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Benlysta for subcutaneous (SC) injection?

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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LUPUS, in a nutshell

Every disease, everything that ails us, usually has a descriptor, a very easy way of describing it. and here is a lupus descriptor that is a very basic. Future articles will expound on this video:

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Why They Chose To Be Research Volunteers

Sometimes you need to get out of ‘yourself.’ Sometimes, you just want to see what you can do to help someone else. Sometimes a friend or family member is stricken and you feel powerless to do anything to help. For whatever reason, you have volunteered and are part of a clinical trial which studies an orphan disease. Congratulations!

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Basic Lupus Treatment and Steroids

Many of us would be surprised at the amount we already know about lupus that the average consumer does not. For example, often we know what our ANAs and ESRs are. We know to compare them with previous ones and we might understand why they might be elevated. For example, often we follow our ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) as a measure of inflammation in our bodies. Well, if it is elevated, it means that there is inflammation SOME WHERE IN THE BODY. More specifically, we might compare our ANAs.

We’ve learned over the years, that treatment for the symptoms of lupus involves treating the inflammation that causes those symptoms. That’s the reason doctors often suggest NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like “Aleve” or ibuprofen.

Oftentimes, NSAIDs are adequate to control pain as they decrease inflammation which causes the pain. But, sometimes NSAIDs are not adequate. So, pain is managed temporarily with the steroid, prednisone. Sometimes, a dosepak is prescribed, a burst of an oral steroid followed by decreasing doses of that same steroid for 5 or 6 days.

Steroids should always be withdrawn slowly; we all know that. But do you know why? We might experience symptoms of the withdrawal (weakness, fatigue, body aches, joint pain).

The main reason for weaning from steroids slowly is because the adrenal glands already produce a steroid, cortisol. When you started taking oral exogenous (from an outside source) steroids, the body began to slow down it’s production of them over 2-3 weeks. As time passed, your body became completely dependent on oral steroids as endogenous  (produced from within the body) stops.

When the exogenous steroids are to be stopped and steroid therapy reintroduced, it is important to slowly taper the amount of steroids that you take because it ‘time’ for the adrenals to ‘kick back in’ with their production of cortisol, so exogenous steroids have to be slowly withdrawn. Why? Because cortisol is the steroid responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response that our body mounts to stress, so something called adrenal insufficiency or adrenal crisis can result. We must be able to engage the fight or flight response, so it is important, very important that steroid tapers be followed exactly as your doctor orders.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/prednisone-withdrawal/expert-answers/faq-20057923 retrieved from the www: 9/19/2016

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Do You REALLY Know Lupus???

LUPUS. We, or at least MOST of us have lupus, or we know and love someone with lupus. But do we actually KNOW what lupus is, Do we actually UNDERSTAND the enormity of what patients, friend’s and loved ones face?

This VERY short presentation by the Lupus Foundation of America, grabs your attention like nothing I could say, would. Then I’ll attempt on a post basis to elaborate on some of the concepts introduced in this SHORT video.

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“Organ Involvement in Lupus”

This podcast is one of a series produced by the Lupus Foundation of America for May which is Lupus Awareness Month. It can also be found in the archives maintained by C-span, available for public domain use. The Speaker interviewed is Dr. Diane Kamen, Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Rheumatology, of the Medical University of South Carolina.

 

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Interview with Dr. Donald Thomas-lupus and Sjogren’s Syndrome

Comprehensive, yet easily understandable, this interview with Dr. Donald Thomas, M.D. discusses 27 secrets to living a better life with lupus and other and other autoimmune diseases. His book, “The Lupus Encyclopedia” needs to be in the library of every lupus patient.

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