banner-living-with-lupus

Living With Lupus

 

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.

Lupus can be difficult to diagnose. And once it’s diagnosed, lupus can be life-changing. Discover how you can cope better with lupus by learning to understand the disease, the symptoms, and the impact lupus has on the body.

Icon: Doctor

What is Lupus? 

 

Lupus is a chronic auto-immune disease that involves your immune system.

 

Your immune system is like a bodyguard against invaders, such as viruses, bacteria, and other germs. Normally, your immune system works to fight off these invaders. But in the case of lupus, the immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s healthy tissues.

 

Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems, including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs.

icon-information

Lupus and the Immune System

 

The following terms may help you better understand lupus and how it can affect the immune system.

 

Normal Immune System: A normal immune system produces B cells, which make antibodies that destroy and control harmful substances, such as viruses, bacteria, and germs.

 

Normal B Cell: This type of white blood cell produces antibodies.

 

Antibody: Antibodies attach themselves to germs and try to control or destroy them.

 

BLyS: B Lymphocyte Stimulator (BLyS) is a protein that helps some cells grow healthy body tissue.

 

Germs: Viruses, bacteria, and other invaders.

 

Abnormal Immune System: With lupus, the immune system produces autoreactive B cells, which make a type of protein called autoantibodies. These autoantibodies attack your own body, leading to inflammation.

 

Autoantibody: While antibodies protect the body, autoantibodies work against the body.

 

Autoreactive B Cell: These are the “bad” version of B cells that make harmful autoantibodies.

 

Inflamed Body Tissue: A sign of lupus disease activity.

 

image-patient-on-hammock

 

Here, you can see how a healthy immune system attacks invaders, such as germs. In the case of lupus, autoantibodies attack healthy tissues, leading to inflammation.

Diagram: Normal Immune System
Diagram: abnormal Immune System

What Are the Most 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 between one patient to the next. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about your condition. The most common signs and symptoms of lupus include (this list is not all-inclusive)*:

  • Fatigue
  • 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
  • Confusion and memory loss

* BENLYSTA may not help with all these symptoms. Consult your healthcare provider to see if BENLYSTA is right for you.

What is lupus?

Learn more about lupus and its symptoms from rheumatologist Dr. Elaine Lambert.

TRANSCRIPT

NARRATOR:

Dr. Elaine Lambert answers the question “What is lupus?” But first, some Safety Information about BENLYSTA.

BENLYSTA is a prescription medication for adults with active systemic lupus erythematosus who are receiving other lupus medicines. You shouldn't receive BENLYSTA if you have severe active lupus nephritis or severe active central nervous system lupus, or if you're taking other biologics or intravenous cyclophosphamide

Please stay tuned for Safety Information about BENLYSTA. If you have any questions about BENLYSTA, please talk to your doctor, or call 1-877-4-BENLYSTA. Thank you for watching.

 

Dr. LAMBERT

Our immune system plays an important role in protecting us from infection. Lupus is a disease that results from abnormal activity in the immune system.

To understand lupus, it's helpful to first have an understanding of certain parts of the immune system known as white blood cells, B cells and antibodies.

White blood cells are cells in the bloodstream that recognize and help destroy germs such as viruses and bacteria that cause infections.

B cells are a specific type of white blood cells that produce antibodies, and antibodies are a type of protein that attach to the surface of germs. This attachment marks the germ as a foreign invader and this is a key step in the destruction and removal of germs from the body.

In people with lupus, certain B cells become autoreactive. What that means is these B cells release a type of antibody that attaches to healthy tissue instead of attaching to germs.

When this happens, the immune system attacks the healthy tissue. This immune system attack on healthy tissue can lead to disease activity in lupus.

 

NARRATOR

And now, Safety Information about BENLYSTA.

BENLYSTA is a prescription medication for adults with active systemic lupus erythematosus who are receiving other lupus medicines.

You shouldn't receive BENLYSTA if you have severe active lupus nephritis or severe active central nervous system lupus, or if you're taking other biologics or intravenous cyclophosphamide.

Serious side effects including death have occurred.

Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

Infections: such as fever, chills, coughing up mucus, pain or burning with urination, urinating often, or warm, red, or painful skin or sores on your body.

Heart problems: such as chest discomfort or pain, or shortness of breath.

Allergic reactions: itching, dizziness or fainting, swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat, headache, trouble breathing, anxiousness, nausea, low blood pressure, or skin rash.

