Until now, Benlysta™ was only available for IV (intravenous infusion) in a clinic, hospital setting, or cancer setting. However, just several days ago, the FDA approved it for subcutaneous injection-a 200 mg weekly dose. So, after a patient has been trained by his/her doctor’s medical staff, the patient may self-inject Benlysta™ at home.
First developed as a monthly infusion in 2011, Benlysta™ is now a weekly subcutaneous (beneath the fatty tissue of skin layers but not as deep as the muscle) injection. We’ll leave the ‘how to give a subcutaneous injection’ for another post.
People who don’t have lupus may think that giving shots for lupus is overkill, since lupus only gives you sore joints. Au contraire, lupus or another autoimmune disorder can affect the heart, lungs or intestines-any organ in the body a tremendous inconvenience, causing pain and suffering-these side effect can be fatal.
So, what is Benlysta™ ? It is a human monoclonal antibody, as opposed to Rituxan™ which is a murine (mouse) monclonal antibody-more about that later. Suffice it to say that because Rituxan™ is murine (from a mouse) and Benlysta™ is from human monoclonal antib odies, there is less chance or a reaction to Benlysta™ .
It needs to be noted that Benlysta™ has not been approved for other forms of lupus: discoid, drug-induced or neonatal lupus. This formulation has only been approved for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus,
Benlysta™ hasn’t been used long-term to study it’s effectiveness in lupus nephritis (when lupus has affected kidney function) and CNS lupus (when lupus affects the central nervous system).
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