Gastrointestinal side effects in liver transplant recipients taking enteric-coated mycophenolate sodium vs. mycophenolate mofetil

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In the setting of liver transplantation, mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) may be used as an adjuvant therapy for immunosuppression to prevent graft rejection; however, its use may be limited due to severe gastrointestinal (GI) side effects. In contrast, enteric-coated mycophenolate sodium (EC-MPS) may be associated with less severe side effects and hence better tolerability. We compared the side effects of EC-MPS to MMF in liver transplant patients in a de novo study (Study I—randomized, prospective, double-blinded) and a conversion study (Study II). In both studies, the severity of GI symptoms was assessed at various time points using the Gastrointestinal Symptoms Rating Scale (GSRS) survey, a validated survey of GI symptoms (abdominal pain, reflux, indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation). In Study I, the symptoms of 30 recipients receiving EC-MPS (n = 15) were compared to 15 recipients receiving MMF. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) of the total GSRS scores and symptom syndrome subscores revealed no significant difference (p > 0.05) between the two medications over time. A conversion study (Study II) with 29 participants, however, showed that over time, all GI symptoms improved significantly (p < 0.001) when the patients were treated with EC-MPS instead of MMF.

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