Benlysta Powder for infusion

Benlysta Powder for infusion is a brand of medicine containing the active ingredient belimumab.

Find out more about active ingredients.

Consumer medicine information (CMI) leaflet

Developed by the pharmaceutical company responsible for this medicine in Australia, according to TGA regulations.

for injection

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.

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What BENLYSTA is used for?

BENLYSTA contains belimumab which belongs to a group of medicines called monoclonal antibodies.

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.

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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:

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.
  • if you may have an infection.
  • if you need a vaccination or have recently received a vaccination. Your doctor will decide if you can be given the vaccination.
  • if 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.
  • Use an effective method of contraception while you are being treated with BENLYSTA and for at least 4 months after the last dose.
  • If you become pregnant while being treated with BENLYSTA tell your doctor
  • Tell your doctor if 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 with BENLYSTA.

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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.

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What do I do if I take too much? (Overdose)

Immediately telephone your doctor or Poisons Information Centre (In Australia call 13 11 26. 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.

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While you are taking 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 several days.

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 BENLYSTA.

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.

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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 taking BENLYSTA, even if the problem is not listed below. 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 attention.

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.

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

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea

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 (dyspnea)

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 of them.

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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.

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Product description

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, sucrose and polysorbate 80. BENLYSTA is dissolved and diluted before being given to you.

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CMI provided by MIMS Australia, April 2014  

Related information - Benlysta Powder for infusion


04 Feb 2014 Information on medicines available in Australia containing belimumab, including our latest evidence-based information and resources for health professionals and consumers. The active ingredient is the chemical in a medicine that makes it work. Medicines that contain the same active ingredient can be available under more than one brand name. Brands include both active ingredients and inactive ingredients. You'll find information about brands of medicines that contain belimumab below, including their consumer medicine information (CMI) leaflets.