BACKGROUND - Two open-label studies demonstrated that conversion from mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) to enteric-coated mycophenolate sodium (EC-MPS) significantly reduces gastrointestinal (GI) symptom burden and improves GI-specific health-related quality of life. Using a randomized design, this study evaluated changes in GI symptoms and health-related quality of life in patients converted from MMF to EC-MPS versus patients who continued with MMF-based treatment.
METHODS - In this 4-week, multicenter, randomized, prospective, double-blind, parallel-group trial, renal transplant recipients with GI symptoms receiving MMF plus a calcineurin inhibitor ± corticosteroids were randomized to an equimolar dose of EC-MPS+MMF placebo or continue on their MMF-based regimen+EC-MPS placebo. The primary efficacy outcome was a change from baseline in total Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale score of a minimally important difference of more than or equal to 0.3.
RESULTS - Three hundred ninety-six patients (EC-MPS group: n=199; MMF group: n=197) were included. A greater proportion of EC-MPS patients (62%) reached the primary efficacy outcome compared with MMF patients (55%); however, the difference was not statistically significant (P=0.15). EC-MPS patients had a significantly greater decrease in the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale indigestion syndrome dimension versus MMF patients. Within the subgroups of patients with diabetes, patients transplanted 6 to 12 months of study enrollment, and patients on steroids, a statistically significant greater proportion of EC-MPS versus MMF patients reached the primary efficacy outcome.
CONCLUSIONS - Conversion from MMF to EC-MPS may be associated with improvements in presence and severity of GI symptoms, particularly in patients with indigestion, diabetes, on steroids, and in patients converted between 6 and 12 months posttransplantation.