Lupus and Benlysta
What is Benlysta?
Benlysta is a prescription medicine given via infusions or auto-injections for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus) who are on other lupus medications. Benlysta is the first medicine approved by the FDA in over 5o years for the treatment of lupus. Benlysta has been clinically studied in over 1,000 lupus patients and the results have show a reduction in lupus disease activity when taken with other lupus medications in comparison to those that were just on other medicines besides Benlysta. Benlysta is considered a biologic and works unlike other medications being taken for lupus.
Lupus and Benlysta
If you have lupus and are considering treatment with Benlysta, it is important to speak with your rheumatologist about the medicines you are currently taking for your lupus disease activity. It is unknown if those with severe lupus nephritis or SLE central nervous system involvement will benefit from a biologic like Benlysta. Benlysta is offered via IV’s in infusion centers monthly or you may be able to be prescribed the auto-injections that you must take weekly.
Benlysta Risks and Side Effects
What are some risks and side effects associated with Benlysta?
According to Benlysta’s website, Benlysta has been shown to cause some serious side effects. Some of these side effects may cause death. They also state that it is unknown if Benlysta is the actual sole reason behind some of these serious side effects. It is also important to note that not everyone will experience side effects, let alone serious ones.
Some patients are offered a pre infusion cocktail of an anti-histamine before receiving their infusions, be sure to ask your rheumatologist the procedure for your infusions. It is important to discuss any side effects prior to receiving Benlysta and be sure to speak with your doctor immediately if you have any side effects listed below after receiving Benlysta.
- Infections: fever, chills, pain or burning with urination, urinating often, coughing up mucus, or warm, red, or painful skin or sores on your body.
- Heart problems: chest discomfort or pain, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea, dizziness, or discomfort in other areas of the upper body.
- Allergic (hypersensitivity) reactions: itching, swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat, trouble breathing, anxiousness, low blood pressure, dizziness or fainting, headache, nausea, or skin rash. Serious allergic reactions can happen on the day of, or in the days after, receiving BENLYSTA and may cause death.
- Mental health problems and suicide: thoughts of suicide or dying, attempt to commit suicide, trouble sleeping (insomnia), new or worse anxiety or depression, acting on dangerous impulses, other unusual changes in your behavior or mood, or thoughts of hurting yourself or others.