4 Foods to Avoid While Taking Cellcept (Mycophenolic Acid)

Cellcept, also known by its generic name mycophenolate mofetil, is a medication commonly used in the treatment of conditions that require immune system suppression, such as organ transplants and autoimmune disorders like lupus. 

It works by suppressing the immune system’s activity to prevent rejection of transplanted organs or to manage overactive immune responses in autoimmune diseases.

If you’ve been prescribed Cellcept, you may wonder if you have to make any dietary changes while taking the drug.

Keep reading to learn what foods to eat and avoid while taking Cellcept.

Foods That Don’t Mix With Cellcept

When taking Cellcept, it’s important to be mindful of your diet to avoid potential interactions or unwanted side effects. 

Certain foods can affect the absorption, metabolism, or effectiveness of the medication. Here are some foods you may want to avoid when taking Cellcept:

1) Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice contain compounds known as furanocoumarins that interfere with enzymes in the liver responsible for breaking down medications, including Cellcept. 

These compounds inhibit the activity of an enzyme called CYP3A4, which plays a crucial role in the metabolism of many drugs. 

When CYP3A4 is inhibited, the breakdown of Cellcept is slowed down, leading to higher levels of the medication in the bloodstream. This can increase the risk of experiencing side effects or toxicity from Cellcept.

2) High-Fat Foods

High-fat foods can impact the absorption of Cellcept in the gastrointestinal tract. 

Dietary fats can delay the emptying of the stomach and the movement of medications into the small intestine, where absorption primarily occurs. 

As a result, taking Cellcept with a high-fat meal can slow down its absorption and subsequently reduce its effectiveness. 

It’s advisable to avoid consuming excessive amounts of fatty foods, particularly around the time you take your Cellcept dose.

3) High-Phenylalanine Foods

Certain formulations of Cellcept contain an amino acid called phenylalanine. Phenylalanine is naturally found in various foods and artificial sweeteners like aspartame

If you’re taking a Cellcept formulation that contains phenylalanine, it’s advisable to limit your intake of foods high in this amino acid. 

Excessive phenylalanine intake could potentially interfere with the metabolism or absorption of Cellcept.

4) Alcohol

Alcohol consumption can have several effects on the metabolism and activity of medications, including Cellcept. 

Consuming alcohol can impact the liver enzymes responsible for breaking down drugs, potentially altering the rate at which Cellcept is metabolized. 

Additionally, alcohol can further suppress the immune system, which is already affected by Cellcept. 

This combination can increase the risk of side effects and compromise the effectiveness of the medication. 

It’s recommended to either avoid alcohol or consume it in moderation while taking Cellcept.

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6 Foods to Eat When on Cellcept

In addition to being aware of foods to avoid while taking Cellcept, you can proactively make dietary choices that promote your overall health and well-being during your treatment:

1) Balanced Diet

Prioritize a well-rounded and balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods. Load up on:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Lean sources of protein like poultry, fish, legumes, and tofu 

A balanced diet not only provides essential nutrients but also supports your immune system and general health.

2) Hydration

Ensure you stay adequately hydrated by drinking sufficient water throughout the day. Proper hydration is vital for maintaining optimal bodily functions, including the absorption and metabolism of medications like Cellcept. 

Hydration can also help alleviate potential side effects and contribute to your overall well-being.

3) Nutrient-Rich Choices

Opt for foods that are high in essential vitamins and minerals. For instance, foods rich in vitamin C (such as citrus fruits, berries, and bell peppers) can contribute to a stronger immune system. 

Incorporate vitamin D sources like fortified dairy products, fatty fish, and sunlight exposure, as vitamin D is important for bone health and overall immunity.

4) Fiber-Rich Food

Include fiber-rich foods like whole grains, beans, lentils, and vegetables in your diet. Fiber promotes healthy digestion and can help prevent issues like constipation, which might be exacerbated by certain medications.

5) Healthy Fats

Incorporate sources of healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These fats provide essential fatty acids that support various bodily functions and can help with nutrient absorption.

