Mycophenolate mofetil for the treatment of scleritis

Ophthalmology. 2003 Sep;110(9):1750-5. doi: 10.1016/S0161-6420(03)00570-0.


Purpose: To evaluate the usefulness of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) (CellCept, Roche, Nutley, NJ), an antimetabolite immunosuppressant with a selective antiproliferative effect on T and B lymphocytes, for the treatment of scleritis.

Design: Retrospective, noncomparative case series.

Participants: Eight patients with scleritis treated with MMF in a tertiary referral center.

Methods: Review of the clinical records of patients evaluated at the National Eye Institute and prescribed MMF for the treatment of scleritis.

Main outcome measures: Control of scleral inflammation, the ability to taper prednisone or other immunosuppressive medications, and adverse events were recorded for each patient. Mycophenolate mofetil was determined to be an effective steroid-sparing agent if the daily prednisone dosage could be reduced by 50% or more and was determined to be an effective adjunctive immunosuppressive agent if the scleral inflammation was controlled in patients with active scleritis.

Results: Four patients with diffuse anterior scleritis, two with necrotizing scleritis with inflammation, one with nodular anterior scleritis, and one with nodular anterior and posterior scleritis, were identified. Mycophenolate mofetil administration was initiated as a steroid-sparing agent in 4 patients with controlled scleritis and as an additional immunosuppressive agent in 4 patients with active scleritis receiving concomitant treatment with prednisone and cyclosporine or methotrexate. In 3 of the 4 patients started on MMF as a steroid-sparing agent, the scleritis remained controlled while the prednisone dosage was tapered by more than 50%. One of the patients started on MMF as a steroid-sparing agent had recurrent scleritis, and each of the patients with active scleritis continued to have persistent scleral inflammation requiring additional immunosuppressive therapy. Adverse effects recorded in 4 of the 8 patients included a rash, gastrointestinal symptoms, paresthesias, and laboratory evidence of hepatotoxicity and renal toxicity.

Conclusions: Although MMF maybe be useful as a steroid-sparing agent, it was not effective as an adjunctive immunosuppressive agent in patients with active scleritis in our small, tertiary referral series. The adverse effects encountered with the use of MMF in this study cannot be attributed conclusively to MMF and are more likely complications of the multiagent systemic immunosuppressive therapy required for the treatment of recalcitrant scleritis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycophenolic Acid / adverse effects
  • Mycophenolic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Mycophenolic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scleritis / drug therapy*
  • Scleritis / pathology


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Mycophenolic Acid