Should Belimumab Have Been Approved?

Stephen Paget, MD


March 24, 2011

In This Article

When to Use Belimumab

Where I do see this drug being used is in those patients with moderately severe disease, with symptoms such as more severe arthritis, serositis, fever, fatigue, and skin rash. These patients require stronger medications, including higher doses and longer courses of steroids, methotrexate, azathioprine, and mycophenolate. If these fail to control lupus, then belimumab might be used as a steroid-sparing, disease-controlling drug. This would be similar to patients with rheumatoid arthritis who fail to respond to methotrexate and are placed on an anti-tumor necrosis factor medication.

Belimumab might also be used for disease flares. Whether it will work in short courses during flares remains to be seen.


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