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Cellcept

"Analysis of three biomarkers in the urine of kidney transplant recipients can diagnose — and even predict — transplant rejection, according to results from a clinical trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infect"...

CellCept

WARNINGS

(see BOXED WARNING)

Embryofetal Toxicity

Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant female. Use of MMF during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of first trimester pregnancy loss and an increased risk of congenital malformations, especially external ear and other facial abnormalities including cleft lip and palate, and anomalies of the distal limbs, heart, esophagus, and kidney (see PRECAUTIONS: Pregnancy).

Pregnancy Exposure Prevention and Planning

Females of reproductive potential must be made aware of the increased risk of first trimester pregnancy loss and congenital malformations and must be counseled regarding pregnancy prevention and planning. For recommended pregnancy testing and contraception methods (see PRECAUTIONS: Pregnancy Exposure Prevention and Planning).

Lymphoma and Malignancy

Patients receiving immunosuppressive regimens involving combinations of drugs, including CellCept, as part of an immunosuppressive regimen are at increased risk of developing lymphomas and other malignancies, particularly of the skin (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). The risk appears to be related to the intensity and duration of immunosuppression rather than to the use of any specific agent.

As usual for patients with increased risk for skin cancer, exposure to sunlight and UV light should be limited by wearing protective clothing and using a sunscreen with a high protection factor.

Lymphoproliferative disease or lymphoma developed in 0.4% to 1% of patients receiving CellCept (2 g or 3 g) with other immunosuppressive agents in controlled clinical trials of renal, cardiac, and hepatic transplant patients (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).

In pediatric patients, no other malignancies besides lymphoproliferative disorder (2/148 patients) have been observed (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).

Combination with Other Immunosuppressive Agents

CellCept has been administered in combination with the following agents in clinical trials: antithymocyte globulin (ATGAM®), OKT3 (Orthoclone OKT® 3), cyclosporine (Sandimmune®, Neoral®) and corticosteroids. The efficacy and safety of the use of CellCept in combination with other immunosuppressive agents have not been determined.

Serious Infections

Patients receiving immunosuppressants, including CellCept, are at increased risk of developing bacterial, fungal, protozoal and new or reactivated viral infections, including opportunistic infections. These infections may lead to serious, including fatal outcomes. Because of the danger of oversuppression of the immune system which can increase susceptibility to infection, combination immunosuppressant therapy should be used with caution (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).

New or Reactivated Viral Infections

Polyomavirus associated nephropathy (PVAN), JC virus associated progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections, reactivation of hepatitis B (HBV) or hepatitis C (HCV) have been reported in patients treated with immunosuppressants, including CellCept. Reduction in immunosuppression should be considered for patients who develop evidence of new or reactivated viral infections. Physicians should also consider the risk that reduced immunosuppression represents to the functioning allograft.

PVAN, especially due to BK virus infection, is associated with serious outcomes, including deteriorating renal function and renal graft loss (see ADVERSE REACTIONS: Postmarketing Experience). Patient monitoring may help detect patients at risk for PVAN.

PML, which is sometimes fatal, commonly presents with hemiparesis, apathy, confusion, cognitive deficiencies, and ataxia. Risk factors for PML include treatment with immunosuppressant therapies and impairment of immune function (see ADVERSE REACTIONS: Postmarketing Experience). In immunosuppressed patients, physicians should consider PML in the differential diagnosis in patients reporting neurological symptoms and consultation with a neurologist should be considered as clinically indicated.

The risk of CMV viremia and CMV disease is highest among transplant recipients seronegative for CMV at time of transplant who receive a graft from a CMV seropositive donor. Therapeutic approaches to limiting CMV disease exist and should be routinely provided. Patient monitoring may help detect patients at risk for CMV disease.

Viral reactivation has been reported in patients infected with HBV or HCV. Monitoring infected patients for clinical and laboratory signs of active HBV or HCV infection is recommended.

Neutropenia

Severe neutropenia [absolute neutrophil count (ANC) < 0.5 x 103/μL] developed in up to 2.0% of renal, up to 2.8% of cardiac, and up to 3.6% of hepatic transplant patients receiving CellCept 3 g daily (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). Patients receiving CellCept should be monitored for neutropenia (see PRECAUTIONS: Laboratory Tests). The development of neutropenia may be related to CellCept itself, concomitant medications, viral infections, or some combination of these causes. If neutropenia develops (ANC < 1.3 x 103/μL), dosing with CellCept should be interrupted or the dose reduced, appropriate diagnostic tests performed, and the patient managed appropriately (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). Neutropenia has been observed most frequently in the period from 31 to 180 days posttransplant in patients treated for prevention of renal, cardiac, and hepatic rejection.

