Understanding Lupus and Lupus Nephritis

Learn about the symptoms and impact of lupus and lupus nephritis on the body.

Elijah, real BENLYSTA patient compensated by GSK

In a clinical study in Black patients with lupus, a reduction in disease activity was seen but was not statistically significant. Ask your doctor about BENLYSTA.

What is lupus?

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or lupus, is a chronic autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks your 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.

Common symptoms of lupus include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue (feeling tired often)
  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness and swelling
  • Butterfly-shaped rash on the cheeks and bridge of the nose 
  • 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

This list is not all-inclusive, and BENLYSTA may not help with all of these symptoms. Consult your doctor to see if BENLYSTA is right for you.

Active lupus may cause severe flares if not treated properly.

Severe flares occur when lupus symptoms, or disease activity, worsen or when new ones appear. When severe flares occur, this means that there is a measurable increase in disease activity in one or more organ systems. Lupus affects everyone differently, and symptoms can change or look different over time. If you experience a flare of any new or existing symptom, it’s important to talk to your doctor.

What is lupus nephritis?

Lupus nephritis is a complication of lupus that causes the immune system to attack and inflame your kidneys. This inflammation can make it difficult for the kidneys to function properly. 

Lupus nephritis symptoms may not be apparent in the early stages. It’s important to let your doctor know of any lupus nephritis symptoms you may experience after being diagnosed with lupus.

Common symptoms of lupus nephritis include:

  • Sudden and unexplained swelling, especially in the extremities (feet, ankles, legs, fingers, arms) or the eyes
  • Blood in the urine
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Foamy or frothy urine

This list is not all-inclusive, and BENLYSTA may not help with all of these symptoms. Consult your doctor to see if BENLYSTA is right for you.


Icon: Lupus Disease Activity

5 Years

Lupus nephritis most often develops within 5 years of a lupus diagnosis

Icon: Patient population

40%

Approximately 40% of people with lupus will develop lupus nephritis

Understanding treatment options

Some lupus treatments (standard therapy) can help alleviate symptoms but do not target a specific underlying cause of lupus. These medications include immunosuppressants, corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and antimalarials. 

Image: BENLYSTA Patient Racquel

Racquel, real BENLYSTA patient compensated by GSK

Why add BENLYSTA?

BENLYSTA is the first and only FDA-approved treatment for both lupus and lupus nephritis. Talk to your doctor about adding BENLYSTA if:

  • You have been diagnosed with lupus and/or lupus nephritis
  • You are currently taking medications to treat your lupus and/or lupus nephritis
  • Your disease continues to be active

Learn More

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Frequently asked questions

  • Is lupus contagious?

    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 determined that a family history of lupus 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

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  • Who can get lupus?

    Roughly 5 million people worldwide have some form of lupus. Nine out of 10 adults with lupus are women, and women of childbearing age are most likely to develop the disease. Women of color are also more likely to develop lupus compared with Caucasian women.

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  • Is BENLYSTA right for me?

    If you’re living with lupus, it’s important to reduce disease activity and the risk of severe lupus flares. Managing your lupus starts with you. Ask yourself:

    • Have you already been diagnosed with lupus and/or lupus nephritis?
    • Are you currently taking medicines to help manage your lupus and/or lupus nephritis?
    • Has your lupus and/or lupus nephritis continued to be active?

    If you answered yes, it might be time to talk to your doctor about adding BENLYSTA to your treatment plan.

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