New Drug for Lupus Shown Green Signal by FDA Advisory Panel

GlaxoSmithKline's drug Benlysta has shown green signal by an advisory panel of the US Food and Drug Administration for its experimental use for the treatment of disease lupus in US.

It is for the first time in past 50 years that a medicine in the class of drugs for treating lupus has been approved. The ultimate decision on the commercialization of the drug from the FDA would come on December 9.

Systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE is a chronic inflammatory disease, a condition in which the body's immune system starts destroying its own tissues and organs. In 90% of cases, it attacks women in their 30s and 40s. It reflects symptoms such as fatigue, fever, joint pain, stiffness and swelling, rashes, skin lesions, mouth sores, hair loss and chest pain. In worst scenarios, the disease can lead to death.

The lupus drug Benlysta with generic name belimumab has been developed by Human Genome Sciences Inc. for the trials of the drug, both the Company and GSK put combined efforts. The drug was proved effective for 30% of the patients in the trials.

Drugs such as aspirin, the steroid prednisone and the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine have also been endorsed for treating lupus. But they could inflict grave side-effects.

With the approval of the drug from FDA the next month, the drug will be available in the US market from 2011.