Mental health problems: such as thoughts of suicide or dying, trouble sleeping, new or worse anxiety or depression, acting on dangerous impulses.

Serious allergic reactions can happen on the day of, or in the days after, receiving BENLYSTA and may cause death.

Call your doctor right away if you notice any new or worsening medical problems such as memory loss, trouble thinking, dizziness or loss of balance, difficulty talking or walking, or loss of vision.

BENLYSTA may reduce the activity of your immune system and may increase your risk of certain cancers or brain infection.

Before receiving BENLYSTA, talk to your doctor about your medical conditions, medicines you're taking, if you're nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant, and if you've recently received a vaccination or think you may need a vaccination.

Common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, fever, stuffy or runny nose and sore throat, cough, trouble sleeping, leg or arm pain, depression, headache, and pain, redness, itching, or swelling at the site of injection. These are not all the possible side effects of BENLYSTA.

Icon: Silhouette

Who Can Get Lupus?

 

Roughly 5 million people worldwide have some form of lupus.

 

Lupus occurs 10 times more often in women than in men, and women of childbearing age are most likely develop the disease.

 

Women of color are also more likely to develop lupus, compared to Caucasian women.

 

Lupus can be isolating. It is important to have people in your life that you can count on through the ups and down of your condition.

 

Build a support network  

Icon: How Do You Get Lupus?

How Do You Get Lupus?

 

The causes of lupus are not fully understood, though we know that lupus is not contagious. Scientists believe there are several factors that may cause a person to develop lupus, such as:

 

Genetics. Several genes that may cause lupus have been identified. It is known that if there is a family history of lupus, this may predispose a person to developing the disease.

 

Environment. Scientists are looking at the link between lupus and certain environmental factors, such as UV exposure, stress, viruses, and toxins.

 

Hormones. Because lupus affects a greater number of women than men, it is thought that hormones, particularly estrogen, might play a role in triggering the disease.

image-patient-doing-yoga

Lupus affects everyone differently

Learn about lupus from real BENLYSTA patients: Michelle, Morgan, and Susan.

TRANSCRIPT

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut gravida bibendum luctus. Curabitur pharetra auctor arcu ac maximus. Nunc dignissim velit sed eros iaculis imperdiet. Nunc faucibus augue quis lectus vulputate, non imperdiet velit consequat. Maecenas mollis lorem in mauris pretium sodales non quis lacus. Pellentesque condimentum molestie tortor, eget interdum sapien volutpat non. Phasellus varius metus et turpis sagittis vehicula. Cras feugiat luctus urna sed pretium. Morbi eget eros iaculis, vestibulum dui ut, scelerisque eros. Pellentesque vitae ipsum id metus facilisis porta eget id felis. Nullam tristique nibh vel imperdiet efficitur. Nullam at elementum nulla. Morbi placerat eros et mollis venenatis.

icon-more-information

Want to learn more about BENLYSTA, a treatment designed for lupus?

As you and your doctor consider BENLYSTA, it’s natural to have questions. To learn more about how BENLYSTA works, understand the financial help we offer, hear from others like you, and more, request our free BENLYSTA Information Kit.

Image: Group Playing Music

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.

There are a variety of support materials about lupus that may help you find the information you need.

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

 

Learn more about BENLYSTA

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Lupus is not a contagious disease. The causes of lupus are not completely understood; however, it is believed the following play a role:

     

    Genetics. Several genes have been identified as possibly causing lupus. 

     

    Family history. It has been established that, if there is a family history of lupus, this may predispose a person to developing the disease.

     

    Environment. Scientists are looking at the link between lupus and certain environmental factors, such as UV exposure, stress, viruses, and toxins.

     

    Hormones. It is thought that hormones, particularly estrogen, might play a role in triggering the disease. 

     

    Was this helpful?

    Yes, it was helpful.
    No, it was not helpful.
  • You and your healthcare provider are the best people to determine how long you should receive BENLYSTA. BENLYSTA may take time to work in the body.

    Was this helpful?

    Yes, it was helpful.
    No, it was not helpful.

See the BENLYSTA experience from their perspective

Real BENLYSTA patients share their experiences living with lupus and tips for starting BENLYSTA treatment.

WATCH THEIR STORIES NOW

Looking for a physician?

If you are looking to find a lupus physician to help you or a loved one take the next step with BENLYSTA, we are here to help. FIND A PHYSICIAN NEAR YOU