To describe experience with the use of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).
MMF is a potent immunosuppressant that is a selective inhibitor of inosine 5′-monophosphate dehydrogenase type II, the enzyme responsible for the de novo synthesis of the purine nucleotide guanine within activated T and B lymphocytes and macrophages.
A retrospective review of experience in treating 79 MS patients with MMF (61 with secondary progressive, 14 with relapsing-remitting, and 4 with primary progressive MS) in the authors' MS center.
In most cases, MMF was added as adjunctive therapy in patients already being treated with either interferon-β (n = 44) or glatiramer acetate (n = 20). Fifteen patients not able to use interferon or glatiramer acetate were treated with MMF monotherapy. Seventy percent of the patients continued MMF therapy. Eight patients discontinued therapy because of side effects, 7 patients continued to exhibit evidence of disease progression, 4 were denied insurance coverage, 2 were lost to follow-up, and 1 patient had an elevation of hepatic transaminases that resolved on discontinuation of MMF. One patient discontinued MMF therapy secondary to cytomegalovirus diarrhea.
MMF was well tolerated by the majority of patients treated. While these clinical observations were uncontrolled, the clinical course of MS was either unchanged or subjectively improved in many of the treated patients. A randomized controlled trial of MMF in MS, either as monotherapy or in conjunction with interferon or glatiramer acetate, appears warranted.