Mycophenolate is potent and can be used in place of the older anti-proliferative azathioprine. It is usually used as part of a three compound regimen of immunosuppressants, also including a calcineurin inhibitor (cyclosporin or tacrolimus) and prednisolone.
An immunosuppressant that has drastically decreased the incidence of acute rejection in solid transplant recipients, mycophenolate is increasingly utilized as a steroid sparing treatment in immune-mediated disorders including immunoglobulin A nephropathy, small vessel vasculitides, and psoriasis.
Its increasing application in treating lupus nephritis has demonstrated more frequent complete response and less frequent complications compared to cyclophosphamide bolus therapy, a regimen with risk of bone marrow suppression, infertility, and malignancy. Further work addressing maintenance therapy demonstrated mycophenolate superior to cyclophosphamide, again in terms of response and side-effects. Walsh et al. even propose that mycophenolate should be considered as a first-line induction therapy for treatment of lupus nephritis in patients without renal dysfunction, suggesting that mycophenolate will be encountered more frequently in medical practice.
"Novartis and FDA informed healthcare professionals and patients that use of mycophenolic acid (Myfortic Delayed- Release Tablets) during pregnancy is associated with increased risks of pregnancy loss and congenital malformations. The pregnancy category for Myfortic has been changed to Category D (Positive evidence of fetal risk). This change is a result of postmarketing data from the United States National Transplantation Pregnancy Registry and additional postmarketing data collected in women exposed to systemic mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) during pregnancy. MMF is converted to the active ingredient in Myfortic, following oral or intravenous administration.
"A patient who is planning a pregnancy should not use Myfortic unless she cannot be successfully treated with other immunosuppressant drugs. Healthcare professionals should discuss the risks and benefits of Myfortic as well as alternative immunosuppressant therapy with the patient. Female patients of childbearing potential must receive contraceptive counseling and must use effective contraception while taking Myfortic. Myfortic is indicated for the prophylaxis of organ rejection in patients receiving allogeneic renal transplants, administered in combination with cyclosporine and corticosteroids".
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has added a list of warnings to the organ transplant drug stating that they can cause miscarriages and birth defects when used by pregnant women. In addition the FDA is investigating 16 patients that developed a rare neurological disease while taking the drug. The neurological condition known as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy attacks the brain and central nervous system and is usually fatal.
It is also currently being used as a long-term therapy for maintaining remission of C-ANCA positive (Wegener's) granulomatosis. A combination of mycophenolate and ribavirin has been found to stop infection by and replication of dengue virus in vitro.