Patients receiving CellCept should be instructed to report immediately any evidence of infection, unexpected bruising, bleeding or any other manifestation of bone marrow depression.

Pure Red Cell Aplasia (PRCA)

Cases of pure red cell aplasia (PRCA) have been reported in patients treated with CellCept in combination with other immunosuppressive agents. The mechanism for mycophenolate mofetil induced PRCA is unknown; the relative contribution of other immunosuppressants and their combinations in an immunosuppression regimen are also unknown. In some cases, PRCA was found to be reversible with dose reduction or cessation of CellCept therapy. In transplant patients, however, reduced immunosuppression may place the graft at risk.

CAUTION: CELLCEPT INTRAVENOUS SOLUTION SHOULD NEVER BE ADMINISTERED BY RAPID OR BOLUS INTRAVENOUS INJECTION.

PRECAUTIONS

Pregnancy Exposure Prevention and Planning

Females of reproductive potential must be made aware of the increased risk of first trimester pregnancy loss and congenital malformations and must be counseled regarding pregnancy prevention and planning.

Females of reproductive potential include girls who have entered puberty and all women who have a uterus and have not passed through menopause. Menopause is the permanent end of menstruation and fertility. Menopause should be clinically confirmed by a patient's healthcare practitioner. Some commonly used diagnostic criteria include 1) 12 months of spontaneous amenorrhea (not amenorrhea induced by a medical condition or medical therapy) or 2) postsurgical from a bilateral oophorectomy.

Pregnancy Testing

To prevent unplanned exposure during pregnancy, females of reproductive potential should have a serum or urine pregnancy test with a sensitivity of at least 25 mIU/mL immediately before starting CellCept. Another pregnancy test with the same sensitivity should be done 8 to 10 days later. Repeat pregnancy tests should be performed during routine follow-up visits. Results of all pregnancy tests should be discussed with the patient.

In the event of a positive pregnancy test, females should be counseled with regard to whether the maternal benefits of mycophenolate treatment may outweigh the risks to the fetus in certain situations.

Contraception

Females of reproductive potential taking CellCept must receive contraceptive counseling and use acceptable contraception (see Table 8 for acceptable contraception methods). Patients must use acceptable birth control during entire CellCept therapy, and for 6 weeks after stopping CellCept, unless the patient chooses abstinence (she chooses to avoid heterosexual intercourse completely).

Patients should be aware that CellCept reduces blood levels of the hormones in the oral contraceptive pill and could theoretically reduce its effectiveness (see PATIENT INFORMATION and PRECAUTIONS: DRUG INTERACTIONS: Oral Contraceptives).

Table 8: Acceptable Contraception Methods for Females of Reproductive Potential
Pick from the following birth control options:

Option 1 Methods to Use Alone
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  • Tubal sterilization
  • Patient's partner had a vasectomy
OR      
Option 2 Hormone Methods choose 1   Barrier Methods choose 1
Choose One Hormone Method AND One Barrier

Estrogen and Progesterone

  • Oral Contraceptive Pill
  • Transdermal patch
 
  • Diaphragm with spermicide
  • Cervical cap with spermicide
Method
  • Vaginal ring
AND
  • Contraceptive sponge
  • Male condom
  • Female condom
 

Progesterone-only

  • Injection
  • Implant
OR      
Option 3 Barrier Methods choose 1   Barrier Methods choose 1
Choose One Barrier Method from each column (must choose two methods)
  • Diaphragm with spermicide
  • Cervical cap with spermicide
  • Contraceptive sponge
AND
  • Male condom
  • Female condom

Pregnancy Planning

For patients who are considering pregnancy, consider alternative immunosuppressants with less potential for embryofetal toxicity. Risks and benefits of CellCept should be discussed with the patient.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Gastrointestinal bleeding (requiring hospitalization) has been observed in approximately 3% of renal, in 1.7% of cardiac, and in 5.4% of hepatic transplant patients treated with CellCept 3 g daily. In pediatric renal transplant patients, 5/148 cases of gastrointestinal bleeding (requiring hospitalization) were observed.

Gastrointestinal perforations have rarely been observed. Most patients receiving CellCept were also receiving other drugs known to be associated with these complications. Patients with active peptic ulcer disease were excluded from enrollment in studies with mycophenolate mofetil. Because CellCept has been associated with an increased incidence of digestive system adverse events, including infrequent cases of gastrointestinal tract ulceration, hemorrhage, and perforation, CellCept should be administered with caution in patients with active serious digestive system disease.

