About 60% of people with lupus will experience lupus nephritis (LN, lupus-related kidney disease), a complication that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the kidneys. A new study evaluated the efficacy of administering a low dose of the drug treatment belimumab (Benlysta®) together with antimalarial drugs, and found that the combination enhances protection against renal flares in people with lupus being treated for extra-renal disease.
In the study, researchers compared risk of renal flares among patients receiving belimumab in various forms and doses. The risk was found to be lowest among those who received intravenous belimumab at doses of 10 mg and 1 mg –while there was no association with lower flares for 200 mg of belimumab administered subcutaneously (under the skin). Antimalarial agents alone resulted in a lower risk of renal flares; however the lowest flare rate was observed with the combination of intravenous belimumab (1mg/kg) and antimalarial agents (18.5 cases per 1,000 person-years).
The researchers suggest further studies on the impact of increasing from low to an intermediate dose of belimumab, especially in conjunction the administration of antimalarial agents, to protect against renal flare development in people with lupus. Work with your health care team to tailor your treatment plan to your specific symptoms. Learn more about medications used to treat lupus and finding the treatment plan that’s right for you.
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