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Belimumab solution for injection

What is this medicine?

BELIMUMAB (be LIM ue mab) is a monoclonal antibody. It is used to treat active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This drug is used with standard therapy for SLE. It is not a cure.

How should I use this medicine?

This drug is injected into a vein or injected under the skin. Injections into a vein are given by a health care provider in a hospital or clinic setting. Injections under the skin may be given at home. If you get this drug at home, you will be taught how to prepare and give it under the skin. Use exactly as directed. Take it as directed on the prescription label at the same time every day. Keep taking it unless your health care provider tells you to stop.

This drug comes with INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE. Ask your pharmacist for directions on how to use this drug. Read the information carefully. Talk to your pharmacist or health care provider if you have questions.

It is important that you put your used needles and syringes in a special sharps container. Do not put them in a trash can. If you do not have a sharps container, call your pharmacist or health care provider to get one.

A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. If you are getting this drug in a hospital or clinic, a special MedGuide will be given to you before each treatment. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.

Talk to your health care provider about the use of this drug in children. While it be prescribed for children as young as 5 years for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • allergic reactions (skin rash, itching or hives; swelling of the face, lips, or tongue)

  • anxious

  • breathing problems

  • changes in emotions or moods

  • confusion

  • depressed mood

  • dizziness

  • feeling faint or lightheaded

  • loss of memory

  • problems with balance, talking, or walking

  • signs and symptoms of infection like fever; chills; cough; sore throat; pain or trouble passing urine

  • suicidal thoughts

  • trouble sleeping

  • unusually slow heartbeat

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • diarrhea

  • headache

  • muscle pain

  • nausea

  • pain, redness or irritation at site where injected

  • stuffy or runny nose

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medicines:

  • live virus vaccines

This medicine may also interact with the following medicines:

  • biologic medicines such as adalimumab, certolizumab, etanercept, golimumab, infliximab

  • cyclophosphamide

  • monoclonal antibodies such as ocrelizumab, ofatumumab, rituximab

What if I miss a dose?

This drug is used once a week if injected under the skin. If you miss your dose, inject a dose as soon as you remember. Then, inject your next dose at your regularly scheduled time or continue weekly dosing based on the new day injected. Call your health care provider if you are not sure what to do. Do not use 2 doses on the same day to make up for a missed dose.

If you are to be given an injection into the vein, keep appointments for follow-up doses. It is important not to miss your dose. Call your health care provider if you are unable to keep an appointment.

Where should I keep my medicine?

If injected into the vein, this drug will be given in a hospital or clinic. It will not be stored at home.

Storage for syringes and auto injectors stored at home:

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store in a refrigerator between 2 and 8 degrees C (36 and 46 degrees F). Keep this medicine in the original container. Protect from light. Do not freeze. Do not shake. Do not use this medicine and do not place it back in the refrigerator if left out at room temperature for more than 12 hours. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • cancer

  • depression

  • immune system problems

  • infection (especially a virus infection such as chickenpox, cold sores, or herpes)

  • mental illness

  • recently received or scheduled to receive a vaccination

  • suicidal thoughts, plans, or attempt or a previous suicide attempt by you or a family member

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to belimumab, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your health care provider for regular checks on your progress. Tell your health care provider if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse.

This drug may increase your risk of getting an infection. Call your health care provider for advice if you get a fever, chills, or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.

In some patients, this drug may cause a serious brain infection that may cause death. If you have any problems seeing, thinking, speaking, walking, or standing, tell your doctor right away. If you cannot reach your health care provider, urgently seek other source of medical care.

Talk to your health care provider about your risk of cancer. You may be more at risk for certain types of cancer if you take this drug.

NOTE:This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider. Copyright© 2020 Elsevier
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