What Can I Do To Prevent Lupus Flare
While lupus itself cant be prevented, you can make changes to your daily life to help avoid flare-ups of your symptoms. A few things to try can include:
- Avoiding sun exposure: For many with lupus, sun exposure can be an issue. Try avoiding going outside during peak hours when the sun is out, wearing protective clothing and wearing sunscreen.
- Staying in motion: Joint pain can make you want to sit down and rest, but doing low-impact exercises can actually help.
- Maintaining healthy habits: A few habits to keep in mind include making healthy choices when it comes to your food, getting plenty of sleep and cutting back on the stress in your life. There is also a strong link between lupus and heart disease. Make sure you are working with your healthcare team to reduce your risk of heart issues.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If you are experiencing the symptoms of lupus, reach out to your healthcare provider. Lupus can take a long time to diagnose because of the wide range of symptoms and the way symptoms slowly build over time. Getting diagnosed is the first step to managing the condition and improving your quality of life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/19/2021.
What To Do In Case Of Overdose
If you think youve 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 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 of the Food and Drug Administration 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.
What Is Belimumab What Is Belimumab Used For
Belimumab is a synthetic injectable antibody that reduces the activity of immune cells called B-cells in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus . SLE is an inflammatory autoimmune disease, which means that the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and causes inflammation. Parts of the body affected by SLE include the heart, skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, and brain. Common symptoms include rash, fever, chest pain, hair loss, joint pain, fatigue, and sensitivity to light.
One type of immune cell that is involved in the immune attack in SLE is the B-cell. One of the functions of B-cells is to produce antibodies, proteins that the body usually produces to fight infection. The B-cells in SLE produce antibodies that may be involved in the autoimmune attack in SLE. Belimumab blocks the action of B-cell stimulator protein, which B-cells require for survival. By blocking BLys, belimumab reduces the number of B-cells available to produce antibodies that contribute to SLE. In clinical studies, belimumab-treated patients experienced less activity of their SLE than those who received other SLE therapies. Belimumab was approved by the FDA in March 2011.
What brand names are available for belimumab?
Is belimumab available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for belimumab?
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If I Have Lupus Will I Pass It On To My Children
There can be a genetic factor to lupus. Your risk of having lupus increases if you have other family members with the condition. A mother with lupus can pass it on to her child. However, this doesnt always happen, nor does it happen often. Some women with lupus deliver a baby with the condition, while others do not. If you have a family history of lupus or have lupus yourself and are thinking about getting pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider.
Tips To Prevent Hair Loss In Lupus Patients
Many lupus patients suffer from hair loss. Sometimes its very mild and unnoticeable but for some, it can be quite severe and cause considerable anguish. To help you prevent lupus hair loss, weve put together a list of tips using information from Daily Health.
Lupus or Medication?
Establish the reason for your hair loss. Is it lupus or could the hair loss be due to the medication youre taking? If its medication-related, then speak to your doctor about changing medications.
Start Lupus Treatment as Soon as Possible
The sooner you start lupus treatment, the better and the less likely you are to suffer from hair loss. Speak to your doctors and push to get a diagnosis as quickly as possible if you suspect you have lupus.
Follow Your Medication Instructions
Ensure you always take your medication as directed, at the right time. Dont skip your medication for any reason unless directed to do so by your doctor.
Be Aware of the Medication Youre Taking
Do your homework. Is the medication known to cause side effects like hair loss? Speak to your doctor about alternatives if this is the case.
Take Note of Any Rashes or Scaliness
Any rashes or scaliness on the skin could also be happening on your scalp and contributing towards hair loss. If you spot any rashes or scaliness, contact your doctor.
Keep Stress Levels Low
Stress can lead to hair loss for lupus patients so its important to try and avoid stress as much as you can.
Get Plenty of Rest
Avoid Sun Exposure
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What Are Immunosuppressive Medications
Immunosuppressives are medications that help suppress the immune system. Many were originally used in patients who received organ transplants to help prevent their bodies from rejecting the transplanted organ. However, these drugs are now also used for the treatment of certain autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. In people with lupus, the immune system mistakenly attacks the bodys own tissues. Most immunosuppressives work to downregulate this attack by interfering with the synthesis of DNA, the material in your cells that contains the blueprints for all of your genetic information. In doing this, these medications prevent the cells of your immune system from dividing. When cells cannot divide correctly, they will eventually die. The immunosuppressives prescribed most commonly for the treatment of lupus are azathioprine , mycophenolate , and cyclosporine .
Because immunosuppressive drugs put down the immune system, people taking them are at an increased risk for infection. Try to stay away from people who have colds or other illnesses, and make sure to wash your hands regularly and maintain good personal hygiene. If you are also taking steroid medications, you may not realize that you are ill because the steroid may suppress your fever symptoms. Contact your doctor immediately at the first sign of any infection or illness.
