Banner: Questions About BENLYSTA

FAQs

Racquel

Actual patient
receiving BENLYSTA

In a clinical study in Black patients, a reduction in disease activity was seen but was not statistically significant. Consult your healthcare provider to see if BENLYSTA is right for you.

Frequently asked questions about lupus & BENLYSTA

Find answers to commonly asked questions about lupus and BENLYSTA (belimumab).

  • What are some common symptoms of lupus?

    Since SLE can affect many different parts of the body, it can cause a lot of different symptoms, and these symptoms may come and go. Also, symptoms may vary from one patient to the next.

    The most common signs and symptoms of lupus include fatigue (feeling tired often), fever, joint pain, stiffness and swelling, butterfly-shaped rash on the cheeks and bridge of the nose or rashes elsewhere on the body, sun sensitivity, fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods (Raynaud's phenomenon), shortness of breath, chest pain, dry eyes, headaches, and confusion and memory loss.

     

    Please note that this is not a complete list of all possible lupus symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms.

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  • What is SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus)?

    Systemic lupus erythematosus is a systemic autoimmune disease caused by your body's immune system attacking your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems, including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs.

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  • Who can get lupus? Do only women have lupus?

    Anyone can get lupus, but about 9 out of 10 cases of lupus are in women ages 15 to 44.

    Lupus is more common in women of color (African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American and Alaskan Native women). Researchers think that genes play a role in how lupus affects minority women.

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  • If I have questions about taking BENLYSTA, whom can I talk to?

    You can ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about BENLYSTA. Your BENLYSTA Cares support nurse* can also answer general questions about your treatment and provide you with additional resources to help with your lupus treatment.

     

    Call 1-877-4-BENLYSTA (1-877-423-6597), 8 am - 8 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

     

    *Nurses from BENLYSTA Cares do not give medical advice. They are only able to answer questions about BENLYSTA. These may include help with self-injections, guidance for getting BENLYSTA, answers about the co-pay program, and other general information. They will direct you to your healthcare provider for answers to other types of questions.

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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:

    • an autoinjector you self-inject, for adults

    • a prefilled syringe you self-inject, for adults

    • an intravenous (IV) infusion a healthcare provider administers, for adults and children ages 5 and above

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  • How does BENLYSTA work?

    In many people with lupus, certain white blood cells called autoreactive B cells (cells that react against the body) stay in the body longer than they should.

    One of the important proteins for the growth of these B cells is called B-lymphocyte stimulator, or BLyS. BENLYSTA works by binding to BLyS. When BENLYSTA is attached to BLyS, BLyS can no longer bind to and stimulate the autoreactive B cells.

     

    Get more information on how BENLYSTA works

     

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  • Who might be a candidate for treatment with BENLYSTA?

    BENLYSTA is not for everyone.

    Ask your doctor if BENLYSTA is right for you. Here are a few things you and your doctor may consider before prescribing BENLYSTA:

    • You have already been diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
    • You are currently taking medicines to help manage your lupus.
    • Your lupus has continued to be active.

     

    Other information to consider
    • It is not known if BENLYSTA is safe and effective in people with severe active lupus nephritis or severe active central nervous system lupus.

     

    BENLYSTA and pregnancy
    • Before you receive BENLYSTA, tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if BENLYSTA will harm your unborn baby.
    • You should talk to your healthcare provider about whether to prevent pregnancy while on BENLYSTA. If you choose to prevent pregnancy, you should use an effective method of birth control while receiving BENLYSTA and for at least 4 months after the final dose of BENLYSTA.
    Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant during your treatment with BENLYSTA or if you think you may be pregnant.
    • If you become pregnant while receiving BENLYSTA, talk to your healthcare provider about enrolling in the BENLYSTA Pregnancy Registry. You can enroll in this registry by calling 1-877-681-6296. The purpose of the registry is to monitor the health of you and your baby.
    • Tell your healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if BENLYSTA passes into your breast milk. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you will receive BENLYSTA and breastfeed.

     

    This is not the full list of the things your healthcare professional will need to consider before prescribing BENLYSTA. For more information, refer to the Medication Guide for BENLYSTA and talk to your doctor.

     

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  • Can I take BENLYSTA if I am pregnant or plan to become pregnant?

    Before you receive BENLYSTA, tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if BENLYSTA will harm your unborn baby.

    • You should talk to your healthcare provider about whether to prevent pregnancy while on BENLYSTA. If you choose to prevent pregnancy, you should use an effective method of birth control while receiving BENLYSTA and for at least 4 months after the final dose of BENLYSTA.

    Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant during your treatment with BENLYSTA or if you think you may be pregnant.

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  • What is the most important information I should 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. Please see Prescribing Information and Medication Guide for BENLYSTA.

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  • Can I stop taking my other medicines while on BENLYSTA?

    Talk to your doctor. You should not make any changes in your medication regimen without first consulting your doctor.

