Benlysta

Generic Name: Belimumab

  • What is Benlysta?

    Benlysta is a medication used to treat adults with systemic lupus erythematosus (a disease that affects the immune system) who are receiving other lupus medicines.

  • What is the most important information I should know about Benlysta?

    Benlysta can cause serious side effects. Tell your doctor immediately if you have any symptoms of infection (such as bloody diarrhea, chills, coughing up mucus, fever, pain or burning with urination, and urinating often), heart problems (such as chest discomfort or pain, cold sweats, discomfort in other areas of the upper body, dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath), and/or mental health problems (such as acting on dangerous impulses, attempt to commit suicide, new or worsening anxiety or depression, other unusual changes in your behavior or mood, thoughts of hurting yourself or others, thoughts of suicide or dying, and trouble sleeping).

    Benlysta may reduce the activity of your immune system and therefore can increase your risk of certain cancers.

    Serious allergic or infusion reactions can happen on the day of or the day after receiving Benlysta. Your doctor will monitor you closely while you are receiving Benlysta and after the infusion.

  • Who should not take Benlysta?

    Do not take Benlysta if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Benlysta?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Benlysta. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you think you have an infection or have infections that keep coming back, have or have had mental health problems such as depression or thoughts of suicide, have recently received a vaccination or if you think you may need a vaccination, have or have had any type of cancer, if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Adults: Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dose for you based on your weight.

  • How should I take Benlysta?

    Your doctor will administer Benlysta through a needle placed in your vein (intravenous infusion). It takes about one hour to receive the full dose of Benlysta. Your doctor will tell you how often you should receive Benlysta. Your doctor may give you medicines before you receive Benlysta to help reduce your chance of having a reaction.

  • What should I avoid while taking Benlysta?

    Avoid receiving vaccines.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Benlysta?

    No significant interactions have been reported with Benlysta at this time. However, always tell your doctor about any medicines you take, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

  • What are the possible side effects of Benlysta?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: allergic and infusion reactions, bronchitis (inflammation of the air passages within the lungs), cancer, decreased white blood cell counts, diarrhea, fever, leg or arm pain, migraine headache, nausea, sore throat, stomach pain, stuffy or runny nose, trouble sleeping, urinary tract infection, vomiting

  • Can I receive Benlysta if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Benlysta during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Benlysta?

    Notify your doctor if you miss your scheduled appointment to receive Benlysta.

  • How should I store Benlysta?

    Your doctor will store this medication for you.