6) Probiotic Foods

Consider adding probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi to your diet. Probiotics promote a healthy gut microbiome, which plays a role in digestion and overall immune function.

Foods to eatFoods to avoid
Balanced dietGrapefruit and grapefruit juice
Probiotic foodsFatty foods
Nutrient-rich choicesHigh-phenylalanine foods
High-fiber foodsAlcohol
Healthy fats

Other Interactions With Cellcept

In addition to specific foods, there are other interactions to consider while taking Cellcept:

Medication and Drug Interactions

Inform your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and herbal remedies. 

Some medications can interact with Cellcept, affecting its effectiveness or causing side effects.


Antacids containing magnesium or aluminum can interfere with the absorption of Cellcept. These compounds can reduce the absorption of mycophenolate in the digestive tract. 

To avoid this interaction, consider taking antacids at least two hours before or after your Cellcept dose.

Herbal Supplements

Certain herbal supplements can interact with Cellcept, either by affecting its metabolism or by altering its pharmacological effects. 

Herbal supplements can contain active compounds that may interfere with the enzymes responsible for breaking down Cellcept or may interact with its mechanism of action. 

To ensure the safety and effectiveness of Cellcept, it’s wise to avoid herbal supplements unless specifically approved by your healthcare provider.

Grapefruit Products

In addition to avoiding grapefruit and grapefruit juice, be cautious of products that contain grapefruit extract or flavor, as they may also lead to interactions.

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Should Cellcept Be Taken with Food?

The decision of whether to take Cellcept with or without food depends on individual preferences and the way your body reacts to the medication. Cellcept can be taken in either manner, and there are considerations for both options.

Taking Cellcept With Food

Taking Cellcept with food is a choice that some make to mitigate gastrointestinal side effects. In particular, if you’ve experienced symptoms like nausea or stomach discomfort while taking Cellcept, consuming it with a meal may help alleviate these issues. 

The presence of food in your stomach could provide a protective buffer and reduce the likelihood of experiencing such side effects.

However, it’s important to be mindful of the type of food you consume alongside Cellcept. Opt for meals that are balanced and relatively low in fat. 

High-fat meals have the potential to affect the absorption of the medication, which could compromise its intended effects. 

Thus, while incorporating food with Cellcept can be advantageous, steering clear of heavy, fatty meals is advisable to ensure optimal absorption.

Taking Cellcept Without Food

On the other hand, taking Cellcept on an empty stomach may also be a suitable approach for some people. 

This can be particularly convenient when you want to ensure that the medication is absorbed efficiently without any potential interference from food components.

In either case, individual responses can vary, and it’s advisable to consult your healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your medication routine. 

They can offer personalized recommendations based on your medical history, existing conditions, and any potential interactions with other medications you may be taking.


Maintaining awareness of your dietary choices while undergoing Cellcept treatment is paramount for optimizing its therapeutic effects and mitigating the potential for interactions. 

By adhering to dietary guidelines and adopting healthy eating habits, you can play an active role in enhancing your overall well-being throughout the course of your treatment.

Avoiding specific foods known to interfere with Cellcept, such as grapefruit, high-fat foods, and certain antacids, can contribute to the medication’s successful absorption and effectiveness. 

Simultaneously, embracing a diet rich in nutrient-dense options can provide multifaceted benefits.

By making these considerations part of your daily routine, you empower your body’s capacity to heal, recover, and thrive. 

However, it’s imperative to recognize that individual responses to dietary changes can vary, and thus, collaborating closely with your healthcare provider is essential. 

Their expert guidance will ensure that your dietary choices align harmoniously with your unique medical profile, enhancing the safety and efficacy of your Cellcept treatment.

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  1. Seden, Kay, et al. “Grapefruit-drug interactions.” Drugs 70 (2010): 2373-2407.
  2. Otles, Semih, and Ahmet Senturk. “Food and drug interactions: a general review.” Acta scientiarum polonorum Technologia alimentaria 13.1 (2014): 89-102.
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information. “PubChem Compound Summary for CID 5281078, Mycophenolate mofetil” PubChem.

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