Benlysta is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s FDA-approved to treat:

  • A type of lupus called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). For this condition, Benlysta is prescribed for SLE that’s active and autoantibody-positive in adults and in children ages 5 years and older.
  • A type of nephritis (kidney inflammation) that’s caused by lupus. For this condition, Benlysta is prescribed for lupus nephritis that’s active in adults.

With lupus, your immune system attacks your body. The condition can cause symptoms such as joint pain, rash, fever, or kidney problems. If you have active lupus, it means you’re having symptoms of the disease. And having lupus that’s autoantibody positive means antibodies (proteins) activated by your immune system are attacking your body.

Benlysta is used in people who are already taking standard treatments for their lupus, such as a steroid like prednisone.

Drug details

Benlysta comes in these two forms:

  • A powder that’s mixed with liquid to form a solution. This form is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion into a vein in the arm. (An infusion is an injection into your vein that’s slowly dripped in over time.) This form can be used in adults and in children ages 5 years and older. And it’s available in two strengths: 120 milligrams (mg) and 400 mg.
  • A solution inside prefilled syringes and autoinjectors. This form is given as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under the skin) and is approved for use in adults only. It’s available in one strength: 200 mg per milliliter (mg/mL).

Benlysta belongs to a group of medications called biologics. These are drugs made from living cells. Specifically, Benlysta is a monoclonal antibody (a biologic drug made from immune system cells).

Limitations of use

Benlysta hasn’t been studied in people with severe active central nervous system lupus, which affects the central nervous system. Benlysta isn’t recommended as a treatment for this condition.

In addition, Benlysta hasn’t been tested for use with other biologic drugs. So, Benlysta isn’t recommended for use with other biologic drugs because it’s not known how safe or effective they are when taken together.

Effectiveness

To learn about Benlysta’s effectiveness, see the “Benlysta for lupus” section below.

Benlysta is available only as a brand-name medication. It’s a biologic drug that’s not currently available in a generic or biosimilar form.

Biologic drugs are made from living cells. A biosimilar drug is very similar to a brand-name biologic drug. However, biologic drugs can’t be copied exactly because they’re made of living cells. A generic drug, on the other hand, is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generic drugs are exact copies of brand-name medications that are made using chemicals in a lab.

Biosimilars may be available in a different form than the parent biologic drug. Biosimilar medications are considered to be as safe and effective as the original biologic drug is.

Generics and biosimilars both tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

Benlysta can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Benlysta. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

For more information on the possible side effects of Benlysta, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to report to the FDA a side effect you’ve had with Benlysta, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects of Benlysta can include:*

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Benlysta. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or visit Benlysta’s prescribing information.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Benlysta aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency phone number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (a rare but very serious brain infection). Symptoms can include:
    • trouble walking or coordinating your movements
    • vision loss
    • changes in your personality
    • trouble speaking
  • Allergic reaction.*
  • Serious infections.*
  • Depression or suicidal thoughts or behaviors.*

* For more information on these side effects, see “Side effect details” below.

Side effects in children

The form of Benlysta given by intravenous (IV) infusion is approved for use in children ages 5 years and older who have active SLE. In clinical trials, children taking Benlysta experienced the same side effects as adults taking the drug (see above).

The form of the drug given by subcutaneous injection isn’t approved for use in children. Therefore, children won’t experience injection site reactions, which are associated with the under-the-skin injection. However, they may still experience infusion reactions from receiving the drug through IV infusion.

Side effect details

You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug or whether certain side effects pertain to it. Here’s some detail on certain side effects this drug may or may not cause.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Benlysta.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (warmth and redness in your skin)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Serious allergic reactions have occurred in people taking Benlysta. In very rare cases, this has led to death. Usually, people who have allergic reactions experience them within a few hours after treatment. However, in some cases, it may take time for symptoms to develop.

In clinical trials:

  • 13% of people receiving Benlysta through by intravenous (IV) infusion had an allergic reaction
  • 11% of people receiving a placebo (a treatment with no active drug) through IV infusion had an allergic reaction
  • 0.6% of people receiving Benlysta through IV infusion had anaphylaxis (a very serious, sometimes life threatening allergic reaction)
  • 0.4% of people receiving a placebo through IV infusion had anaphylaxis

It’s not known how often anaphylaxis led to death in people using Benlysta or a placebo.

In clinical trials of adults taking Benlysta through subcutaneous injection, allergic reactions occurred at about the same rate as people taking the drug through IV infusion.

Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Benlysta. Call 911 or your local emergency phone number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious infections

Although it’s not common, developing serious infections is a possible side effect of Benlysta. And rarely, these infections have caused deaths. Examples of serious infections include upper respiratory infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs),

Symptoms vary depending on the type of infection you have. For example, symptoms of a UTI may include:

  • a burning feeling when urinating
  • urinating more often than normal
  • blood in your urine

Before you start taking Benlysta, be sure to tell your doctor if you have any severe or chronic (long-lasting) infections. Your doctor will determine if Benlysta is a safe treatment choice for you.

If you develop symptoms of an infection while taking Benlysta, tell your doctor right away. They may have you stop taking Benlysta until your infection goes away. Or, they may decide to try a different treatment for your condition.

Hair loss

Hair loss is a rare side effect some people may experience while taking Benlysta. In clinical trials, no one reported hair loss. However, since the drug was approved, three people have reported hair loss while taking Benlysta.

Specifically, the type of hair loss that was reported is called alopecia areata. People with this condition experience patchy hair loss, which can be on the scalp or other areas of the body. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease (like lupus). It causes your immune system to attack your hair follicles, preventing your hair from growing properly.

