belimumab (rmc) 120 mg and 400 mg powder
Consumer Medicine Information
What is in this leaflet
Please read this leaflet carefully before you are given BENLYSTA.
This leaflet answers some common questions about BENLYSTA. It does not contain all
of the available information.
It does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.
All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the expected benefits
of you being given BENLYSTA against the risks this medicine could have for you.
If you have any concerns about receiving this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Keep this leaflet with the medicine.
You may need to read it again.
What BENLYSTA is used for?
BENLYSTA contains belimumab which belongs to a group of medicines called monoclonal
BENLYSTA is used to treat lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE) in adults (18
years of age and over).
Lupus is a disease of the immune system (the body system that fights infection). People
with active lupus often have high levels of a protein called BLyS in their blood.
BENLYSTA binds to BLyS and limits the activity of BLyS.
You will be given BENLYSTA as well as your usual treatment for lupus.
Your doctor may have prescribed BENLYSTA for another reason.
BENLYSTA is not addictive.
Before you are given BENLYSTA
Do not receive if:
You must not receive BENLYSTA if:
you have ever had an allergic reaction to belimumab or any of the ingredients listed
toward the end of this leaflet. (See "Ingredients"). Check with your doctor if this
applies to you.
the expiry date (EXP) printed on the pack has passed.
the packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering.
Tell your doctor if:
You must tell your doctor if you have or have had any of the following medical conditions:
you have had an allergic reaction (hypersensitivity) to foods, dyes, preservatives
or any other medicines or injections. You may be given medicines before you are given
BENLYSTA to help reduce any infusion reactions to BENLYSTA.
you have a history of depression, suicidal thoughts or behaviour.
you think you have an infection.
you need a vaccination or have recently received a vaccination. Your doctor will decide
if you can be given the vaccination.
you have had cancer. Your doctor will decide if you can be given BENLYSTA.
you are taking any other medicines, including medicines you buy without a prescription.
you are pregnant , think you could be pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant.
Your doctor will decide if you can be given BENLYSTA.
you become pregnant while being treated with BENLYSTA.
you are breast-feeding. It is likely that BENLYSTA can pass into breast milk. Your
doctor will discuss with you whether you should stop being treated with BENLYSTA while
you are breast-feeding or you should stop breast-feeding while you are being treated
How is BENLYSTA given?
How much is given
Your doctor will decide on the correct dose of BENLYSTA depending on your body weight.
The usual dose is 10 mg for each kilogram (kg) of your body weight.
How it is given
A nurse or doctor will give you BENLYSTA into a vein (intravenously) as a drip (infusion).
It usually takes 1 hour to give the drip.
You are usually given BENLYSTA on the first day of treatment then again 14 and 28
days later. After this, BENLYSTA is usually given once every 4 weeks.
Medication given before an infusion
If you have had an allergic reaction to other medicines or injections, your doctor
may decide to give you medicines which help to reduce any infusion reactions before
you are given BENLYSTA. These may include a type of medicine called an anti-histamine
and a medicine to prevent a high temperature. You will be checked closely and if you
do have any reactions these will be treated.
Stopping treatment with BENLYSTA
Your doctor will decide if you need to stop being given BENLYSTA.
Use in children and adolescents
BENLYSTA is not recommended for use in children and adolescents under 18 years.
What do I do if I take too much? (Overdose)
Immediately telephone your doctor or Poisons Information Centre (In Australia call
131126. In New Zealand call 0800 POISON or 0800 764 766) for advice, if you think
you or anyone else may have received too much BENLYSTA, even if there are no signs
of discomfort or poisoning.
If you are not sure what to do, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
While you are using BENLYSTA
Things you must not do
Do not give this medicine to anyone else, even if their symptoms seem similar to yours.
Do not use BENLYSTA to treat any other complaints unless your doctor says to.
Things you must do
Tell your doctor immediately if you have memory loss, trouble thinking, difficulty
with talking or walking, loss of vision, or similar problems that have lasted over
If you had these symptoms prior to treatment with BENLYSTA tell your doctor immediately
about any changes in these symptoms.
These could be symptoms of Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).
PML is a serious and life threatening brain condition. Your chance of getting PML
may be higher if you are treated with medicines that weaken your immune system, including
Women of child-bearing potential must use an effective method of contraception while
being treated with BENLYSTA and for at least 4 months after the last dose.
Tell your doctor or go to a hospital straight away if you feel low in mood, have thoughts
of harming yourself or committing suicide. You may find it helpful to tell a relative
or close friend and ask them to read this leaflet. You should also ask them to tell
you if they are worried about changes in your mood or behaviour. If you experience
new or worsening symptoms at any time, contact your doctor or go to a hospital straight
Tell your doctor if you get an infection while you are being treated with BENLYSTA.
