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Mycophenolic Acid Blood Test

Last updated July 15, 2019

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

A Mycophenolic Acid Blood Test is a test to assess levels of mycophenolic acid in blood. It is used when adjusting the initial dose, and to ensure that mycophenolate levels stay within an acceptable range.

What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • CellCept® Blood Test
  • Mycophenolate Sodium Blood Test
  • Myfortic® Blood Test 

What is Mycophenolic Acid Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Mycophenolate is an immunosuppressant drug. It is used to prevent organ transplant rejection, most notably of the kidney, heart, and liver. It is also used to treat autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease
    • Mycophenolic acid is the breakdown product of mycophenolate
    • Brand names for mycophenolate include CellCept® and Myfortic®
  • Mycophenolate works by deactivating an enzyme needed for the growth of T-cells and B-cells. These cells are central to the body’s immune system function. The immune system is responsible for defending the body against foreign invaders. These include bacteria, viruses, and other particles
  • Immune system suppression may be desired, after purposely introducing a foreign object into the body, for a therapeutic purpose. An example of this is an organ transplant
  • Excessive or inappropriate T-lymphocyte stimulation is also responsible for a variety of diseases. Mycophenolate is sometimes used to suppress the immune system and diminish the harmful effects of abnormal T-lymphocyte stimulation
  • Like every other drug, mycophenolate must be kept within a certain range to prevent unwanted effects. If levels are too high, toxicity may result; if levels are too low, the drug may not be of a therapeutic value
  • A Mycophenolic Acid Blood Test is a test to assess levels of mycophenolic acid in blood. It is used when adjusting the initial dose, and to ensure that mycophenolate levels stay within an acceptable range

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Mycophenolic Acid Blood Test?

The clinical indication for performing a Mycophenolic Acid Blood Test includes monitoring mycophenolate therapy. 

How is the Specimen Collected for Mycophenolic Acid Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Mycophenolic Acid Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process: Insertion of a needle into an arm vein.

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test. 

What is the Significance of the Mycophenolic Acid Blood Test Result?

The significance of Mycophenolic Acid Blood Test is explained:

  • Excessive mycophenolic acid levels may indicate mycophenolate toxicity. This may be marked by:
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Tremors
    • Diarrhea
    • Muscle pain
    • Sleeplessness
    • Discoloration of stools
    • Swelling of the extremities
    • Infections
  • Decreased mycophenolic acid levels may indicate that more mycophenolate is necessary to achieve a therapeutic dose 

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario. 

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Mycophenolate is known to cause miscarriages and even birth defects. The use of this drug is strongly discouraged in pregnant women 

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Sept. 24, 2014
Last updated: July 15, 2019