Benlysta (belimumab) 5/5 (1)

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This page contains a brief description that does not cover the medication. For more information read the review in 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


  • 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 (


  • 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. 

Patient information


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