Generic Name: Etanercept

  • What is Enbrel?

    Enbrel is a medicine used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (a type of arthritis that involves inflammation of the joints), ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis of the spine), psoriatic arthritis (a type of arthritis that involves the immune system and the skin), and plaque psoriasis (immune disorder that affects the skin). Enbrel can also be used to treat juvenile arthritis in children ≥2 years of age. Enbrel is given as an injection under the skin (subcutaneously).

  • What is the most important information I should know about Enbrel?

    Enbrel can cause serious bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience fever, sweats or chills, cough or "flu-like" symptoms, shortness of breath, weight loss, muscle aches, sores on your body, diarrhea or stomach pain, painful urination or urinating more often than normal, or feeling very tired.

    Enbrel can increase the risk of developing lymphoma (a type of cancer involving cells of the immune system, called lymphocytes) or other types of cancer. Tell your doctor immediately if you have unusual lumps or swelling (in your neck, armpit, or groin), night sweats, recurring fever, unusual tiredness or weakness, persistent unexplained itching, or unexplained weight loss.

    Enbrel may cause nervous system disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS), seizures, or inflammation of the nerves of the eye.

  • Who should not take Enbrel?

    Do not receive Enbrel if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients. Do not receive Enbrel if you have a blood infection that has spread through your body (sepsis).

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Enbrel?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Enbrel. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have a nervous system problem, MS, seizures, diabetes, infections, an open cut or sore, congestive heart failure, a blood disease, any lupus-like disease (disease that affects the immune system), rectal bleeding, shingles (painful rash caused by the chickenpox virus) or have been near someone with shingles, history of lymphoma or cancer, history of tuberculosis (TB), a positive TB skin test, or close contact with someone who has had TB. In addition, tell your doctor if you are scheduled to have surgery, have recently received or are scheduled to receive a vaccine, or if you are allergic to rubber or latex.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Adult Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Psoriatic Arthritis

    Adults: The recommended dose is 50 milligrams (mg) subcutaneously once a week.

    Adult Plaque Psoriasis

    Adults: The recommended dose is 50 mg subcutaneously twice a week for 3 months, then 50 mg once a week thereafter.

    Juvenile Arthritis

    Children ≥2 years: Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child, based on their weight.

  • How should I take Enbrel?

    If your doctor decides that you or your caregiver can give the Enbrel injection at home, he/she will provide instructions on the proper injection technique, as well as on the proper syringe and needle disposal. Use Enbrel exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use extra doses or inject more often without asking your doctor.

    Do not use Enbrel if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.

    Every time you inject Enbrel, rotate between the injection sites (thigh, abdomen, or upper arm). Do not inject into areas where the skin is tender, bruised, red, hard, or has scars or stretch marks. If you have psoriasis, try not to inject directly into any raised, red, thick, or scaly skin patches.

    Do not reuse the syringe, needles, or vial adapter. Do not recap a needle.

  • What should I avoid while taking Enbrel?

    Do not drive or perform unsafe tasks until you know how Enbrel affects you; this medicine may cause dizziness. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines.

    Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Tell your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding, or dark, tarry, or bloody stools.

    Avoid contact with anyone who has chickenpox, shingles, or measles if you did not have these diseases in the past. Tell your doctor if you have been exposed to them.

    Do not receive a live vaccine (such as measles, mumps) while you are taking Enbrel. Talk with your doctor before you receive any vaccine.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Enbrel?

    If Enbrel is used with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Enbrel with the following: abatacept, amphetamines (central nervous system stimulants), anakinra, anti-diabetic medicines, aspirin, cyclophosphamide, lithium, pseudoephedrine, or vaccines.

  • What are the possible side effects of Enbrel?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: cough, dizziness, headache, injection-site reactions (such as bruising, itching, pain, rash, or swelling), mouth sores, nausea, sinus infection, throat infection, upper/lower respiratory tract (lung) infection

    Tell your doctor if you have pain, redness, or swelling around the injection site that does not go away within 3-5 days or gets worse.

  • Can I receive Enbrel if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Enbrel during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Enbrel?

    If you miss a dose of Enbrel, call your doctor for instructions regarding your dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store Enbrel?

    Store in the refrigerator. Do not freeze or shake. Keep in the original carton to protect from light.

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I'm Kristen Dore, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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