Patients with Renal Impairment

Subjects with severe chronic renal impairment (GFR < 25 mL/min/1.73 m²) who have received single doses of CellCept showed higher plasma MPA and MPAG AUCs relative to subjects with lesser degrees of renal impairment or normal healthy volunteers. No data are available on the safety of long-term exposure to these levels of MPAG. Doses of CellCept greater than 1 g administered twice a day to renal transplant patients should be avoided and they should be carefully observed (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Pharmacokinetics and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

No data are available for cardiac or hepatic transplant patients with severe chronic renal impairment. CellCept may be used for cardiac or hepatic transplant patients with severe chronic renal impairment if the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks.

In patients with delayed renal graft function posttransplant, mean MPA AUC(0-12h) was comparable, but MPAG AUC(0-12h) was 2-fold to 3-fold higher, compared to that seen in posttransplant patients without delayed renal graft function. In the three controlled studies of prevention of renal rejection, there were 298 of 1483 patients (20%) with delayed graft function. Although patients with delayed graft function have a higher incidence of certain adverse events (anemia, thrombocytopenia, hyperkalemia) than patients without delayed graft function, these events were not more frequent in patients receiving CellCept than azathioprine or placebo. No dose adjustment is recommended for these patients; however, they should be carefully observed (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Pharmacokinetics and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Infections in Cardiac Transplant Patients

In cardiac transplant patients, the overall incidence of opportunistic infections was approximately 10% higher in patients treated with CellCept than in those receiving azathioprine therapy, but this difference was not associated with excess mortality due to infection/sepsis among patients treated with CellCept (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).

There were more herpes virus (H. simplex, H. zoster, and cytomegalovirus) infections in cardiac transplant patients treated with CellCept compared to those treated with azathioprine (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).

Concomitant Medications

It is recommended that CellCept not be administered concomitantly with azathioprine because both have the potential to cause bone marrow suppression and such concomitant administration has not been studied clinically.

In view of the significant reduction in the AUC of MPA by cholestyramine, caution should be used in the concomitant administration of CellCept with drugs that interfere with enterohepatic recirculation because of the potential to reduce the efficacy of CellCept (see PRECAUTIONS: DRUG INTERACTIONS).

Patients with HGPRT Deficiency

On theoretical grounds, because CellCept is an IMPDH (inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase) inhibitor, it should be avoided in patients with rare hereditary deficiency of hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyl-transferase (HGPRT) such as Lesch-Nyhan and Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome.

Immunizations

During treatment with CellCept, the use of live attenuated vaccines should be avoided and patients should be advised that vaccinations may be less effective (see PRECAUTIONS: DRUG INTERACTIONS: Live Vaccines).

Phenylketonurics

CellCept Oral Suspension contains aspartame, a source of phenylalanine (0.56 mg phenylalanine/mL suspension). Therefore, care should be taken if CellCept Oral Suspension is administered to patients with phenylketonuria.

Information for Patients

See Medication Guide

  • Inform females of reproductive potential that use of CellCept during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of first trimester pregnancy loss and an increased risk of congenital malformations, and advise them as to the appropriate steps to manage these risks, including that they must use acceptable contraception (see WARNINGS: Embryofetal Toxicity, PRECAUTIONS: Pregnancy Exposure Prevention and Planning).
  • Discuss pregnancy testing, pregnancy prevention and planning with females of reproductive potential. In the event of a positive pregnancy test, females should be counseled with regard to whether the maternal benefits of mycophenolate treatment may outweigh the risks to the fetus in certain situations.
  • Females of reproductive potential must use acceptable birth control during entire CellCept therapy and for 6 weeks after stopping CellCept, unless the patient chooses to avoid heterosexual intercourse completely (abstinence) (see PRECAUTIONS: Pregnancy Exposure Prevention and Planning, Table 8).
  • For patients who are considering pregnancy, discuss appropriate alternative immunosuppressants with less potential for embryofetal toxicity. Risks and benefits of CellCept should be discussed with the patient.
  • Give patients complete dosage instructions and inform them about the increased risk of lymphoproliferative disease and certain other malignancies.
  • Inform patients that they need repeated appropriate laboratory tests while they are taking CellCept.
  • Advise patients that they should not breastfeed during CellCept therapy.

Laboratory Tests

Complete blood counts should be performed weekly during the first month, twice monthly for the second and third months of treatment, then monthly through the first year (see WARNINGS, ADVERSE REACTIONS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

In a 104-week oral carcinogenicity study in mice, mycophenolate mofetil in daily doses up to 180 mg/kg was not tumorigenic. The highest dose tested was 0.5 times the recommended clinical dose (2 g/day) in renal transplant patients and 0.3 times the recommended clinical dose (3 g/day) in cardiac transplant patients when corrected for differences in body surface area (BSA). In a 104-week oral carcinogenicity study in rats, mycophenolate mofetil in daily doses up to 15 mg/kg was not tumorigenic. The highest dose was 0.08 times the recommended clinical dose in renal transplant patients and 0.05 times the recommended clinical dose in cardiac transplant patients when corrected for BSA. While these animal doses were lower than those given to patients, they were maximal in those species and were considered adequate to evaluate the potential for human risk (see WARNINGS).