Although three cases of alopecia areata were reported in people taking Benlysta, it’s not known if the hair loss was caused by the drug. All three people had their hair grow back. Two of these people decided to stop taking Benlysta because of hair loss.

If you’re concerned about hair loss during your Benlysta treatment, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to decrease this side effect. Or they may recommend a different medication to treat your systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or lupus nephritis.

Depression

Some people may experience depression while taking Benlysta. In some cases, depression can be very serious and may severely affect a person’s life.

Symptoms of depression include feeling sad or alone, feeling hopeless, or losing enthusiasm in activities that you used to enjoy. Sometimes, depression can lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviors. So it is important to talk to your doctor right away if you are experiencing symptoms of depression.

Depression in clinical trials

In clinical trials of people taking either Benlysta or a placebo (a treatment with no active drug) through by intravenous (IV) infusion:

  • 16% of people taking Benlysta had a psychiatric event, such as depression
  • 12% of people taking a placebo had a psychiatric event
  • 0.4% of people of people taking Benlysta had serious depression*
  • 0.1% of people taking a placebo had serious depression

No one taking either Benlysta or a placebo died by suicide in the trials.

In clinical trials of people receiving either Benlysta or a placebo (a treatment with no active drug) through subcutaneous injection:

  • 6% of people taking Benlysta had a psychiatric event, such as depression
  • 11% of people taking a placebo also had a psychiatric event

There were no reports in either group of serious depression or deaths by suicide.

In clinical trials of Benlysta taken through IV infusion, people with a history of psychiatric disorders such as depression were included. However, in trials where the drug was given by subcutaneous injection, people with a history of psychiatric disorders weren’t included.

If you have concerns about your mental health while taking Benlysta, talk with your doctor before starting treatment. They’ll also monitor you for symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts or behaviors during your Benlysta treatment.

* Depression may be considered serious if you have thoughts of dying, hurting yourself, or hurting others.

Infusion or injection site reactions

Some people taking Benlysta may experience infusion or injection site reactions after getting their dose. In some cases, these can be very serious. It’s important to watch for symptoms of a reaction while you’re getting your medication and after you get your dose.

Infusion reactions

People taking the drug through by intravenous (IV) infusion may experience infusion reactions. Symptoms of infusion reactions include headache, nausea, and rash. In some cases, severe symptoms are possible. These include slow heart rate, muscle pain, or low blood pressure.

In clinical trials of people receiving either Benlysta or a placebo (a treatment with no active drug) through IV infusion:

  • 17% of people taking Benlysta had an infusion reaction, and 0.5% had a serious infusion reaction
  • 15% of people taking a placebo also had an infusion reaction, and 0.4% had a serious infusion reaction

In some cases, your doctor may give you medications to decrease your risk of having an infusion or injection site reaction. In clinical trials, about 13% of people receiving Benlysta through IV infusion took medication before their infusion to try to lower their risk for a reaction. However, it’s not known for sure if this is an effective way to decrease your risk for an infusion reaction or injection site reaction.

If you do experience an infusion reaction, your doctor may decrease the speed of your infusion or may stop it altogether. Talk with your doctor about any infusion reactions you experience while taking Benlysta. They can determine how serious these reactions are and can recommend ways to prevent the reactions from occurring.

Injection site reactions

People taking Benlysta by subcutaneous injection may have a reaction where the drug is injected. These are called injection site reactions and may include symptoms such as pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site.

In clinical trials of people taking either Benlysta or a placebo (a treatment with no active drug) by subcutaneous injection:

  • 6.1% of people using Benlysta had an injection site reaction
  • 2.5% of people using a placebo had an injection site reaction

If you experience injection site reactions that are bothersome to you, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to decrease these side effects.

Weight gain or weight loss (not side effects)

Changes in weight, such as weight gain or weight loss, weren’t reported in people taking Benlysta during clinical trials.

If you experience changes in your weight, talk with your doctor. In some cases, changes in weight may be related to side effects from taking Benlysta. For example, weight loss may be a symptom of a serious infection. Weight loss or gain may also be a symptom of depression.

If you notice any weight loss or gain while taking Benlysta, talk with your doctor. They can help determine what’s causing the change in your weight and suggest any steps you should take.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Benlysta to treat certain conditions. Benlysta may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Benlysta for systemic lupus erythematosus

Benlysta is FDA-approved to treat a type of lupus called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Benlysta is used for SLE that is active and autoantibody positive.

If you have active lupus, it means you’re having symptoms of the disease. Having lupus that’s autoantibody positive means antibodies (proteins) activated by your immune system attack your body. Benlysta is approved for use in people who are already taking standard treatments for their lupus, such as a steroid like prednisone.

With lupus, your immune system attacks your body. It can cause swelling in your organs and other tissues. Symptoms of lupus include:

  • a butterfly rash on your face
  • fever
  • fatigue (lack of energy)
  • pain in your joints
  • headache
  • confusion
  • problems with organs, such as your kidneys not working properly

For this condition, Benlysta is approved for use in adults and in children ages 5 years and older.

Effectiveness for SLE

Clinical studies have shown that Benlysta is an effective medication for treating lupus. Benlysta was studied using the SLE Responder Index (SRI). This assessment uses three other tests to determine how severe someone’s lupus symptoms are.

