Despite Benefits of Benlysta for People with Lupus, Compliance is Low
A new study finds that adherence to recommended Benlysta (belimumab) infusion schedules is concerningly low among people with lupus who began the therapy. Upon beginning the Benlysta infusion regimen, a total of nine treatments are recommended over a six-month period: three infusions during the initiation phase (the “loading dose”), followed by six infusions during the maintenance phase. However, fewer than half (43%) of the nearly 1,900 people in the study who began the treatment received at least the recommended loading dose of three treatments. Overall, an average of about five of the nine recommended treatments were received within six months.
Researchers also examined how intravenous Benlysta treatments related to use of healthcare resources and medical costs. In the six months following the start of intravenous Benlysta infusions, inpatient hospitalizations fell by 9%, emergency department (ED) visits dropped by 16%, and hospital-based outpatient visits decreased by 12%. However, these costs savings were offset by an increase in costs for hospital-based and other outpatient services, which were primarily due to intravenous Benlysta administration. Further studies are needed to fully understand Benlysta-related costs for people with lupus, and reasons for non-adherence with recommended infusion schedules.
Medication adherence is an important factor influencing patient outcomes, as well as healthcare costs, yet studies consistently find fewer than half of people with lupus do not adhere to their medication regimens. Learn about getting the most from your medications.