     

    BENLYSTA is used to treat children ages 5 and above and adults with active SLE who are receiving other lupus medicines. Intravenous dosing of BENLYSTA is approved for patients 5 years and older, and subcutaneous dosing is only approved for adults. It is not known if BENLYSTA is safe and effective in people with severe active lupus nephritis or severe active central nervous system lupus.

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  • Is BENLYSTA a steroid?

    No, BENLYSTA is a biologic, not a steroid. It is a protein that can help reduce abnormal immune system activity that contributes to lupus disease activity.

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  • How is BENLYSTA administered?

    For children ages 5 and above and adults, BENLYSTA can be administered by your healthcare provider through an IV infusion. It is given every 2 weeks for the first three doses and then every 4 weeks thereafter.

    For adults, BENLYSTA can also be self-injected once a week through a subcutaneous (SC) injection, either with an autoinjector or a prefilled syringe.

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  • What is the difference between the administration methods of BENLYSTA?

    BENLYSTA can be administered in two ways:

    • Intravenous (IV) infusion: It is given to you or your child by a healthcare provider through a needle placed in a vein. This infusion process takes about 1 hour. It is given every 2 weeks for the first three doses and then every 4 weeks thereafter.
    • Subcutaneous (SC) injection: For adults, BENLYSTA can also be administered through a subcutaneous injection once a week, either with an autoinjector or a prefilled syringe.

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  • How many patients were included in the clinical trials for BENLYSTA?

    BENLYSTA has been studied in different clinical trials involving more than 2,500 patients, over 1,100 of whom were treated with BENLYSTA. To date, the pediatric program has included 93 children.

    BENLYSTA has the largest SLE clinical trial program to date.

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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, pain, redness, itching, or swelling at the site of injection (when given subcutaneously).

     

    These are not all the possible side effects of BENLYSTA. Talk to your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects.

     

    Risks and side effects

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  • Can BENLYSTA have serious side effects?

    Immunosuppressive agents, including BENLYSTA, can cause serious side effects. Some of these side effects may cause death.

    • Infections
      Infections could be serious, leading to hospitalization or death.
    • Allergic (hypersensitivity) reactions
      Serious allergic reactions can happen on the day of, or in the days after, receiving BENLYSTA and may cause death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of an allergic reaction.
    • Mental health problems and suicide
    • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML): PML is a serious and life-threatening brain infection. Your chance of getting PML may be higher if you are treated with medicines that weaken your immune system, including BENLYSTA. PML can result in death or severe disability. If you notice any new or worsening medical problems such as those below, tell your healthcare provider right away: memory loss; trouble thinking; dizziness or loss of balance; difficulty talking or walking; loss of vision.
    • Cancer
       

    Please see Prescribing Information and Medication Guide for BENLYSTA for additional information.

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  • Is BENLYSTA chemotherapy?

    No, BENLYSTA is not chemotherapy – it's a biologic therapy, delivered either through an intravenous (IV) infusion or as a subcutaneous (SC) self-injection. It works by reducing certain cells in your immune system that can make lupus active.

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  • Will my insurance or Medicare cover the cost of BENLYSTA?

    Each insurance policy is different and costs depend on your individual plan.

    To understand your cost for BENLYSTA, contact your insurance company or call BENLYSTA Cares at 1-877-4-BENLYSTA (1-877-423-6597). BENLYSTA Cares will connect you with BENLYSTA Gateway, who can research your estimated cost for BENLYSTA under your insurance policy.

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  • What is the BENLYSTA Co-pay Program?

    The BENLYSTA Co-pay Program helps eligible approved patients with their out-of-pocket costs for BENLYSTA up to $15,000 for 12 months.  

    Patients enrolled in government-funded programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, VA, or TRICARE, are not eligible for the BENLYSTA Co-pay Program. Medicare-eligible patients who are enrolled in a government-subsidized retiree prescription drug benefit plan or an employer group waiver health plan are also ineligible for the co-pay program.  

    Patients must submit an enrollment form or complete eligibility check online at www.BenlystaCopayProgram.com so their eligibility can be determined. Click here for full Program Terms and Conditions

    Call 1-877-4-BENLYSTA (1-877-423-6597), 8 am - 8 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

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  • Who is eligible for the BENLYSTA Co-pay Program?

    You may be eligible for the program if:

    • You have a commercial medical or prescription insurance plan; or you are uninsured
    • You are a resident of the US (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands)

    You are not eligible for the program if:

    • You have a state or federal government-funded medical or prescription insurance plan such as Medicare, Medicaid, VA, or TRICARE.  Medicare-eligible patients who are enrolled in certain retiree drug benefit plans are also ineligible for the co-pay program. (Most patients become eligible for Medicare when they reach age 65)
    • You are enrolled in a commercial health plan that does not permit the use of co-pay assistance programs

     

    Click here for full Program Terms & Conditions.

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