Specifically, clinical studies for Benlysta studied how many people had an SRI-4. This means that people had:

  • A decrease by 4 or more points in the Safety of Estrogens in Lupus Erythematosus: National Assessment Version of the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SELENA-SLEDAI) score. A decrease in this score shows a drop in SLE activity, which is measured using a physical exam plus urine and blood tests.
  • No new British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) A organ score or two new BILAG B organ scores. This score looks at SLE activity in people’s organs. An “A” score indicates a severe form of the disease. A “B” score indicates a moderate form of the disease. A new score means you have a flare-up of your disease symptoms.
  • No decrease in the Physician’s Global Assessment (PGA) score. A decrease in this score means that a person’s SLE has gotten worse.

In clinical studies, the two forms of Benlysta were studied in adults. At the end of the 1-year studies:

  • 43% to 58% of people taking Benlysta through intravenous (IV) infusion plus their standard treatment reached an SRI-4
  • 34% to 44% of people taking a placebo (a treatment with no active drug) through IV infusion and their standard treatment reached an SRI-4
  • 61% of people taking Benlysta through subcutaneous injection and their standard treatment reached an SRI-4
  • 48% of people taking a placebo through subcutaneous injection and their standard treatment reached an SRI-4

Benlysta for lupus nephritis

Benlysta is FDA-approved to treat a type of nephritis (kidney inflammation) that’s caused by lupus. This condition is called lupus nephritis. Benlysta is used for lupus nephritis that’s active. If you have active lupus nephritis, it means you’re having symptoms of the disease.

Benlysta is approved for use in people who are already taking standard treatments, such as a steroid like prednisone, for their lupus nephritis.

With lupus, your immune system attacks your body. It can cause swelling in your organs, such as your kidneys. Symptoms of lupus nephritis can include:

For this use, Benlysta is approved for use in adults.

Effectiveness for lupus nephritis

Clinical studies have shown that Benlysta is an effective medication for treating lupus nephritis. Benlysta was studied in people with active nephritis due to lupus. The following kidney tests were done to check the health of their kidneys with treatment:

  • ratio of protein and creatinine (a waste product from your body) in urine
  • estimated glomerular filtration rate (a test that shows how well your kidneys are filtering waste from your body)

After 104 weeks of treatment, the following percentages of people had certain desired results on the tests listed above:

  • 43% of people taking Benlysta through intravenous (IV) infusion plus their standard treatment
  • 32% of people taking a placebo (a treatment with no active drug) plus their standard treatment regimen

Limitations of use

Benlysta hasn’t been studied in people with severe active central nervous system lupus, which affects the central nervous system. Benlysta isn’t recommended as a treatment for this condition.

In addition, Benlysta hasn’t been tested for use with other biologic drugs. So, Benlysta isn’t recommended for use with other biologic drugs because it’s not known how safe or effective they are when taken together.

Benlysta and children

The form of Benlysta given by intravenous (IV) injection is approved for use in children ages 5 years and older who have active SLE. However, the form given by subcutaneous injection isn’t approved in children.

In clinical studies over 1 year, researchers looked at how many people had an SRI-4. (See section above for more information on how SRI-4 is measured.) In the studies:

  • 53% of children taking Benlysta and their standard treatment reached an SRI-4
  • 44% of children taking a placebo and their standard treatment reached an SRI-4

In addition to the use listed above, Benlysta may be used off-label for other purposes. Off-label drug use is when a drug that’s approved for one or more uses is prescribed for a different one that’s not approved. Below is an example of an off-label use for Benlysta.

Benlysta for rheumatoid arthritis (off-label use)

Benlysta isn’t approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). But it may be used off-label for this condition. (With off-label use, a drug is used to treat a condition that it isn’t approved to treat.)

One small study showed that Benlysta may have some benefit in treating RA. But larger studies are still needed to confirm these results.

If you have additional questions about using Benlysta for RA, talk with your doctor. They’ll work to determine the best treatment plan for you.

As with all medications, the cost of Benlysta can vary. To find current prices for Benlysta injections in your area, check out WellRx.com.

The cost you find on WellRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

It’s important to note that you’ll have to get Benlysta autoinjectors at a specialty pharmacy. This type of pharmacy is authorized to carry specialty medications. These are drugs that may be expensive or may require help from healthcare professionals to be used safely and effectively.

Benlysta intravenous (IV) infusions are usually given at a doctor’s office or infusion center. But in some cases, they’re given at home by a home health nurse. Drugs given by infusion are usually obtained by a healthcare provider. If you’re receiving Benlysta by IV infusion and you have questions about purchasing the medication, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Before approving coverage for Benlysta, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Benlysta, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Benlysta, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.

GSK, the manufacturer of Benlysta, offers Benlysta Gateway and the Benlysta Co-pay Program. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, call 877-423-6597 or visit the program website.

Biosimilar version

Benlysta is a biologic drug. It’s not currently available in biosimilar form.

Biologic drugs are made using living cells. It’s not possible for drug companies to produce exact copies of these drugs. A biosimilar drug is a very similar version of the parent brand-name biologic drug. However, it’s not identical. Biosimilar drugs are made to treat the same conditions as their parent drug. They are considered to be as safe and effective as the parent drug. Biosimilars also tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

The Benlysta dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • your weight (doses are determined by your weight in kilograms, such as 10 mg/kg)
  • your reaction to Benlysta in the past
  • the form of Benlysta you take
  • other medical conditions you may have

Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Benlysta comes in these two forms:

  • A powder that’s mixed with liquid to form a solution. This form is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion into a vein in the arm. (An infusion is an injection into your vein that’s slowly dripped in over time). Benlysta powder comes in vials containing either 120 milligrams (mg) or 400 mg of the drug.
  • A solution inside prefilled syringes and autoinjectors. This form is given as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under the skin). The syringe or autoinjector contains 200 mg of the drug.

Dosage for lupus

The Benlysta dosage for treating systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or lupus nephritis varies with the form of the drug you use.

