What is this medicine?
BELIMUMAB (be LIM ue mab) is a medicine used to treat active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This medicine is used with standard therapy for SLE. It is not a cure.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Benlysta, Benlysta SC
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- heart disease
- immune system problems
- infection (especially a virus infection such as chickenpox, cold sores, or herpes)
- mental illness
- recently received or scheduled to receive a vaccine
- suicidal thoughts, plans, or attempt; a previous suicide attempt by you or a family member
- an unusual or allergic reaction to belimumab, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medicine?
This medicine is for infusion into a vein or for injection under the skin. Infusions are given by a health care professional in a hospital or clinic setting. If you are to give your own medicine at home, you will be taught how to prepare and give this medicine under the skin. Use exactly as directed. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.
It is important that you put your used needles and syringes in a special sharps container. Do not put them in a trash can. If you do not have a sharps container, call your pharmacist or healthcare provider to get one.
A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 5 years for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
This medicine is used once a week if given by injection under the skin. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
If you are to be given an infusion, it is important not to miss your dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.
What may interact with this medicine?
Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
- live virus vaccines
This medicine may also interact with the following medications:
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Tell your doctor or healthcare professional if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse.
In some patients, this medicine may cause a serious brain infection that may cause death. If you have any problems seeing, thinking, speaking, walking, or standing, tell your doctor right away. If you cannot reach your doctor, urgently seek other source of medical care.
Talk to your doctor about your risk of cancer. You may be more at risk for certain types of cancers if you take this medicine.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
- allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- breathing problems
- chest pain
- depressed mood
- feeling faint or lightheaded
- signs of infection - fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine
- suicidal thoughts or other mood changes
- trouble sleeping
- unusually slow heartbeat
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- muscle aches
- pain, redness or irritation at site of injection
- stuffy or runny nose
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medicine?
Infusions will be given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.
Storage for syringes and autoinjectors stored at home:
Keep out of the reach of children. Store in a refrigerator between 2 and 8 degrees C (36 and 46 degrees F). Keep this medicine in the original container. Protect from light. Do not freeze. Do not shake. Do not use this medicine and do not place back in the refrigerator if left out at room temperature for more than 12 hours. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
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