Use of belimumab throughout pregnancy to treat active systemic lupus erythematosus: a case report

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2014 Oct;44(2):195-7. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2014.05.006. Epub 2014 Jun 6.


Background: Pregnancy can lead to flares in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and the presence of SLE in pregnancy could lead to a poor outcome for the mother and the fetus.

Objective: To describe a patient whose active SLE (including lupus nephritis) was managed with the use of belimumab throughout pregnancy.

Methods: A case report and review of relevant literature is presented.

Results: A 38-year-old Caucasian woman with SLE was seen for advice regarding planning a pregnancy and management of her active lupus (cutaneous lupus, angioedema, lupus nephritis, leukopenia, and anti-phospholipid antibody syndrome) that could only be controlled by mycophenolate, a drug contraindicated in pregnancy. Azathioprine, hydroxychloroquine, rituximab, and moderate doses of prednisone were either unable to control her disease or led to unacceptable toxicity. After detailed discussions, she was treated with belimumab, which controlled her SLE and allowed withdrawal of mycophenolate. Belimumab was continued throughout the pregnancy, leading to well-controlled SLE and uneventful course, albeit with the presence of mild Ebstein's anomaly in the baby.

Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first case report of belimumab use throughout pregnancy for controlling active SLE. Data from the belimumab pregnancy registry would be useful to confirm our findings and to further assess safety of this agent for use in pregnancy.

Keywords: Belimumab; Lupus; Lupus nephritis; Pregnancy; Systemic lupus erythematosus.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use*
  • Ebstein Anomaly / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Outcome / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • belimumab