IV infusion

For Benlysta given by IV infusion, your dose is based on your body weight. The normal dose is 10 mg/kg of weight. Therefore, in someone who weighs 150 lb (68 kg), their dose would be 680 mg. It’s usually takes about an hour to receive the dose by infusion. You’ll get your dose in your doctor’s office or in the hospital.

When you first start taking Benlysta by IV infusion, you’ll get a dose every 2 weeks. After the first three doses, you’ll only need to get a dose once every 4 weeks.

When a drug’s dosage is higher at the start of treatment, it’s called a loading dose. A loading dose is used to quickly get the drug into your body at levels high enough for it to begin working to treat your condition. Without a loading dose, Benlysta would take a long time to start working.

In some cases, your doctor may give you medications before the infusion to lower your risk of having an infusion reaction. These are called premedications, and they may include drugs such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and acetaminophen (Tylenol). These medications may be given to prevent infusion reactions, such as a rash or fever.

Subcutaneous injection

A subcutaneous injection is an injection given under the skin. The dosage for Benlysta given this way isn’t based on your weight. Instead, it’s based on the condition you’re treating. This form of Benlysta is only approved for adults.

If you take Benlysta by subcutaneous injection, you’ll likely get your first dose at your doctor’s office or in the hospital. This is to make sure you don’t experience any serious reactions to the injection. After that, your doctor may teach you or your caregiver how to give the injection at home. In this case, the manufacturer’s website has a video and step-by-step instructions to explain how to inject Benlysta.

You’ll inject Benlysta into your abdomen (belly) or thigh. You should rotate where you give the injection each week. Also, don’t inject your dose into areas that are red, bruised, or tender.

Talk with your doctor if you’re interested in using the Benlysta injections at home.

Subcutaneous injection for SLE

For SLE, your dose is 200 mg injected under your skin once per week.

Subcutaneous injection for lupus nephritis

For lupus nephritis, your dose is 400 mg injected under your skin once per week for 4 weeks. (You’ll use either two prefilled syringes or two prefilled autoinjectors for each dose.)

Then, you’ll take 200 mg each week going forward.

Pediatric dosage

The only approved form of Benlysta for children is that given by intravenous (IV) infusion. It’s approved for use in children ages 5 years and older.

For children taking Benlysta, the dose is based on their body weight. The usual dose is 10 mg/kg of weight. Therefore, in a child who weighs 44 lb (20 kg), their dose would be 200 mg. It usually takes about an hour to receive the dose by infusion. Children will get their dose in their doctor’s office or the hospital.

When your child first starts taking Benlysta by IV infusion, they’ll get a dose every 2 weeks. After the first three doses, they’ll only need to get a dose once every 4 weeks.

When a drug’s dosage is higher at the start of treatment, it’s called a loading dose. A loading dose is used to quickly get the drug into your body at levels high enough for it to begin working to treat your condition. Without a loading dose, Benlysta would take a long time to start working.

Your child’s doctor may give them medications before the infusion to lower their risk of having an infusion reaction. These are called premedications, and they may include drugs such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and acetaminophen (Tylenol). These medications may be given to prevent infusion reactions, such as a rash or fever.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss your appointment to get your intravenous (IV) dose of Benlysta, call your doctor right away. They’ll probably have you schedule another appointment as soon as possible so that you don’t have an interruption in your treatment.

If you’re taking Benlysta by subcutaneous injection (an injection under the skin) and you miss your dose, call your doctor or pharmacist. They will usually recommend that you take your dose as soon as you remember. In some cases, they may recommend continuing your dose on your regular dosing days. However, in other cases, they may recommend changing your dosing days so that you don’t get two doses too close together.

You should never take two doses on the same day to try to make up for a missed dose. Doing so could raise your risk for serious side effects.

To help make sure you don’t miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Benlysta is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Benlysta is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

Benlysta is FDA-approved to treat:

  • A type of lupus called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). For this condition, Benlysta is prescribed for SLE that’s active and autoantibody-positive.
  • A type of nephritis (kidney inflammation) that’s caused by lupus. For this condition, Benlysta is prescribed for lupus nephritis that’s active.

What happens with lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means that it affects your immune system. (Your immune system protects your body against infection and disease.) For more information about SLE and lupus nephritis, see the “Benlysta for lupus” section above.

If you have active lupus, it means you’re having symptoms of the disease.

Having lupus that’s autoantibody positive means antibodies (proteins) activated by your immune system attack your body.

Benlysta is approved for use in people who are already taking standard treatments for their lupus, such as a steroid like prednisone.

What Benlysta does

Benlysta belongs to a group of medications called monoclonal antibodies. These are biologic drugs made from immune system cells. Specifically, Benlysta is a B-lymphocyte stimulator blocker. B-lymphocyte stimulators produce autoantibodies, which are proteins in your blood that attack your body.

By blocking those B-lymphocyte stimulators, Benlysta decreases the amount of autoantibodies you have. Having fewer autoantibodies can help relieve your lupus symptoms.

How long does it take to work?

Benlysta will start working after your first dose. However, in some people, it may take a few doses before you notice improvements in your lupus symptoms.

Never stop taking Benlysta without first talking with your doctor. If you want to stop taking the drug because of negative side effects, your doctor can help determine the best way to end your treatment. They may also prescribe a different medication for you to take instead.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Benlysta.

Is Benlysta a chemotherapy drug?

No, Benlysta isn’t a chemotherapy drug. It’s a type of drug called a monoclonal antibody (a biologic drug made from immune system cells).

People with lupus have an immune system that attacks their body. Benlysta works by weakening your immune system, which can help relieve your lupus symptoms.

