Research Shows Benefit to Starting Belimumab Sooner Rather Than Later

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.