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Lupus Nephritis



When lupus causes your immune system to attack and inflame your kidneys, it’s called lupus nephritis. This inflammation can make your kidneys unable to remove waste properly from your blood or control the amount of fluid in your body.

Lupus nephritis most often develops within 5 years after lupus diagnosis.

Did you know that approximately 40% of people with lupus will develop lupus nephritis?

Talk to your doctor about the impact of lupus nephritis on your kidneys and strategies to monitor disease progression.




BENLYSTA (belimumab) is a prescription medication used to treat adult patients with lupus-related kidney inflammation (lupus nephritis) who are receiving other lupus medicines. Both intravenous and subcutaneous formulations of BENLYSTA are approved for adults with active lupus nephritis.

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

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

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What Kind of Medicine is BENLYSTA?

BENLYSTA (belimumab) is a biologic therapy, not a steroid. It is taken in addition to your other lupus medications and is available in three options for adults with lupus and lupus nephritis:

  • an autoinjector you self-inject
  • a prefilled syringe you self-inject
  • an intravenous (IV) infusion a healthcare provider administers


In a 2-year clinical study of adult patients with active lupus nephritis, BENLYSTA:

  • Significantly reduced kidney disease activity, with maintained kidney function, reduced protein in the urine, and reduced need for rescue medicines.*†
  • Significantly reduced risk of kidney worsening.*

* Compared to those not taking BENLYSTA.
† Rescue medicines such as steroids greater than 10 mg/day.

Results may vary.
Ask your doctor if BENLYSTA is right for you.

How to take BENLYSTA

BENLYSTA was studied in the largest and longest lupus nephritis clinical trial ever conducted.

BENLYSTA for active lupus nephritis was studied in a 2-year trial.




Evaluated the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of BENLYSTA intravenous (IV) infusion + other lupus medicines compared to other lupus medicines alone in adult patients with active, biopsy-proven LN.

Duration: 2 years.

BENLYSTA is the only approved treatment option for both lupus and lupus nephritis

Learn More about BENLYSTA for lupus


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BENLYSTA is a biologic therapy, not a steroid. BENLYSTA is the only approved treatment that targets BLyS, an underlying cause of SLE.

Watch this short video to learn more about what lupus is, how it affects the body, and how BENLYSTA works.

Narrator: The human immune system is made up of organs and lymphatic vessels and nodes. It also consists of cells and a wide range of chemical messengers and other proteins that are produced by these cells of the immune system. This is the system that helps protect us from infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and other germs. B cells, a type of white blood cell, are an important component of the immune system. These cells recognize and fight germs by producing a special type of protein called an antibody. Antibodies recognize and latch onto germs. This attachment is a key step in how the immune system protects from infection and fights infection. Working together, the many parts of the immune system play a vital role in maintaining health.

When the immune system is not working properly, however, it can cause illness rather than help maintain health. Systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE, is one of many diseases caused by abnormal immune system activity. In many people with lupus, certain B cells remain in the body longer than they should. These cells, called autoreactive B cells, play a role in causing lupus. Like other B cells, autoreactive B cells can produce antibodies. But the antibodies released by autoreactive B cells do not fight germs. Instead, these antibodies, which are called autoantibodies, attach to normal tissues inside the body. When this happens, the autoantibodies end up attacking your own body and tissues can become inflamed.

All of the cells of the immune system are influenced by chemical messengers. For example, one of the chemical messengers that binds to and helps the growth of B cells – including autoreactive B cells – is called BLyS. BLyS is short for B-lymphocyte stimulator. BENLYSTA works by binding to BLyS. When BENLYSTA is attached to BLyS, BLyS can no longer bind to and stimulate the autoreactive B cells. Adding BENLYSTA to your other lupus treatments may help reduce the abnormal immune system activity that contributes to disease activity in lupus.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need to take BENLYSTA with other lupus medicines?

    Yes. BENLYSTA is used to treat adults with lupus or lupus nephritis who are receiving other lupus medicines. It can be given by intravenous or subcutaneous dosing.

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  • How is BENLYSTA administered to adults with lupus nephritis?

    BENLYSTA can be administered in two ways. BENLYSTA is given by intravenous (IV) infusion every 2 weeks for the first three doses and then at 4-week intervals thereafter. BENLYSTA can also be injected subcutaneously as a 400-mg dose once a week for 4 weeks and then as a 200-mg dose weekly thereafter, either with an autoinjector or a prefilled syringe. 

    Learn more about dosing for BENLYSTA.

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  • What will my dosing be for BENLYSTA SC?

    The BENLYSTA SC dosing for LN is slightly different than it is for SLE.


    SC Autoinjector or Prefilled Syringe

    BENLYSTA SC is injected under the skin. After being trained you can inject yourself at home.

    BENLYSTA SC is taken once per week; however, your first 4 doses may be different. Only take BENLYSTA as instructed by your doctor. Preparation and injection take about 30 mins.

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  • How will my prescription for BENLYSTA SC be filled?

    Instead of being filled at your local pharmacy, your prescription for BENLYSTA SC will be filled by a specialty pharmacy. These pharmacies focus on certain conditions and particular medications.

    Learn more about working with your doctor and your specialty pharmacy.

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  • What are the most common side effects of BENLYSTA?

    The most common side effects of BENLYSTA are nausea, diarrhea, fever, stuffy or runny nose and sore throat, persistent cough, trouble sleeping, leg or arm pain, depression, headache, and pain, redness, itching, or swelling at the site of injection (when given subcutaneously).

    These are not all the possible side effects of BENLYSTA. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.


    Risks and side effects

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  • Can taking BENLYSTA make it easier for me to get an infection?

    Immunosuppressive agents, including BENLYSTA, can cause serious side effects. Infections could be serious, leading to hospitalization or death. Symptoms of an infection can include fever, urinating often, chills, coughing up mucus, pain or burning with urination, and warm, red, or painful skin or sores on your body. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the symptoms listed above while receiving BENLYSTA.

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Looking for coverage assistance?

When you start BENLYSTA treatment, you also have access to help in understanding your health insurance coverage with BENLYSTA Gateway & Co-pay Savings Program. LEARN ABOUT YOUR COVERAGE OPTIONS


Are you a caregiver, friend, or relative of someone with lupus nephritis?

We have created a page with tips and resources for you. LEARN ABOUT CAREGIVING