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Benlysta (Generic Belimumab Injection)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Benlysta (belimumab) is prescribed for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), commonly known as lupus. It is used specifically for adults who have active, autoantibody-positive lupus and are receiving standard therapy. Benlysta works by targeting a specific protein in the immune system called B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS). By inhibiting BLyS, Benlysta helps to decrease the abnormal immune response that occurs in lupus, thereby reducing symptoms and the frequency of disease flares. It is typically used in combination with other lupus medications.

How should this medicine be used?

Benlysta (belimumab) is a medication used to treat systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a chronic autoimmune disease. It’s typically administered intravenously (IV) or subcutaneously (under the skin). Here’s how it’s generally used:

  • Dosage: The dosage of Benlysta can vary depending on factors like weight and response to treatment. Your healthcare provider will determine the appropriate dosage for you.
  • Administration: Benlysta can be given either through an IV infusion or subcutaneous injection. IV infusions are usually done in a healthcare setting, such as a hospital or infusion center, while subcutaneous injections can sometimes be administered at home after proper training from a healthcare provider.
  • Frequency: The frequency of Benlysta administration also varies. Initially, it’s often given more frequently (for example, once a week for the first three doses), and then may be given less frequently (for example, once every four weeks). Again, your healthcare provider will determine the appropriate schedule for you.
  • Monitoring: While on Benlysta, you may need regular monitoring by your healthcare provider to assess your response to treatment and to watch for any potential side effects.
  • Other medications: Benlysta is often used in combination with other medications to manage lupus symptoms and complications. It’s important to continue taking any other medications prescribed by your healthcare provider unless instructed otherwise.

Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully when using Benlysta or any other medication. If you have any questions or concerns about its use, be sure to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

Other uses for this medicine

While Benlysta is primarily used for treating SLE, there may be ongoing research into its effectiveness for other autoimmune conditions. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine its suitability for any condition other than SLE.

What special precautions should I follow?

Regarding special precautions for using Benlysta, here are some important considerations:

  • Allergies: Inform your healthcare provider if you have any known allergies, especially to medications or any components of Benlysta.
  • Infections: Benlysta can increase the risk of infections, including serious infections. Before starting Benlysta, inform your healthcare provider if you have any current infections or a history of frequent or chronic infections.
  • Vaccinations: Avoid live vaccines while on Benlysta treatment, as they may not be as effective and could potentially cause complications. Before starting Benlysta, discuss your vaccination status and any necessary vaccinations with your healthcare provider.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the risks and benefits of Benlysta with your healthcare provider. It’s essential to weigh the potential risks to the fetus or breastfeeding infant against the benefits of treatment.
  • Other Medications: Inform your healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, and herbal products you are currently taking, as they may interact with Benlysta.
  • Monitoring: Your healthcare provider may monitor you for certain side effects while you are on Benlysta treatment, such as changes in blood cell counts, kidney function, and signs of infections.

Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and advice regarding the use of Benlysta and any other medications. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

There are generally no specific dietary restrictions associated with Benlysta. However, maintaining a balanced and healthy diet is important for overall health and may support your immune system. If you have any dietary concerns or restrictions, discuss them with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss a dose of Benlysta, follow these general guidelines:

  • IV Infusion: If you miss an appointment for your IV infusion, contact your healthcare provider or infusion center as soon as possible to reschedule.
  • Subcutaneous Injection: If you miss a dose of subcutaneous Benlysta, administer it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Benlysta (belimumab) is generally well-tolerated, but like any medication, it can cause side effects in some people. Common side effects of Benlysta may include:

  • Nausea: Some individuals may experience feelings of nausea after receiving Benlysta.
  • Diarrhea or Constipation: Digestive symptoms like diarrhea or constipation may occur in some people.
  • Headache: Headaches are a common side effect reported by some individuals using Benlysta.
  • Fever: Low-grade fever or flu-like symptoms may occur, especially after the first few doses.
  • Infusion or Injection Site Reactions: For those receiving Benlysta via infusion, redness, swelling, or discomfort at the infusion site may occur. With subcutaneous injection, similar reactions can occur at the injection site.
  • Fatigue: Some individuals may experience increased fatigue while on Benlysta treatment.
  • Muscle or Joint Pain: Pain in the muscles or joints is another reported side effect.
  • Insomnia: Difficulty sleeping or insomnia may occur in some individuals.
  • Infections: Benlysta can increase the risk of infections, including upper respiratory infections and urinary tract infections. Serious infections are possible but less common.
  • Allergic Reactions: While rare, allergic reactions to Benlysta can occur. Signs of an allergic reaction may include rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, or difficulty breathing. Allergic reactions require immediate medical attention.

It’s important to note that not everyone will experience these side effects, and some individuals may experience side effects not listed here. Additionally, serious side effects are possible, although they are less common. These may include severe allergic reactions, serious infections, and worsening of existing depression.

If you experience any concerning side effects while using Benlysta, it’s essential to inform your healthcare provider promptly. They can provide guidance on managing side effects and determine if any adjustments to your treatment are necessary.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Storage and disposal of Benlysta:


  • Refrigeration: Benlysta in liquid form (for injection or infusion) should be stored in the refrigerator between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). Do not freeze. Protect from light.
  • Protect from Light: Keep Benlysta vials or pre-filled syringes away from direct light exposure.
  • Do Not Shake: Avoid shaking Benlysta. Gently swirl the vial to mix the medication if needed.
  • Expiration Date: Check the expiration date on the packaging and do not use Benlysta if it has expired.
  • Keep Out of Reach of Children: Store Benlysta in a secure location out of reach of children and pets.


  • Unused Medication: If you have any unused Benlysta, follow local regulations or guidelines for the proper disposal of medication. Do not flush Benlysta down the toilet or pour it down the drain unless instructed to do so.
  • Needles and Syringes: Dispose of needles and syringes used for subcutaneous injection according to local regulations. Many areas have specific guidelines for the disposal of sharps containers.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of an emergency or overdose involving Benlysta, contact your local emergency services or poison control center immediately. Provide them with as much information as possible, including the amount of medication taken and any symptoms experienced.

What other information should I know?

  • Follow-up Appointments: Attend all scheduled appointments with your healthcare provider for monitoring and evaluation of your response to Benlysta treatment.
  • Lab Tests: Your healthcare provider may order blood tests or other lab tests periodically to monitor your condition and detect any potential side effects of Benlysta.
  • Missed Doses: If you miss a dose of Benlysta, follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider. Do not double the dose to make up for a missed dose.
  • Medication Guide: Read the medication guide provided by your pharmacist before starting Benlysta treatment, and ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions.
  • Travel: If you need to travel with Benlysta, consult your healthcare provider for guidance on storing and transporting the medication safely.

Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions regarding the storage, disposal, and use of Benlysta. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

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