April 16, 2020
Treating people with lupus earlier with belimumab (Benlysta) may work better than as a last option according to a study just published in the well-respected journal Arthritis & Rheumatology
Researchers in Italy analyzed data from 466 people with lupus at 24 centers in Italy who were receiving belimumab intravenously. They looked at the percentage of patients whose disease went into remission or lessened in severity.
The use of belimumab for patients who were in the early stages of lupus provided a better chance of response compared to those who had been living with lupus for a longer period of time. Investigators concluded that starting treatment with belimumab earlier, before the disease can cause organ damage, is beneficial.
“In summary, our study provided novel evidence of a remarkable achievement of remission or during treatment, which were also likely to persist over time, and confirmed previous results on real-life use of belimumab in terms of decrease in global and organ specific disease activity and prednisone daily dose, flare rate and damage progression. At present, belimumab is frequently used as the last option in SLE treatment. Based on our data, we suggest that an earlier use of belimumab in patients with active SLE may maximize its efficacy, since it improves patient prognosis in terms of better response, achievement of remission/LDA and hindrance of damage accrual.”
Belimumab is a prescription drug from GSK under the brand name Benlysta and is approved for patients with active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus) receiving other lupus medicines.