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About Lupus

Lupus is a disease that is caused by something going wrong with the immune system — the part of the body that fights off invaders, such as viruses, bacteria, and other germs. Typically, B cells in our immune system produce proteins called antibodies that protect the body from these invaders.

Normal Immune System

normal-immune-system normal-immune-system

Abnormal Immune System

In a person with lupus, some B cells, called autoreactive B cells, react against your own body. The autoreactive B cells produce a type of protein called an autoantibody. Unlike normal antibodies, which react against foreign invaders, the autoantibodies attack your own body. In lupus, this can lead to inflamed body tissue.

abnormal-immune-system abnormal-immune-system

Who does lupus affect?

Lupus fact: Lupus affects more women than men. About 90% of people living with lupus are women. While nobody knows for certain why lupus occurs, scientists believe many factors combine to cause it. These may include hormones and environmental factors. Lupus also appears to have a genetic component and can run in families.

What is Lupus?

Learn about the basics of lupus and how it affects the immune system.

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Dr. Lambert is a paid spokesperson for GSK.

Who does lupus affect?

Lupus fact: Lupus affects more women than men. About 90% of people living with lupus are women. While nobody knows for certain why lupus occurs, scientists believe many factors combine to cause it. These may include hormones and environmental factors. Lupus also appears to have a genetic component and can run in families.

What triggers lupus?

Lupus fact: A number of factors may potentially trigger the disease, including infections, toxins, and environmental factors. Ultraviolet light, such as sunlight, has been shown to trigger lupus disease activity in up to 70% of people living with lupus.

Diagnosing lupus

Lupus fact: Lupus affects everyone differently. Symptoms are wide-ranging and can change over time. This unpredictability can make lupus difficult to diagnose. An accurate diagnosis can take months or even years to determine. Yet, certain symptoms are fairly common. For example, the skin is usually involved. Specific symptoms include rashes, sun sensitivity, nose and mouth sores, and hair loss.

The start of lupus may be acute, appearing like an infection, or it may be a succession of vague, or seemingly disconnected, symptoms over time. Because the symptoms come and go and vary for each person, evaluation by a healthcare professional well acquainted with lupus—most often a rheumatologist—is critical for an accurate diagnosis. This evaluation may include a physical examination, laboratory tests, including blood tests, and a complete medical history. Specific tests a healthcare professional might use to evaluate disease activity in lupus include the Physicians Global Assessment (PGA) and the SLEDAI (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index) score.

For additional information about lupus, please visit these sites or contact these organizations.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

Lupus information from the US government.

http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Lupus/default.asp

Lupus Foundation of America

The largest national non-profit voluntary health organization dedicated to the lupus community, research and support.

http://www.lupus.org/

Lupus Research Institute

Information on new research and scientific efforts to prevent, treat, and cure lupus.

http://www.lupusresearchinstitute.org/

The web sites listed are external to GSK. GSK does not have control over the content or the information provided on these web sites and therefore does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any content or information on these sites.

See Dr. Lambert's answer

What is lupus?

What happens in lupus?

How BENLYSTA works

What Is BENLYSTA?

BENLYSTA is a prescription medication used to treat adults with active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus) who are receiving other lupus medicines.

It is not known if BENLYSTA is safe and effective in people with severe active lupus nephritis or severe active central nervous system lupus, and it has not been studied in combination with other biologics or intravenous cyclophosphamide. Use of BENLYSTA is not recommended in these situations.

Important Safety Information

The most important information to know about BENLYSTA:

BENLYSTA can cause serious side effects. Some of these side effects may cause death. It is not known if BENLYSTA causes these serious side effects.

Important Safety Information

The most important information to know about BENLYSTA:

BENLYSTA can cause serious side effects. Some of these side effects may cause death. It is not known if BENLYSTA causes these serious side effects.

Tell your healthcare professional right away if you have any of the symptoms listed below while receiving BENLYSTA

Do not receive BENLYSTA if you are allergic to belimumab or to any of the ingredients in BENLYSTA.

Before receiving BENLYSTA also discuss with your healthcare professional if you:

Women of childbearing age should use adequate birth control measures while taking BENLYSTA and for at least four months after their final treatment with BENLYSTA.

Remember to tell your healthcare professional about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Possible side effects of BENLYSTA

The most common side effects of BENLYSTA include:

Tell your healthcare professional if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of BENLYSTA. For more information, ask your healthcare professional.

Other Important Information

In 2 of 3 studies, fewer blacks/African Americans who received BENLYSTA responded to treatment compared to blacks/African Americans who did not receive BENLYSTA. Therefore, caution should be used when considering treatment with BENLYSTA in blacks/African Americans. It is important to discuss with your healthcare professional whether BENLYSTA is right for you. A clinical trial is ongoing to study BENLYSTA specifically in blacks/African Americans with lupus.


For more information, call the BENLYSTA® Gateway at 1-877-4-BENLYSTA (1-877-423-6597)
Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 8 PM Eastern Time.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.
Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.