenolate can affect your immune system and other blood cells. Although these effects on the blood are rare, it is important that you have regular blood tests to check for early signs of changing in the blood. Your neurologist will tell you how often the blood tests need to be carried out. The blood tests can be done at your local surgery. It is important that you ask your GP whether the results are satisfactory to allow you to continue on mycophenolate. It is advisable to request a copy of the reports and bring them along to clinic appointments for review. You should also show your results information to your dentist if you are having any dental treatment and to your pharmacist when you collect any prescribed medications. What Happens If I Forget To Take a Dose? Take it as soon as your remember then continue to take it at a usual time. Do not double the dose. Is mycophenolate OK with Pregnancy and Breastfeeding? It is not safe to take mycophenolate during pregnancy. It is essential for women of child bearing potential to use a reliable form of contraception during treatment and for at least six weeks after mycophenolate is stopped as it can damage the developing foetus. If you are planning to start a family it is essential you discuss this with your neurologist. The safety of mycophenolate when breastfeeding is unknown. You can find out more about myasthenia and pregnancy here. Keep all medications out of the reach of children Never give any medication prescribed to you to anyone else. It may harm them even if their symptoms are the same as yours.