Chemotherapy drugs kill cells in your body that grow rapidly. Cancer cells are usually fast-growing cells, so they’re affected by chemotherapy. However, some healthy cells (like hair cells) are also fast growing. Chemotherapy can also affect these growing healthy cells, which is why chemotherapy drugs can cause many side effects.

Because Benlysta works in a specific part of your immune system, it may cause fewer side effects than a chemotherapy drug.

Can I take Benlysta with antibiotics?

There are no known drug interactions between Benlysta and antibiotics. However, because Benlysta can weaken your immune system, it shouldn’t be taken while you have a serious infection. In some cases, your doctor may monitor you more closely if you have an infection and are taking Benlysta.

In some cases, your doctor will have you stop taking Benlysta if your infection is serious. You may be able to restart the medication once your infection has healed.

If you currently have any infections, talk with your doctor before you start treatment with Benlysta. Your doctor will treat your infection before you start taking Benlysta.

If I’m having surgery, can I still use Benlysta?

Yes, you can still take Benlysta if you’re having surgery. There are no recommendations about stopping treatment for surgery.

Some biologic drugs may weaken your immune system. This can make it harder for you to heal after a major surgery. However, this isn’t a risk with Benlysta (even though it’s a biologic). Be sure to talk with your doctor about all medications you take before your surgery.

Does Benlysta help with fatigue from lupus?

Yes. Benlysta can help relieve your lupus symptoms, including fatigue (lack of energy). Clinical studies have shown that people taking Benlysta may have significantly less fatigue compared with people taking a placebo (a treatment with no active drug).

It’s important to note that people’s reaction to the drug may vary. Talk with your doctor about how Benlysta may help relieve your symptoms of lupus, including fatigue.

Why would my doctor recommend Benlysta infusions instead of subcutaneous injections?

Benlysta can be given in two ways: as an intravenous (IV) infusion that goes into your vein, or as a subcutaneous injection that goes under your skin. Both treat your lupus. However, your doctor may recommend one over the other based on your specific situation.

There may be pros and cons to each option, depending on what’s important to you. IV infusions of Benlysta must be given in a hospital or in your doctor’s office. However, after your first few doses, you only need to get a dose of Benlysta every 4 weeks. In comparison, people taking the subcutaneous injection need to inject it once a week.

If you receive Benlysta by IV infusion, you’re only at risk for an infusion reaction once a month. However, if you receive Benlysta by subcutaneous injection, you may be at risk for injection reactions each week.

Talk with your doctor about whether IV infusions or subcutaneous injections of Benlysta are best for you. They can discuss the benefits and risks of each with you.

How can I keep track of my injection sites while using Benlysta?

If you’re taking Benlysta by subcutaneous injection, it’s very important that you keep track of where you’re injecting the drug each week. This is because you should rotate where you inject each week to prevent scar tissue from forming. You should also not inject into areas that are bruised or tender.

The Benlysta manufacturer provides a free diary to track where you inject your dose each week. You can also use the diary to keep track of how you’re feeling and if you have any notes or questions to ask your doctor. This is helpful to bring to your doctor appointments, so you can discuss any side effects you’re experiencing and if the drug is helping your symptoms.

Will I have side effects if I stop taking Benlysta?

No, Benlysta shouldn’t cause any side effects when you stop taking it. However, while you’re taking Benlysta, your symptoms may be decreased. Once you stop taking the drug, your lupus symptoms (such as tiredness, rash, or joint pain) may come back.

Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about ending your Benlysta treatment.

Benlysta can be given in two ways: as an intravenous (IV) infusion or as a subcutaneous injection. (An IV infusion is an injection into your vein that’s slowly dripped in over time. A subcutaneous injection is given under your skin.)

By IV infusion

The Benlysta form used for IV infusion comes as a powder that’s mixed with liquid to make a solution. The solution is given by infusion into a vein in the arm. This form can be used in adults and in children ages 5 years and older.

If you’re taking Benlysta by IV infusion, you’ll likely need to get your medication at your doctor’s office or a hospital. It usually takes about an hour to get your full dose of Benlysta by infusion. Your doctor or nurse will mix the medication before they give you the dose.

You may also be able to receive Benlysta as an IV infusion at home from a home health nurse. Talk with your doctor if you’re interested in learning more about this option.

By subcutaneous injection

Benlysta also comes in a syringe or autoinjector that already has the liquid medication in it. This form is given as a subcutaneous injection and is approved for use in adults only.

If you take Benlysta by subcutaneous injection, in most cases you’ll get your first dose at your doctor’s office or in the hospital. This is to make sure you don’t experience any serious reactions to the injection. After that, your doctor may teach you or your caregiver how to give the injection at home. In this case, the manufacturer’s website has a video and step-by-step instructions to explain how to inject Benlysta.

You’ll inject Benlysta into your abdomen (belly) or thigh. You should rotate where you give the injection each week. Also, don’t inject your dose into areas that are red, bruised, or tender.

Talk with your doctor if you’re interested in using the Benlysta injections at home.

When to have your dose

If you’re taking Benlysta by IV infusion, you’ll likely get a dose every 2 weeks for the first three doses of your treatment. After that, you’ll only need to get one dose every 4 weeks.

If you’re receiving a subcutaneous injection of the drug, you’ll get one dose every week. You should inject your dose on the same day each week. This is so you always have about the same amount of medication in your body.

To help make sure you don’t miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.

It’s not known if Benlysta is safe to take during pregnancy.

Monoclonal antibodies, such as belimumab (the active drug in Benlysta), may affect the immune system of a fetus exposed to the drug.

