This page contains a brief description that does not cover the medication. For more information read the review in Felleskatalogen.no for the respective drug.
Benlysta contains the active substance belimumab. This is a newer, approved drug for SLE
- Used at active Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
- It is given as "add on" therapy when disease activity is difficult to control.
- Benlysta is Biological treatment which blocks the binding of soluble BLyS (B-cell survival factor) receptor on B-cells (a type of white blood cell). Patients with SLE have elevated levels of BLyS. The active substance is belimumab. Intravenous treatment or pre-filled pen for injection.
Before start of treatment
- It is important to put one treat to target
- Infections are excluded
- Blood tests
- X-ray or CT of lungs
- Tuberculosis screening: more here
- Consider annual flu vaccine
- Consider pneumococcal vaccine before starting treatment (effect over 5-XNUM years)
- Consider hepatitis B vaccine before initiating treatment (exposed persons)
- "Live vaccines" should not be used
- More about vaccines here (Bindevevssykdommer.no)
- Benlysta intravenous / infusion is often dosed day 0 -14 - 28, then every 4 weeks.
- Benlysta pre-filled pen (200mg) is usually dosed once a week.
- For the first time, it is relevant for healthcare professionals to monitor because hypersensitivity reactions may occur infrequently. Later, the patient inserts the pen / syringe himself.
- Infusions (10mg / kg) given over an hour in hospital, initially (2 first doses) at the ward, then day unit or outpatient clinic. The patient is observed 1 hour after the end of the infusion (slightly longer observation after the first two infusions may be appropriate)
- Mechanism of action: B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) inhibits hyperactive, aggressive CD20 + B lymphocytes from apoptosis. Benlysta is fully human immunoglobulin that binds soluble BLyS
Common side effects
- Diarrhea and nausea
- Infections (most commonly bronchitis and urinary tract)
- Low white blood cell count (leukopenia)
- Infusion reaction (greatest risk after the first two infusions)
- Depression (less than 1%)
Checks and follow-up
- Specialist / Specialist in Rheumatology and General Practitioner
- About 1 / 3 has effect and 1 / 3 stops due to intolerance / side effects
Pregnancy and breast-feeding
It is recommended to stop taking Benlysta at least 4 months before pregnancy. Benlysta passes into breast milk, but the meaning is uncertain. Breast-feeding is generally not recommended. It has not been shown that fathers' use of Benlysta harms the fetus.