Important Information for Your Healthcare ProviderTalk with your healthcare provider prior to using this medication if you have:
- Cancer (or have had cancer in the past)
- A history of tuberculosis
- An infection of any kind, including a viral, fungal, or bacterial infection
- A weakened immune system due to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), or any other cause
- Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (see Benlysta and Pregnancy)
- Breastfeeding (see Benlysta and Breastfeeding).
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings With Belimumab to learn more, including information on who should not use the drug.)
How Does Belimumab Work?An antibody (also known as an immunoglobulin) is a protein made by the immune system. Antibodies bind to substances in the body called antigens. Belimumab is a synthetic (manufactured) antibody that binds to and blocks the actions of an antigen called soluble human B lymphocyte stimulator protein (BLyS).
BLyS helps B cells survive, and by blocking BLyS, belimumab shortens the lifespan of B cells, which are a type of white blood cell important in the immune system. This action suppresses the immune system's inappropriate attack on the body, helping to reduce the symptoms of lupus.