Medications > Belimumab | Benlysta > Belimumab (Benlysta) – Pictopamphlet
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BELIMUMAB (Benlysta) [bee-LIM-you-mab]
How to use this medication
Some people with lupus have too much protein called BLyS (Bliss). BLyS turns on special immune cells called B-cells that attack the body. Benlysta is a biologic medicine that blocks the activity of BLyS.
Belimumab is given by an intravenous infusion (IV) by a trained nurse.
You will receive an infusion on week 0, week 2, and then every 4 weeks. Each infusion takes about 60 minutes.
Although some patients can feel better soon after receiving the medication, in others it can take a little longer even up to 3 or 4 months.
What you need to do
Have your blood tested occasionally (your doctor will tell you how often). This is important to monitor your lupus and make sure belimumab isn’t affecting your blood counts.
Belimumab has not been studied in pregnancy. Let your doctor know if you are planning to get pregnant or if you are breastfeeding.
Belimumab can make it harder for you to fight off infections. Call your doctor if:
- You develop a fever
- You think you have an infection
- You are given antibiotics to treat an infection
Side effects & important things to know
Nausea & diarrhea
Some people feel unwell with nausea & vomiting when they take belimumab. Belimumab can also cause diarrhea.
Let your doctor know if you experience worsening depression or thoughts of suicide while taking belimumab.
Belimumab should be stopped before surgery. It can be restarted once things have healed and there is no sign of infection. If you are having surgery, talk to your doctor about belimumab.
Very rare cases of cancer have been seen in patients receiving belimumab. It is not known if belimumab causes cancer. Tell your doctor if you have had cancer in the past.
When should I call my doctor
- If you are concerned about any side effects
- If you want to or have already decided to stop the medicine
Other Reasons to Call your Doctor: