Background Benlysta is a human monoclonal antibody that is indicated as add-on treatment in adult patients with active, autoantibody-positive (antinuclear antibodies ANA ≥ 1/80) systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) with a high degree of disease activity despite standard treatment.
Purpose To investigate the benefit of use of belimumab for the treatment of SLE in a tertiary care hospital.
Materials and methods A retrospective observational study of patients undergoing belimumab treatment between January 2012 and July 2013. The following data were reviewed from Selene (medical history software): sex; age; dose; ANA and complement levels; articular, cutaneous, haematological or other conditions; concomitant treatments; adverse reactions; suspension and cause.
Results 6 patients with active SLE (100% with ANA ≥ 1/80) were treated with belimumab (average age 38, 100% women) with a standard dose of 10 mg/kg. All revealed articular involvement, five cutaneous involvement, 2 haematological involvement, and 2 renal involvement (lupus nephritis).
All patients were on a stable SLE treatment regimen consisting of (alone or in combination): corticosteroids (prednisone), anti-malarials (hydroxychloroquine) or immunosuppressive (mycophenolate mofetil).
The most common adverse reactions were: asthenia (4 patients), lymphopenia (2), neutropenia (2), anaemia (1), cutaneous recurrences (3), nausea (3), infections (cystitis (2), respiratory infection (1)), arthralgia (1).
50% had to discontinue treatment due to lack of response (2) or prolonged adverse reactions (neutropenia) (1).
Conclusions Belimumab is a recently launched drug which may be useful as an add-on treatment for those patients with active SLE. 50% of patients treated with belimumab revealed sustained improvement in SLE disease activity, with less fatigue, arthralgia and cutaneous exacerbations than that which they had under standard treatment.
No conflict of interest.
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