Well, the reports that Benlysta works slowly have been validated in my experience. While there seems to be a hint of lighter lupus symptoms, overall changes have been slight or perhaps coincidental so far. My general health and lupus has been up and down, responding as usual to recent stressful events and exhaustion with its usual tendency to flare.
Six weeks and six days ago was Benlysta infusion number one, repeated two and four weeks later. The fourth is set for another two weeks from now.
Why does Benlysta take so long to work?
The best I can understand it, response to Benlysta is slow because existing malfunctioning B-Cells that produce lupus anti-bodies take weeks, or as much as two or three months to die off. After they are gone, new replacement B-Cells emerge which function more normally, rather than in the confused state that Blys protein bombardment causes. Benlysta seeks out roving Blys messenger proteins produced by bone marrow stem cells, reducing the amount that reach the B-Cells.
It seems that B-cells don’t like being surrounded by a yelling throng of messengers, and the overwhelmed B-cells get extremely confused by the bio-chemical cacophony. Benlysta works by dispatching the messengers away on other errands, therefore permitting the B-cells to live out quieter, more peaceful and healthfully productive lives in the absence of the previous chaos. An occasional Blys messenger comes by now and then, but without having to vie for the B-cell’s attention, the message is delivered accurately and received clearly, and is supposed to successfully trigger an appropriate immune response.
I can hardly wait until my confused, worn out, lame duck B-cells pass on into their cellular debris afterlife, and the upcoming fresh new, unconfused ones take their place. A few more weeks, or perhaps another month or two, and I hope to see measurable improvement in my lupus. I have been praying that I will be one of the lupus patients that Benlysta infusions will help.
As patient of a patient as I may seem to be, tomorrow would not be too soon. It might be just “ducky!”