BIOLOGICAL MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES
Benlysta is a prescription medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat people ages 5 and up with active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or active lupus nephritis who are receiving other lupus medicines. Researchers have found it can also help in treating cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE). Benlysta is also known by its generic name, belimumab.
Benlysta is part of a class of medications called biological monoclonal antibodies. It is believed to work by reducing the number of white blood cells called B-lymphocytes that contribute to autoimmune attacks in lupus.
How do I take it?
Benlysta may be administered as an intravenous infusion in people 5 years and older or as a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection in people 18 and older.
For IV injections, Benlysta comes in a powder form that’s mixed into a solution. For people with active SLE or lupus nephritis, IV doses are recommended to be taken at two-week intervals for the first three doses, then in four-week intervals. To manage anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction), the drug should be administered intravenously by a health care professional.
For subcutaneous injections, Benlysta comes in liquid form in an autoinjector or prefilled syringe. For adults with SLE, subcutaneous injections are usually taken once weekly.
The most common side effects of Benlysta include nausea, diarrhea, fever, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, cough, trouble sleeping, leg or arm pain, depression, headache, and discoloration, itching, pain, or swelling at the site of injection.
Rare but serious side effects include progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (a type of brain infection), certain cancers, and severe depression and suicidal thoughts.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Belimumab Injection — Medline Plus
Benlysta — GSK