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Pharmacokinetics of Belimumab in Children With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus


Clin Pharmacol Drug Dev. 2020 Nov 27. doi: 10.1002/cpdd.889. Online ahead of print.

Richard Dimelow 1, Beulah Ji 1, Herbert Struemper 2

Author Information

1 GSK, Clinical Pharmacology Modeling & Simulation, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, UK.

2 GSK, Clinical Pharmacology Modeling & Simulation, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA.


The phase 2 placebo-controlled, double-blind PLUTO trial characterized the pharmacokinetics of belimumab plus standard systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) therapy in patients with childhood-onset SLE (cSLE) and demonstrated similar efficacy and safety to that in adult SLE. Patients with active cSLE aged 5-17 years were randomized to intravenous belimumab 10 mg/kg every 4 weeks (n = 53). A linear 2-compartment population pharmacokinetics (popPK) model with first-order elimination was developed, and an exploratory exposure-response analysis assessed the impact of between-patient exposure variability on clinical response (SLE Responder Index 4 [SRI4]) in week 52, and occurrence of serious adverse events during the study. The popPK model estimated clearance of 158 mL/day, steady-state volume of distribution of 3.5 L, terminal half-life of 16.3 days, and distribution half-life of 0.8 days in the overall population. Fat-free mass (FFM) better characterized the pharmacokinetics than total body weight and was more consistent with allometric scaling theory; belimumab pharmacokinetics were largely determined by FFM. Age, sex, disease activity, and concomitant medication had no impact on pediatric belimumab exposure after accounting for body size. Individual and median steady-state pediatric pharmacokinetic profiles were similar to known adult profiles and pediatric exposure estimates for belimumab 10 mg/kg intravenously were consistent with adult exposures. Exposures were similar between SRI4 responders and nonresponders, and patients who did or did not experience a serious adverse event. There was no clinically relevant correlation between exposure and efficacy or safety, confirming belimumab 10 mg/kg intravenous dose every 4 weeks as appropriate for pediatric patients with cSLE.