In animal studies, there was no increased risk of harm to the fetus when the mother was taking Benlysta.

Although there was no higher risk of harm to a fetus, these animal studies did show weakened immune systems of offspring born to mothers taking Benlysta. However, their immune systems returned to normal within 3 to 12 months after birth. It’s important to note that animal studies don’t always reflect what will happen in humans.

There are also risks to the mother’s health if lupus is left untreated. Benlysta should only be used during pregnancy if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Pregnancy registry

There is a pregnancy registry to collect information on whether Benlysta affects pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking Benlysta, you or your doctor can sign you up for the registry by calling 877-681-6296.

It’s not known if Benlysta is safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using Benlysta.

For more information about taking Benlysta during pregnancy, see the “Benlysta and pregnancy” section above.

For women using Benlysta

If you’re a woman who could become pregnant, you may wish to prevent pregnancy while taking Benlysta. It’s not known if Benlysta is safe during pregnancy. Therefore, if you wish to prevent pregnancy, you should use an effective form of birth control, such as birth control pills, during your treatment. You’ll also need to use birth control for at least 4 months after your last dose of Benlysta.

For men using Benlysta

There are no recommendations for birth control from the manufacturer of Benlysta for men taking the medication. If you’re a man using Benlysta and you’re sexually active with a female who could become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs.

It isn’t known if Benlysta is safe to take while breastfeeding. In animal studies, Benlysta did pass into breast milk. However, animal studies don’t always predict what will happen in humans.

If you’re currently breastfeeding, talk with your doctor before taking Benlysta.

Other drugs are available that can treat lupus. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Benlysta, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed here are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Alternatives for lupus

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) include:

Another medication, anifrolumab, is currently being studied to treat SLE. However, at this time, anifrolumab isn’t approved by the FDA.

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat lupus nephritis include:

  • azathioprine (Imuran)
  • corticosteroids, such as prednisone
  • cyclophosphamide
  • mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept)

You may wonder how Benlysta compares with other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Benlysta and Plaquenil are alike and different.

Ingredients

The active drug in Benlysta is belimumab. The active drug in Plaquenil is hydroxychloroquine.

Uses

Here is a list of conditions that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Benlysta and Plaquenil to treat.

  • Benlysta and Plaquenil are both FDA-approved to treat:
    • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This is a type of lupus. Benlysta is used to treat SLE that’s autoantibody positive in people who are already taking standard treatments for their SLE. It can be used in adults and in children who are ages 5 years or older. For treating SLE, Plaquenil is approved for use in adults only.
  • Benlysta is also FDA-approved to treat:
    • Lupus nephritis. This condition is a type of kidney inflammation that’s caused by lupus. Benlysta is used in adults to treat lupus nephritis that’s already being treated with standard treatments.
  • Plaquenil is also FDA-approved to treat:
    • Malaria. Plaquenil is used to both prevent and treat this disease.

Drug forms and administration

Benlysta comes in two forms:

  • A powder that’s mixed with liquid to form a solution. This form is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion into a vein in the arm. (An infusion is an injection into your vein that’s slowly dripped in over time.) This form can be used in adults and in children ages 5 years and older. This form is taken every 2 weeks for the first three doses. After that, it’s taken once every 4 weeks.
  • A solution inside prefilled syringes and autoinjectors. This form is given as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under the skin) and is approved for use in adults only. This form of Benlysta is given once every week.

Plaquenil is available as a tablet that’s taken by mouth. It’s taken either once or twice a day.

Side effects and risks

Benlysta and Plaquenil have some similar side effects and others that differ. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with Benlysta, with Plaquenil, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Benlysta:
    • pain in your arms or legs
    • infusion or injection site reactions, such as redness or pain
    • fever
    • migraine
  • Can occur with Plaquenil:
    • muscle pain
    • dizziness
    • belly cramps
    • vomiting
    • decreased appetite or weight loss
  • Can occur with both Benlysta and Plaquenil:
    • nausea or diarrhea

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Benlysta, with Plaquenil, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

Effectiveness

Benlysta and Plaquenil have different FDA-approved uses, but they’re both used to treat SLE.

These drugs haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies. However, studies have found both Benlysta and Plaquenil to be effective for treating SLE.

Benlysta is usually taken along with standard treatments for SLE. Therefore, in some cases, Benlysta may be taken along with Plaquenil.

Costs

According to estimates on WellRx.com, Benlysta costs significantly more than Plaquenil. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Benlysta and Plaquenil are both brand-name drugs. There is a generic form of Plaquenil called hydroxychloroquine. There is no biosimilar drug available for Benlysta. A biosimilar is a drug that’s similar to a biologic. Benlysta is a biologic drug, which means it’s made from living cells. Generics, on the other hand, are made with chemicals in a lab.

Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics or biosimilars.

Like Plaquenil (above), CellCept has uses similar to those of Benlysta. Here’s a comparison of how these drugs are alike and different.

Ingredients

The active drug in Benlysta is belimumab. The active drug in CellCept is mycophenolate mofetil.

Uses

Benlysta is FDA-approved to treat active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This is a type of lupus. Benlysta is used to treat SLE that’s autoantibody positive in people who are already taking standard treatments for their SLE. It can be used in adults and in children who are ages 5 years or older.

Benlysta is also approved to treat active lupus nephritis. This condition is a type of kidney inflammation that’s caused by lupus. Benlysta is used in adults to treat lupus nephritis that’s already being treated with standard treatments.

CellCept is FDA-approved to prevent organ rejection in people receiving an organ transplant. Specifically, it can be used in people who had kidney, heart, or liver transplants.

