Common brand name: CellCept (sometimes referred to as RS or RS-61443)
Why is this drug prescribed?
- CellCept is an immunosuppressive medication that prevents organ rejection by interfering with the body’s normal immune response.
- It may be prescribed in combination with other immunosuppressive medications.
- The body’s immune system protects you from infection. Immune cells recognize the transplanted kidney as different from the rest of the body and attempt to destroy it; this is called rejection and is your body’s way of not accepting the new organ.
- After transplant surgery, you are prescribed immunosuppressive drugs to “fool” your immune system into thinking your new kidney is your own so it doesn’t try to attack it.
How and when should CellCept be taken?
- CellCept is available in capsule form. CellCept may be taken with water on an empty stomach or with food. Swallow the capsules whole; do not break, crush, chew or open the capsules before swallowing.
- CellCept is generally taken twice a day. Be sure to take the prescribed doses at the same time every day.
- Your prescription label tells you how much to take at each dose and how often to take it. Follow these instructions carefully and ask your pharmacist or doctor to explain any part that you do not understand.
- It is important that you take this medication regularly as prescribed; do not stop taking it. You will need to take immunosuppressant drugs every day for the rest of your life to prevent rejection.
- Your health care provider may reduce or even stop this medication when you are being treated for certain infections. This allows your body to effectively fight the infection.
What special instructions should I follow while using this drug?
- All of the prescribed amount of CellCept must be taken to maintain enough immunosuppression to prevent rejection. Follow your dosage schedule carefully.
- Be sure that you always have enough medication on hand. Check your supply before holidays or other occasions when you may be unable to fill your prescription.
- Tell your transplant doctor or coordinator if any other medication has been prescribed for you by another doctor. Other medications -- including oral contraceptives, antacids with aluminum or magnesium, or acyclovir -- affect the way CellCept works.
- Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory so that your response to the drug can be monitored.
- Do not have any vaccinations without your doctor’s approval.
- Take precautions to avoid infection while taking this medication.
What should I do if I forget to take a dose?
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember.
- If it has been more than three hours since your missed dose, call your transplant coordinator for advice.
- Taking your medication doses too close together can be harmful.
What are the side effects of this drug?
Precautions will be taken to detect these side effects and treat them before they become harmful.
Common side effects include:
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Constipation, gas
- Muscle or leg pain
- Dizziness, drowsiness, headache
- Tremors, sweating, flushing
- Insomnia (difficulty sleeping), mood changes
- Vision changes
- Decreased white blood cell or platelet counts
What storage conditions are necessary for this drug?
- Store this medication at room temperature. Do not freeze or expose to heat over 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If you are traveling, store your medication in an insulated container.
- Do not store this medication in direct heat or light.
- Do not store this medication in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause it to break down.
- Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly sealed.
- Store capsules in foil container until ready to use. Once opened, capsules need to be used within 7 days.
- Solution can be used for 60 days after opening.
- Do not use this medication after the expiration date on the bottle (about 2 years after it is manufactured).
- Keep it and other medications out of the reach of children.
When should I call my health care provider?
Call your health care provider right away if you have any of these warning signs of infection:
- Fever over 100°F(38°C)
- Sweats or chills
- Skin rash
- Pain, tenderness, redness or swelling
- Wound or cut that won’t heal
- Red, warm or draining sore
- Sore throat, scratchy throat or pain when swallowing
- Sinus drainage, nasal congestion, headaches or tenderness along upper cheekbones
- Persistent dry or moist cough that lasts more than two days
- White patches in your mouth or on your tongue
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Flu-like symptoms (chills, aches, headache or fatigue) or generally feeling “lousy”
- Trouble urinating: pain or burning, constant urge or frequent urination
- Bloody, cloudy or foul-smelling urine or black, tarry stools
Also contact your health care provider if you have any other symptoms that cause concern or if you have any questions.
For More Information
If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 216.444.6996. We will be happy to answer your questions.