What is Belimumab?

Belimumab is a targeted disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) that is used to reduce inflammation produced by the body. In certain diseases the immune system is over active, this can target healthy tissues such as joints and skin. Belimumab works on the inflammatory pathway to reduce the effects, thereby reducing the symptoms you get from arthritis, mouth ulcers and rashes.


What is Belimumab used for?

Belimumab is used for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) when other medications have not worked to reduce the symptoms.


How is it taken?

Belimumab is given as an injection into the vein through a drip. This is called an intravenous infusion and is usually given in the rheumatology day unit. You will be monitored throughout and for 1-2 hours after this to make sure you have not developed and side effects.


The dose is calculated from your weight and it is given as a loading treatment initially, with infusions at 0, 2 and 4 weeks, it is then given every 4 weeks whilst you remain on the medication.


Medications to prevent a reaction to the drip are given at the same time; these include paracetamol and anti-histamines.


The medication can take up to 6 months to have the full effect. You will need your bloods monitored whilst you are on belimumab. This is initially done at 3 months and 6 months, and then just annually. However if you are also on another medication such as a DMARD that requires blood monitoring, you will need to continue this.


Side effects

There are a few possible side effects that can occur in a small number of people that take belimumab, these include:



Cautions of use

Interactions with other medications

Contraindications of other conditions


During pregnancy and breastfeeding




Useful Links 

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