Benlysta (belimumab) is a biologic therapy used in addition to other lupus medications for the treatment of lupus and lupus nephritis.
In many people with lupus, certain white blood cells called autoreactive B cells (cells that react against the body) stay in the body longer than they should. One of the important proteins for the growth of these B cells is called B-lymphocyte stimulator, or BLyS. Benlysta works by binding to BLyS. When Benlysta is attached to BLyS, BLyS can no longer bind to and stimulate the autoreactive B cells.
In three clinical studies of adult patients with active lupus, Benlysta:
-Significantly reduced lupus disease activity mainly due to improvements in the immune system, muscles, mouth, joints, and skin
-Significantly reduced risk of severe flares in two of the three studies
-Reduced steroid dose by 25% or more (to a daily dose of 7.5 mg or less) during Weeks 40-52, in patients receiving 7.5 mg or higher daily doses of steroid at the start of the study
Benlysta is given by intravenous infusion (for children ages 5 and above and adults) every 2 weeks for the first three doses and then every 4 weeks thereafter. Benlysta infusions are given over approximately one hour. Preparation time before and observation time after the infusion may vary.
Potential Side Effects
The most common side effects of Benlysta include nausea, leg or arm pain, diarrhea, fever, stuffy or runny nose and sore throat (nasopharyngitis), persistent cough (bronchitis), trouble sleeping (insomnia), depression, and headache (migraine). Benlysta can cause serious side effects, including PML. PML is a serious and life-threatening brain infection. PML can result in death or severe disability. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you notice any new or worsening medical problems: memory loss, trouble thinking, dizziness or loss of balance, difficulty talking or walking, or loss of vision. Medications that affect the immune system, including Benlysta, may increase your risk of certain cancers.
For a full list of potential side effects, please see the Important Safety Information and Medication Guide on the Benlysta website.
Before you attend your first appointment at Sage Infusion, please make sure to review the documents below. The Patient Consent Form and HIPAA Privacy Authorization Form need to be filled out and signed ahead of your appointment, whereas the Notice of Privacy Practices and Patient Rights and Responsibilities are for reference only. Please contact us if you have any questions!
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