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Mycophenolic Acid Blood Test Guide

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen•edited by: Diana Cooper•updated: 3/31/2011

What is the mycophenolic acid blood test? Here we will provide the details on this test.

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    The mycophenolic acid blood test is performed to test the levels of mycophenolic acid in a person's blood. Mycophenolic acid is a drug most often given to patients to prevent rejection when they have had a liver, kidney or heart transplant. Some patients may take it for an autoimmune disorder.

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    Why is this Test Done?

    Since the therapeutic range of this drug has yet to be established, a doctor may order this blood test to keep an eye on drug interactions with other immunosuppressive medications when a patient is receiving combination therapy, as well as to correlate with side effects and clinical symptoms. A complete blood count (CBC) is often ordered along with this test because mycophenolic acid can cause anemia. This test is typically done initially and then at regular intervals.

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    How is this Test Done?

    This test is a basic blood test. To obtain a sample, a needle is inserted into a vein and blood is drawn out into a special vial. The test only takes a few minutes and for most patients, no to minor discomfort is experienced.

    Certain medications and supplements may interfere with mycophenolic acid so all patients taking them should alert their doctor. In some cases, the interference could be dangerous and/or interfere with test results. These include cholestyramine, antacids, probenecid, acyclovir, ganciclovir, cat's claw, echinacea and St. John's wort.

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    What Do the Results Mean?

    If the results of a mycophenolic acid blood test show concentrations that are too high, there is the risk of toxicity. If the concentrations are too low, there is the risk of the transplanted organ being rejected. The therapeutic range has not been established at this time so it is important for patients to report all side effects and symptoms to their doctors so adjustments can be made when necessary. The following side effects are relatively common with this drug, but they should be reported to the patient's doctor immediately. These include constipation, nausea, fatigue, stomach pain, tremors, diarrhea, insomnia, muscle pain and dizziness. This drug may also slow healing time and cause infections.

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    Possible Risks

    When having blood drawn, there is very little risk involved. Because blood vessels, the arteries and veins, are different sizes for all patients, it will be harder to obtain a blood sample from some patients. This could result in some patients experiencing more discomfort than others. While the other risks are slight, they include feeling faint or lightheaded, infection, bleeding excessively and hematoma. The majority of patients only have slight bruising having giving a blood sample.

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    Resources

    Mount Nittany Medical Center. (2011). Mycophenolic Acid Test. Retrieved on March 29, 2011 from Mount Nittany Medical Center: http://www.mountnittany.org/wellness-library/healthsheets/documents?ID=5120

    Lab Tests Online. (2007). Mycophenolic Acid. Retrieved on March 29, 2011 from Lab Tests Online: http://www.labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/mpa/sample.html