Although it’s not FDA-approved to treat people with lupus, CellCept is included in the guidelines for treating SLE. Therefore, it may be used off-label to treat this condition.

Drug forms and administration

Benlysta comes in two forms:

  • A powder that’s mixed with liquid to form a solution. This form is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion into a vein in the arm. (An infusion is an injection into your vein that’s slowly dripped in over time.) This form can be used in adults and in children ages 5 years and older. It’s taken once every 2 weeks for the first three doses. After that, it’s taken once every 4 weeks.
  • A solution inside prefilled syringes and autoinjectors. This form is given as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under the skin) and is approved for use in adults only. This form is taken once every week.

CellCept comes as a tablet or capsule. Both forms are taken by mouth. Because this medication isn’t FDA-approved for treating SLE, there is no approved dosing schedule for it.

Side effects and risks

Benlysta and CellCept have some similar side effects and others that differ. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with Benlysta, with CellCept, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Benlysta:
    • nausea
    • fever
    • pain in your arms or legs
    • infusion or injection site reactions such as redness or pain
  • Can occur with CellCept:
    • vomiting
    • low amount of white blood cells
  • Can occur with both Benlysta and CellCept:
    • diarrhea
    • infections

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Benlysta, with CellCept, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

* CellCept has boxed warnings for these side effects. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Effectiveness

Benlysta and CellCept have different FDA-approved uses, but they’re both used to treat people with SLE.

These drugs haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies. However, studies have found Benlysta to be effective for treating SLE. Also, Benlysta and CellCept are both recommended in treatment guidelines for SLE.

Costs

According to estimates on WellRx.com, Benlysta costs significantly more than CellCept. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Benlysta and CellCept are both brand-name drugs. There is a generic form of CellCept called mycophenolate mofetil. There is no biosimilar drug available for Benlysta. A biosimilar is a drug that is similar to a biologic. Benlysta is a biologic drug, which means it’s made from living cells. Generics, on the other hand, are made with chemicals in a lab.

Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics or biosimilars.

There are no known interactions between Benlysta and alcohol. However, you’ll take other drugs along with Benlysta to treat your systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or lupus nephritis.

Some of these drugs may interact with alcohol. For example, people taking methotrexate (Trexall) shouldn’t drink alcohol. This is because methotrexate and alcohol may both affect your liver. Drinking alcohol while taking methotrexate could cause serious side effects.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much (if any) it’s safe to drink during your treatment.

Benlysta is not known to interact with other medications. It’s also not known to interact with supplements or certain foods. However, this drug may interact with certain vaccines.

Before taking Benlysta, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Benlysta and vaccines

Certain vaccines may interact with Benlysta. Therefore, you shouldn’t get any live vaccines within 30 days before starting Benlysta or while taking the drug.

Live vaccines contain a small amount of the virus that the vaccine is trying to protect against. Because Benlysta may weaken your immune system, your body may not be able to fight the virus in live vaccines. This means that the vaccines may cause you to become sick.

Your doctor will have you wait 30 days to start your treatment if you get a live vaccine before taking Benlysta. Your doctor can also help make sure you’re up to date on any needed vaccines before your Benlysta treatment.

Examples of live vaccines include:

Inactive vaccines

It’s possible that Benlysta may also make inactive vaccines less effective. These are vaccines without live virus in them, so they can’t make you sick. However, inactive vaccines need your immune system to work properly for them to protect you. Because Benlysta can weaken your immune system, it may prevent inactive vaccines from being effective.

Examples of inactivated vaccines include:

Talk with your doctor about any vaccines you may need before you start taking Benlysta. They can help you catch up on any vaccines before starting treatment.

Benlysta is approved to be used along with other medications to treat lupus.

In clinical trials, people took Benlysta with:

  • steroids, such as prednisone
  • antimalarial drugs, such as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
  • drugs that decrease the activity of your immune system, such as:
    • azathioprine (Imuran)
    • mycophenolate (CellCept)
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Advil (ibuprofen)

Your doctor will likely prescribe other medications along with Benlysta to treat lupus.

But it’s important to note that Benlysta hasn’t been studied for use with other biologic drugs. It’s not known if Benlysta is safe to take along with these medications. Be sure to tell your doctor about any other medications you’re taking before your Benlysta treatment.

Benlysta with premedications

If you’re taking Benlysta by IV injection, your doctor may have you take premedications before your infusion. Premedications are drugs such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and acetaminophen (Tylenol). These medications may be given to prevent infusion reactions, such as a rash or fever.

Talk with your doctor about any premedications you should take before your first dose of Benlysta.

