What is etanercept? What is etanercept used for?
TNF alpha is a protein that the body produces during when there is inflammation, the body's reaction to injury. TNF alpha promotes inflammation and its associated fever and signs (pain, tenderness, and swelling) in several inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Etanercept is a synthetic (man-made) protein that binds to TNF alpha. It thereby acts like a sponge to remove most of the TNF alpha from the joints and blood. This prevents TNF alpha from promoting inflammation and the fever, pain, tenderness, and swelling of joints in patients with rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Etanercept prevents the progressive destruction of the joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and the arthritis of psoriasis. The FDA approved etanercept in November 1998.
What brand names are available for etanercept?
Is etanercept available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for etanercept?
What are the side effects of etanercept?
The most common side effects are:
- mild to moderate itching,
- swelling and redness at the site of injection,
- nasal and throat.
TNF alpha has an important role in the responses of the immune system to infections. Thus, blocking the action of TNF alpha with etanercept may worsen or increase the occurrence of infections such as tuberculosis, bacterial sepsis, invasive fungal infections (such as histoplasmosis), and other opportunistic infections (infections that occur primarily in patients with suppressed immune systems). Patients with serious infections should not receive etanercept, and etanercept should be discontinued if a patient develops a serious infection. Etanercept should be used with caution in patients prone to infection, such as those with advanced or poorly controlled diabetes. Children should receive their recommended immunizations before treatment with etanercept.
Some reported associated conditions may or may not be related to etanercept.
Other important side effects include:
For this reason, etanercept is not recommended for persons with preexisting disease of the central nervous system (brain and/or spinal cord) or for those with multiple sclerosis, myelitis, or optic neuritis. Additionally, rare cases of seriously low blood counts (pancytopenia) have been reported in patients using etanercept. New cases or worsening of congestive heart failure may occur.
What is the dosage for etanercept?
Etanercept is injected under the skin.
Which drugs or supplements interact with etanercept?
Because etanercept may reduce the response of the immune system, etanercept should not be administered with live vaccines. Combining etanercept with anakinra (Kineret) or abatacept (Orencia), drugs that also reduce the response of the immune system may increase the risk of serious infections.
Is etanercept safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Studies have not been conducted in pregnant women. Animal studies using doses 60-100 times human doses did not reveal toxicity to the fetus. Since animal studies are not always predictive of human response, etanercept is only used in pregnant women when there is a clear need.
It is unknown whether etanercept is excreted in human breast milk. Because of the risk of serious effects in the infant, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or etanercept.
What else should I know about etanercept?
What preparations of etanercept are available?
25 mg multiple use vial; 25 or 50 mg prefilled syringe; 50 mg prefilled autoinjector.
How should I keep etanercept stored?
Sterile powder and pre-filled syringes should be refrigerated at 2 C to 8 C (36 F to 46 F). Reconstituted solutions made from the powder should be used as soon as possible but may be stored in the vial at 2 C - 8 C (36 F - 46 F) for 14 days.
Etanercept (Enbrel) is a drug prescribed for treating rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis. Etanercept is injectable and reduces pain, swelling, and tenderness of joints due to moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis in adults. Etanercept also may help treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in children and polyarticular-course.
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Related Disease Conditions
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as well as other organs in the body. Early RA signs and symptoms include anemia, both sides of the body affected (symmetric), depression, fatigue, fever, joint deformity, joint pain, joint redness, joint stiffness, joint swelling, joint tenderness, joint warmth, limping, loss of joint function, loss of joint range of motion, and polyarthritis.
Psoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales. There are several types of psoriasis, including psoriasis vulgaris, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and pustular psoriasis. Symptoms vary depending on the type of psoriasis the patient has. Treatment of psoriasis may include creams, lotions, oral medications, injections and infusions of biologics, and light therapy. There is no cure for psoriasis.
Arthritis (Joint Inflammation)
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness and pain. There are over 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, gout, and pseudogout.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes chronic inflammation of the spine. The tendency to develop ankylosing spondylitis is genetically inherited. Treatment incorporates medications, physical therapy, and exercise.
Psoriatic arthritis is a disease that causes skin and joint inflammation. Symptoms and signs include painful, stiff, and swollen joints, tendinitis, and organ inflammation. Treatment involves anti-inflammatory medications and exercise.
Scalp Psoriasis (Psoriasis of the Scalp)
Scalp psoriasis causes red, raised, scaly patches that may extend from the scalp to the forehead and the back of the neck and ears. Symptoms and signs include itching, hair loss, flaking, silvery scales, and red plaques. Treatment includes topical medicated shampoos, creams, gels, oils, ointments, and soaps, medications, and light therapy.
Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD)
Graft versus host disease (GVHD) is a condition that happens when immune cells from transplanted donor tissue attack the recipient's tissues. Signs and symptoms of acute GVHD include enteritis, hepatitis, and dermatitis. Chronic GVHD symptoms and signs include rash, skin discoloration, dry mouth or eyes, jaundice, fatigue, and wheezing, among others. The standard of GVHD treatment is immunosuppressant medications.
What Is Kawasaki Disease?
Kawasaki disease is a rare children's disease characterized by a fever that lasts more than five days and at least four of the following five symptoms are present: rash, swollen neck lymph gland, red tongue, swelling or redness of the hands or feet, and conjunctivitis. High doses of aspirin are used to treat Kawasaki disease. Cortisone and anti-inflammatory drugs may also be used during treatment.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA)
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) annually affects one child in every thousand. There are six types of JRA. Treatment of juvenile arthritis depends upon the type the child has and should focus on treating the symptoms that manifest.
Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are chronic joint disorders. RA is also an autoimmune disease. OA and RA symptoms and signs include joint pain, warmth, and tenderness. Over-the-counter pain relievers treat both diseases. There are several prescription medications that treat RA.
Non-Radiographic Axial Spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA)
Non-radiographic spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA) is an inflammatory arthritis that mainly affects the joints of the spine. Morning stiffness and back pain are the usual symptoms of nr-axSpA. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, exercise, and biologics are treatments for nr-axSpA.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
- Ankylosing Spondylitis (Bechterew's Disease)
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD)
- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
- Non-Radiographic Axial Spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA)
- Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis FAQs
- Ankylosing Spondylitis FAQs
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): 17 Warning Signs of Serious Complications
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- National Arthritis Meeting 2003
- Rheumatoid Arthritis Perspectives:2003 National Meeting
- Psoriasis Drugs Strike Immune Targets (Raptiva, Enbrel)
- Arthritis Drugs and New Meds: 2004 Perspectives
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.