NICE approves lupus treatment

Patients with active autoantibody-positive systemic lupus erythematosus can be treated with belimumab (Benlysta) within the NHS, NICE has decided.

Belimumab targets BLyS, which is found at elevated levels in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Belimumab targets BLyS, which is found at elevated levels in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

To be eligible for belimumab treatment within the NHS, patients must have evidence of serological disease activity (positive anti-double-stranded DNA and low complement) and a SELENA-SLEDAI (Safety of Estrogen in Lupus National Assessment – Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index) score of 10 or more, despite receiving standard therapy.

Further information
View Benlysta drug record
NICE technology appraisal TA397

Treatment with belimumab may be continued beyond 24 weeks only if the SELENA-SLEDAI score has improved by 4 points or more.

In accepting belimumab, NICE ruled that the manufacturer must provide the immunomodulatory antibody with the discount agreed in the patient access scheme, and under the conditions for data collection, monitoring, patient eligibility and consent, ongoing treatment, and review specified by NICE.

Belimumab targets the soluble human B lymphocyte stimulator protein, BLyS, to inhibit the differentiation of B cells into antibody-producing plasma cells.

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