Does A Positive Antinuclear Antibody Test Mean I Have Lupus
Testing positive for antinuclear antibodies alone does not mean you have lupus. The ANA test is positive in most people with lupus, but its also positive in many people who do not have lupus. Because of this, a positive ANA alone isnt enough to diagnosis you with lupus. Your provider will typically look for at least three other clinical features before making a diagnosis of lupus.
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Why Would My Doctor Recommend Benlysta Infusions Instead Of Subcutaneous Injections
Benlysta can be given in two ways: as an intravenous 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 whats important to you. IV infusions of Benlysta must be given in a hospital or in your doctors 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, youre 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.
Background On Infusion Therapy And Lupus
In 1994, Dr. Stephen Paget, then Chief of Medicine at the Hospital for Special Surgery , created an Infusion Unit for people with rheumatologic disorders. The infusion unit at HSS was the first in the country dedicated specifically to the care of people with rheumatology-related autoimmune mediated disorders and opened long before intravenous medications for lupus and arthritis were developed. A few years later, the field exploded with a variety of medications for arthritis, lupus and all rheumatologic illnesses. In 1999, the first intravenous biologic medication for people with rheumatoid arthritis was approved. In the ensuing years the off label use of biologic agents increased. Through the years, a growing number of medications for people with autoimmune diseases were developed, including those for people with lupus. In a presentation to the SLE workshop at HSS, Linda Leff, MPA, RN-BC, gave an overview of those drugs most frequently administered on the infusion unit to patients with lupus.
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Reasons For Hair Loss With Lupus
With lupus, hair loss may be related to any of the causes of hair loss found in people without the disease, but can also be related to the disease itself or the treatments for the disease.
With systemic lupus, it’s thought that hair loss is related to the autoimmune basis of the disease.
With discoid lupus, permanent damage to the hair follicle resulting from scarring leads to hair loss.
This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.
DermNet / CC BY-NC-ND
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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 youre eligible for support, call 877-423-6597 or visit the program website.
How Lupus Is Diagnosed
Lupus, also called systemic lupus erythematosus, is not always easy to diagnose because it can be similar to other conditions.
Symptoms include inflammation of different parts of the body including the lungs, heart, liver, joints and kidneys.
The GP will usually do some blood tests. High levels of a type of antibody, combined with typical symptoms, means lupus is likely.
You might be referred for X-rays and scans of your heart, kidney and other organs if the doctor thinks they might be affected.
Once lupus is diagnosed, you’ll be advised to have regular checks and tests, such as regular blood tests to check for anaemia and urine tests to check for kidney problems.
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Does Benlysta Help With Fatigue From Lupus
Yes. Benlysta can help relieve your lupus symptoms, including fatigue . Clinical studies have shown that people taking Benlysta may have significantly less fatigue compared with people taking a placebo .
Its important to note that peoples reaction to the drug may vary. Talk with your doctor about how Benlysta may help relieve your symptoms of lupus, including fatigue.
What Is The Lupus Rash
A skin rash is one common symptom of lupus. Rashes from lupus are often from prolonged sun exposure, and usually last days to weeks. You can have a rash on your face, hands or wrists. When you have a rash on your face, it typically extends across the bridge of your nose and onto each of your cheeks. This is often referred to as a butterfly rash because of the shape across your face.
Skin rashes can be uncomfortable and itchy. These rashes can sometimes fade after a short period of time. However, some rashes and sores on your skin can be permanent.
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Drug Forms And Strengths
Benlysta comes in these two forms:
- A powder thats mixed with liquid to form a solution. This form is given as an intravenous infusion into a vein in the arm. . Benlysta powder comes in vials containing either 120 milligrams or 400 mg of the drug.
- A solution inside prefilled syringes and autoinjectors. This form is given as a subcutaneous injection . The syringe or autoinjector contains 200 mg of the drug.
What If I Miss A Dose
If you miss your appointment to get your intravenous dose of Benlysta, call your doctor right away. Theyll probably have you schedule another appointment as soon as possible so that you dont have an interruption in your treatment.
If youre taking Benlysta by subcutaneous injection 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 dont 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 dont miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.
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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 .
- Can occur with Benlysta:
Serious side effects
These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Benlysta, with Plaquenil, or with both drugs .
- Can occur with Benlysta:
- serious infections, such as respiratory infections or urinary tract infection
- progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy
- liver problems, such as decreased liver function
- serious rash, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome
- heart problems, such as heart failure or changes in your heart rhythm
- changes in vision, such as blurry vision
- severe low blood sugar