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Belimumab (Injection)

Belimumab (be-LIM-ue-mab)

Treats lupus.

Brand Name(s):

Benlysta

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to belimumab.

How to Use This Medicine:

Injectable

  • Your doctor will prescribe your dose and schedule. This medicine is given through a needle placed in a vein.
  • A nurse or other health provider will give you this medicine.
  • This medicine must be given slowly, so the needle will remain in place for at least 1 hour. You may also receive medicines to help prevent possible allergic reactions to the injection.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Missed dose: You must use this medicine on a fixed schedule. Call your doctor or pharmacist if you miss a dose.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not use belimumab if you are also using cyclophosphamide.
  • Some medicines can affect how belimumab works. Tell your doctor if you are taking medicines that may weaken your immune system, such as cancer medicines or steroids (such as hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisone).
  • This medicine may interfere with vaccines. Ask your doctor before you get a flu shot or any other vaccines.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you are allergic to any medicine or have any kind of infection, a weak immune system, or a history of cancer, depression, or mental illness. Also tell your doctor if you have ever had an infection that would not go away or kept coming back.
  • Tell your doctor if you plan to become pregnant. Women who could potentially get pregnant while receiving this medicine must use an effective form of birth control during treatment and for at least 4 months after the last dose.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Infusion reaction while you are receiving it or right after the infusion ends
    • Increased risk for certain types of cancer
    • Increased risk for infections
    • Depression, or thoughts of suicide
  • Avoid being near people who are sick while you are receiving this medicine. Wash your hands often.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Anxiety, confusion, or depression
  • Bloody or cloudy urine, pain or burning when you urinate
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate
  • Chest pain
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Pain, itching, burning, swelling, bleeding, or a lump under your skin where the needle is placed
  • Severe headache
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Arm or leg pain
  • Diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite, or stomach pain
  • Trouble sleeping

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088


Last Updated: 7/4/2014


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