Your doctor will want to check that your infection is being properly treated. Symptoms
of an infection can include, fever, chills, headache, sore throat, cough, diarrhoea,
stinging or burning on passing urine, aching muscles and pain, redness, swelling or
discharge at the site of the wound.
Tell your doctor if you have any mental health problems. Symptoms of mental health
problems can include, new or worse depression, new or worse anxiety, thoughts of hurting
yourself or others, acting on dangerous impulses or other unusual changes in your
behaviour or mood.
Things to be careful of
Be careful driving or operating machinery until you know how BENLYSTA affects you.
What are the side effects?
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if you think you are experiencing any side
effects or allergic reactions due to use of BENLYSTA, even if the problem is not listed
Like other medicines, BENLYSTA can cause some side effects. If they occur, they are
most likely to be minor and temporary. However, some may be serious and need medical
Some of these serious side effects may cause death, including serious infection, risk
of cancer and mental effects such as depression, but it is not known if BENLYSTA causes
these side effects. You should discuss risks of serious side effects with your doctor
before commencing treatment with BENLYSTA.
Reactions to the infusion
Medicines of this type (monoclonal antibodies) can cause allergic (hypersensitivity)
reactions, which can affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people, and can occasionally
be severe. These reactions usually occur within 1 to 2 hours after starting the infusion.
They are more likely to happen during the first treatment.
Allergic reactions can also occur later with Benlysta generally 5-10 days after a
dose of medication (but can occur before or after that time) and include a combination
of symptoms such as rash, nausea, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, and/or facial swelling.
If you experience these symptoms, particularly if you experience a combination of
such symptoms tell your doctor or nurse.
Depression and suicide
There have been reports of depression, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts during
treatment with BENLYSTA. Depression can affect up to 1 in 10 users, suicidal thoughts
and suicide attempts can affect up to 1 in 100 users. If you experience any new or
worsening symptoms such as low mood, suicidal thoughts or behaviour, contact your
doctor or go to a hospital straight away.
BENLYSTA can cause infection which can be of different types including chest infection,
kidney infection, infection of nose and throat, bowel infection etc. These can affect
more than 1 in 10 users, which can be severe and can uncommonly cause death.
Tell your doctor or a nurse immediately if you get symptoms of an infection, for example:
Burning sensation while passing urine
Tell your doctor or a nurse immediately if you get any of the symptoms below:
These side effects can affect more than 1 in 10 patients
These side effects can affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 patients
high temperature or fever (pyrexia)
low white blood cell count
nose, throat, chest, bladder or stomach infections
pain in hands or feet
These side effects can affect between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 patients
severe allergic reactions, sometimes with swelling of face or mouth causing difficulty
in breathing (anaphylactic reactions)
swelling of the face, lips and tongue (angioedema)
rash, possibly with itchy raised bumps or hives (urticaria)
Other symptoms of infusion reactions and hypersensitivity reactions include:
low blood pressure (can cause light-headedness when you stand up) (hypotension)
slow heart beat (bradycardia)
difficulty breathing, shortness of breath (dyspnoea)
Tell your doctor or a nurse immediately if you get any of these symptoms.
If you notice any side effects not listed in this leaflet, please tell your doctor.
This is not a complete list of all possible side effects. Others may occur in some
people and there may be some side effects not yet known.
Do not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects. You may not experience any
Keep this medicine where children cannot reach it, such as in a locked cupboard.
Keep BENLYSTA in a refrigerator (2°C - 8°C) until it's time to use. Do not freeze.
Store in the original package to protect BENLYSTA from light.
Do not leave in a car, on a window sill or in a bathroom.
Return any unused or expired medicine to your pharmacist.
What BENLYSTA looks like
BENLYSTA is supplied as a white to off-white powder, in a glass vial with a latex-free,
siliconised rubber stopper and a flip-off aluminium seal.
Each 5 mL vial delivers 120 mg of BENLYSTA.
Each 20 mL vial delivers 400 mg of BENLYSTA.
There is 1 vial in each pack.
BENLYSTA contains the active ingredient belimumab.
BENLYSTA also contains citric acid monohydrate, sodium citrate dihydrate, sucrose
and polysorbate 80. BENLYSTA is dissolved and diluted before being given to you.
BENLYSTA is supplied in Australia by:
GlaxoSmithKline Australia Pty Ltd
Level 4, 436 Johnston Street
Abbotsford, Victoria, 3067
BENLYSTA is supplied in New Zealand by:
GlaxoSmithKline NZ Limited
Private Bag 106600
Where to go for further information
Pharmaceutical companies are not in a position to give people an individual diagnosis
or medical advice. Your doctor or pharmacist is the best person to give you advice
on the treatment of your condition.
This leaflet was prepared on 12 August 2019
The information provided applies only to: BENLYSTA.
Trade marks are owned by or licensed to the GSK group of companies.
120mg - AUST R 173077
400 mg - AUST R 173078
© 2019 GSK group of companies or its licensor.