A belimumab injection (Benlysta) is prescribed with other medications as treatment to patients of systemic lupus erythematosus. This type of medication is known as a monoclonal antibody and acts to block the activity of certain proteins of patients with symptoms of lupus. Benlysta has been shown to be less effective on African-American patients with symptoms of lupus.

Benlysta is a powder that is mixed with sterile water and fed into the patient's vein intravenously. The treatment is administered for about an hour and must be done by a nurse or doctor. Your doctor will determine how often you will need to take the medication depending on your response and how well it helps reduce lupus symptoms.

Benlysta and Cancer

Benlysta may increase your risk of certain types of cancers. Research shows that those who undergo treatment were more likely to die from various causes than those who did not take the medication. Talk to your doctor about all the risks and possible side effects from taking Benlysta.

Benlysta Side Effects

Like many other prescription medications, belimumab has been known to cause side effects. Sometimes Benlysta can cause major side effects and other reactions shortly after receiving the medication. Other medications are often prescribed along with Benlysta to minimize or counteract the side effects. It is important that you notify your doctor or nurse immediately if you are experiencing any discomfort after the Benlysta infusion.


Common side effects include:

  • ash, itching or flushing
  • hives, swelling of the face, eyes, mouth, throat, tongue, or lips
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing, wheezing or shortness of breath
  • anxiousness
  • dizziness or fainting;
  • headache, nausea, fever or chills
  • seizures
  • muscle aches
  • slow heart beat

Lupus Symptoms

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Benlysta helps to control lupus symptoms

Benlysta helps to control lupus symptoms, but it does not cure the lupus disease. Your doctor will watch closely to see if you are responding well to the treatment or if the side effects are putting you at greater risk. You may not see results from the medication right away. It is a slower working drug and it may take time before you see maximum results from your Benlysta prescription.


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