The genotoxic potential of mycophenolate mofetil was determined in five assays. Mycophenolate mofetil was genotoxic in the mouse lymphoma/thymidine kinase assay and the in vivo mouse micronucleus assay. Mycophenolate mofetil was not genotoxic in the bacterial mutation assay, the yeast mitotic gene conversion assay or the Chinese hamster ovary cell chromosomal aberration assay.

Mycophenolate mofetil had no effect on fertility of male rats at oral doses up to 20 mg/kg/day. This dose represents 0.1 times the recommended clinical dose in renal transplant patients and 0.07 times the recommended clinical dose in cardiac transplant patients when corrected for BSA. In a female fertility and reproduction study conducted in rats, oral doses of 4.5 mg/kg/day caused malformations (principally of the head and eyes) in the first generation offspring in the absence of maternal toxicity. This dose was 0.02 times the recommended clinical dose in renal transplant patients and 0.01 times the recommended clinical dose in cardiac transplant patients when corrected for BSA. No effects on fertility or reproductive parameters were evident in the dams or in the subsequent generation.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category D

See WARNINGS section.

Use of MMF during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of first trimester pregnancy loss and an increased risk of congenital malformations, especially external ear and other facial abnormalities including cleft lip and palate, and anomalies of the distal limbs, heart, esophagus, and kidney. In animal studies, congenital malformations and pregnancy loss occurred when pregnant rats and rabbits received mycophenolic acid at dose multiples similar to and less than clinical doses. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.

Risks and benefits of CellCept should be discussed with the patient. When appropriate, consider alternative immunosuppressants with less potential for embryofetal toxicity. In certain situations, the patient and her healthcare practitioner may decide that the maternal benefits outweigh the risks to the fetus. For those females using CellCept at any time during pregnancy and those becoming pregnant within 6 weeks of discontinuing therapy, the healthcare practitioner should report the pregnancy to the Mycophenolate Pregnancy Registry (1-800-617-8191). The healthcare practitioner should strongly encourage the patient to enroll in the pregnancy registry. The information provided to the registry will help the healthcare community better understand the effects of mycophenolate in pregnancy.

In the National Transplantation Pregnancy Registry (NTPR), there were data on 33 MMF-exposed pregnancies in 24 transplant patients; there were 15 spontaneous abortions (45%) and 18 live-born infants. Four of these 18 infants had structural malformations (22%). In postmarketing data (collected 1995-2007) on 77 females exposed to systemic MMF during pregnancy, 25 had spontaneous abortions and 14 had a malformed infant or fetus. Six of 14 malformed offspring had ear abnormalities. Because these postmarketing data are reported voluntarily, it is not always possible to reliably estimate the frequency of particular adverse outcomes. These malformations are similar to findings in animal reproductive toxicology studies. For comparison, the background rate for congenital anomalies in the United States is about 3%, and NTPR data show a rate of 4-5% among babies born to organ transplant patients using other immunosuppressive drugs.

In animal reproductive toxicology studies, there were increased rates of fetal resorptions and malformations in the absence of maternal toxicity. Female rats and rabbits received mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) doses equivalent to 0.02 to 0.9 times the recommended human dose for renal and cardiac transplant patients, based on body surface area conversions. In rat offspring, malformations included anophthalmia, agnathia, and hydrocephaly. In rabbit offspring, malformations included ectopia cordis, ectopic kidneys, diaphragmatic hernia, and umbilical hernia.

Nursing Mothers

Studies in rats treated with mycophenolate mofetil have shown mycophenolic acid to be excreted in milk. It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from mycophenolate mofetil, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Pediatric Use

Based on pharmacokinetic and safety data in pediatric patients after renal transplantation, the recommended dose of CellCept oral suspension is 600 mg/m² bid (up to a maximum of 1 g bid). Also see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Clinical Studies, ADVERSE REACTIONS, and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.

Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients receiving allogeneic cardiac or hepatic transplants have not been established.

Geriatric Use

Clinical studies of CellCept did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal or cardiac function and of concomitant or other drug therapy. Elderly patients may be at an increased risk of adverse reactions compared with younger individuals (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).

Last reviewed on RxList: 10/17/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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