Belimumab (Injection)

Introduction

Belimumab (be-LIM-ue-mab)

Treats systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus).

Brand Name(s)

Benlysta

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to belimumab, or if you are also using cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®).

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • Your doctor will prescribe your dose and schedule. This medicine is given through a needle placed in a vein.
  • A nurse or other health provider will give you this medicine.
  • This medicine must be given slowly, so the needle will remain in place for at least one hour. You may also receive medicines to help prevent possible allergic reactions to the injection.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.

If a dose is missed:

  • You must use this medicine on a fixed schedule. Call your doctor or pharmacist if you miss a dose.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using medicines that may weaken your immune system, such as cancer medicines or steroids.
  • This medicine may interfere with vaccines. Ask your doctor before you get a flu shot or any other vaccines.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have any kind of infection, a weak immune system, or a history of depression or mental illness.
  • Tell your doctor if you plan to become pregnant. Women who could potentially get pregnant while receiving this medicine must use an effective form of birth control during therapy and for at least 4 months after the last dose. If you become pregnant while receiving this medicine, your doctor may want you to join a registry for pregnant patients.
  • This medicine may increase your risk of developing infections. Avoid being near people who are sick while you are receiving this medicine. Wash your hands often. Tell your doctor if you have any kind of infection before you receive the medicine. Also tell your doctor if you have ever had an infection that would not go away or an infection that kept coming back.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have blurred vision; a cough that won't go away; fever, chills, or flu-like symptoms, such as a runny or stuffy nose; a headache; night sweats; or weight loss. These may be signs that you have an infection.
  • This medicine may cause an infusion reaction while you are receiving it or right after the infusion ends. Check with your doctor or nurse right away if you have a headache; itching; dizziness, fainting, or lightheadedness; nausea; muscle or joint pain; or a rash.
  • This medicine may cause a serious type of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor right away if you have chest pain; hives; itching; a rash; swelling of the face, tongue, and throat; or trouble breathing after you receive the medicine.
  • This medicine may cause some people to be agitated, irritable, or display other abnormal behaviors. It may also cause some people to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies or to become more depressed. If you or your caregiver notice any of these unwanted effects, tell your doctor right away.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Anxiety, confusion, or depression.
  • Bloody or cloudy urine.
  • Burning pain on urination, or change in how much or how often you urinate.
  • Fever, chills, runny or stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
  • Pain, itching, burning, swelling, bleeding, or a lump under your skin where the needle is placed.
  • Shortness of breath or troubled breathing.
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Arm or leg pain.
  • Diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite, or stomach pain.
  • Severe headache.
  • Trouble sleeping.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Review Date: March 4, 2014
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.
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Thomson Adam

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