This drug comes with several precautions. Before taking Benlysta, talk with your doctor about your health history. Benlysta may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Current infections. If you have an infection, your doctor will treat the infection before you start taking Benlysta. This is because Benlysta may weaken your immune system, which can make it harder for your body to fight off the infection. Be sure to tell your doctor about any infections you have before you start taking Benlysta.
  • History of depression or suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Benlysta may raise your risk for depression or suicidal thoughts or behaviors. If you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or behaviors, you may be at increased risk for these symptoms getting worse. Talk with your doctor if you have any history of depression or suicidal thoughts. Your doctor may monitor you more often while you’re taking Benlysta to be sure that your symptoms don’t worsen or come back.
  • Recent vaccinations. You shouldn’t get any live vaccines within 30 days before starting Benlysta or while taking the drug. Live vaccines contain a small amount of the virus that the vaccine is trying to prevent. Because Benlysta may weaken your immune system, your body may not be able to fight the virus in live vaccines. This means that the vaccines may cause you to become sick. Your doctor will have you wait 30 days to start your treatment if you get a live vaccine before taking Benlysta. Your doctor can also help make sure you’re up to date on any needed vaccines before your Benlysta treatment.
  • History of cancer. It’s not known if Benlysta may increase your risk for developing cancer. Because the drug may weaken your immune system, it’s possible that it may increase your cancer risk. However, clinical trials haven’t shown an increased risk. If you have a history of cancer, tell your doctor before you start taking Benlysta. They may monitor you more closely to make sure your cancer isn’t coming back.
  • Taking other biologic medications. Benlysta hasn’t been studied along with other biologic medications (such as such as monoclonal antibodies). Therefore, it’s not known if the drug is safe for people taking these other treatments. If you’re taking other biologic drugs, talk with your doctor before starting Benlysta. They may recommend a different medication to treat your systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or lupus nephritis.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Benlysta or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take Benlysta. Ask your doctor which other medications are better options for you.
  • Pregnancy. It’s not known if Benlysta is safe to take during pregnancy. For more information, see the “Benlysta and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It’s unknown whether Benlysta is safe to take while breastfeeding. For more information, see the “Benlysta and breastfeeding” section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Benlysta, see the “Benlysta side effects” section above.

Using more than the recommended dosage of Benlysta can lead to serious side effects.

Do not use more Benlysta than your doctor recommends.

Overdose symptoms

Overdose symptoms in people who took too much Benlysta were similar to the side effects of Benlysta.

In drug trials, people received doses of 20 mg/kg (double the recommended dose). There was no increased risk of side effects. Side effects were also not reported to be different or worse than normal side effects in people who took the recommended dose of Benlysta.

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 (or your local emergency phone number) or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

When you get Benlysta from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the box. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk to your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

Benlysta vials, syringes, or autoinjectors should be stored in the refrigerator at 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). They should be kept in their original carton so that the medication is protected from light. Benlysta shouldn’t be frozen or exposed to heat. You also shouldn’t shake Benlysta.

Benlysta syringes or autoinjectors may be stored at room temperature (up to 86°F/30°C) for up to 12 hours. They should be protected from light. Once the medication is at room temperature, it shouldn’t be used if it has been out for more than 12 hours. If it is left out for more than 12 hours, it should also not be placed back in the refrigerator. Instead, it should be thrown away.

Disposal

Right after you’ve used a syringe, needle, or autoinjector, dispose of it in an FDA-approved sharps disposal container. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident or harming themselves with the needle. You can buy a sharps container online, or ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health insurance company where to get one.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information on how to dispose of your medication.

The following information is provided for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

Indications

Benlysta is approved for use in people with active, autoantibody-positive systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The intravenously administered form of the drug is approved in adults and in children ages 5 years and older. The subcutaneously administered form is only approved in adults.

Benlysta is also approved for use in adults with active lupus nephritis.

For either use, Benlysta should be used along with the standard treatments for lupus.

Benlysta hasn’t been studied in people with severe active central nervous system lupus. In people with this condition, Benlysta isn’t currently recommended.

Benlysta has also not been studied to be used along with other biologic drugs. People who are taking these medications should avoid Benlysta.

Administration

Benlysta is available as an intravenous (IV) infusion that must be given in a doctor’s office or hospital. The drug must be reconstituted and diluted before administration. The IV infusion is administered once every 2 weeks for three doses. Then a maintenance dose is only administered every 4 weeks. IV dosing is usually 10 mg/kg.

Benlysta is also available as a subcutaneous injection. The first subcutaneous dose should be given in a doctor’s office to watch for symptoms of allergic reactions. However, after the initial dose, people can be taught how to self-inject, or caregivers can inject them at home. The drug is in a prefilled syringe or autoinjector and does not need to be reconstituted prior to use. The subcutaneous injection is administered once each week.

Mechanism of action

Benlysta is a B-lymphocyte stimulator specific inhibitor. It works by blocking B-lymphocyte stimulator from binding B-cell receptors. An increase in B-lymphocyte stimulator has also shown to increase autoantibodies, which increase symptoms of SLE. Therefore, by blocking B-lymphocyte stimulator, Benlysta decreases B-cell survival and autoantibodies, therefore decreasing symptoms of SLE.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

For the IV infusion of Benlysta, the peak concentration of Benlysta is 313 mcg/mL. Clearance is 215 mL/day. The volume of distribution of the IV drug is 5 L. The half-life of Benlysta is 1.8 days, and it has a terminal half-life of 19.4 days.

For the subcutaneous injection of Benlysta, the peak concentration of Benlysta is 108 mcg/mL, which takes about 2.6 days to reach. Clearance is 204 mL/day. The volume of distribution of the subcutaneous drug is 5 L. The half-life of Benlysta is 1.1 days, and it has a terminal half-life of 18.3 days.

Contraindications

Benlysta is contraindicated in people who have had a previous anaphylactic reaction to the drug.

Storage

Benlysta vials, syringes, or autoinjectors should be stored in the refrigerator, between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). They should be kept in their original carton so that the medication is protected from light. Benlysta should not be frozen. You should also not shake Benlysta.

The reconstituted solution should be refrigerated at 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) if not used immediately. It should be protected from light. Once the solution is diluted, it can be stored in the refrigerator at 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) or at room temperature. However, the time from reconstitution to when the infusion is complete should not be greater than 8 hours.

Benlysta syringes or autoinjectors may be stored at room temperature (up to 86°F/30°C) for up to 12 hours. They should be protected from light. Once the medication is at room temperature, it should not be used if it has been out for more than 12 hours. If it is left out for more than 12 hours, it should also not be placed back in the refrigerator. Instead, it should be thrown away.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.