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FDA approves new lupus drug Benlysta

March 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first new drug to treat lupus in more than 50 years.

The injectable drug, Benlysta, relieves flare-ups and pain.

This milestone could prompt the development of other drugs that are even more effective in treating the disorder, medical experts say.

Lupus is a potentially fatal auto-immune disease that causes the body to attack its own tissue and organs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates up to 1 1/2 million Americans have some form of lupus.

The Associated Press contributed to this story