- Psoriasis Slideshow: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
- Psoriasis Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
- Moderate to Severe Forms of Psoriasis Slideshow
- What is etanercept, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- 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?
- What is the dosage for etanercept?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with etanercept?
- Is etanercept safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about etanercept?
What is etanercept, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Etanercept is an injectable drug that is used for treating rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis. It works by blocking tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha). Other drugs that block TNF alpha include adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab (Cimzia), golimumab (Simponi), and infliximab (Remicade).
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 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.
Quick GuidePsoriasis Types, Images, Treatments
What is the dosage for etanercept?
Etanercept is injected under the skin.
- Adult rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis: 50 mg weekly
- Plaque psoriasis: 50 mg twice weekly for 3 months, followed by 50 mg once weekly
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis: 0.8 mg/kg weekly, with a maximum of 50 mg per week
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 is prescribed to reduce the signs and symptoms of moderately to severely active juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in children and polyarticular-course. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking this drug.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment
What is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? Learn about juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Discover rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms,...
Ankylosing Spondylitis Quiz: Symptoms & Treatment
What is ankylosing spondylitis? Take this quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, and treatments for this painful disorder....
Rheumatoid Arthritis Quiz: What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
How is rheumatoid arthritis different from other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and gout? Take the Rheumatoid...
Ankylosing Spondylitis: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
What is Ankylosing spondylitis (AS)? Ankylosing spondylitis is arthritis of the spine. It causes symptoms like stiffness and...
Related Disease Conditions
Psoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales....
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints,...
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness...
Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes chronic inflammation of the spine. The tendency to develop ankylosing...
Psoriatic arthritis is a disease that causes skin and joint inflammation. Symptoms include painful, stiff, and swollen joints,...
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...
Kawasaki disease is a rare children's disease characterized by a fever that lasts more than five days and at least four of the...
Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD)
Graft versus host disease (GVHD) is a condition that happens when immune cells from transplanted donor tissue attack the...
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis)
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or JRA) annually affects one child in every thousand. There are six...
Pregnancy and Drugs (Prescription and OTC)
Taking prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs or supplements should be discussed with your doctor. There are some...
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis FAQs
- Ankylosing Spondylitis FAQs
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): 17 Warning Signs of Serious Complications
- Arthritis Drugs and New Meds: 2004 Perspectives
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Medication Disposal - What to Do with Old or Unusable Medication
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- National Arthritis Meeting 2003
- Psoriasis Drugs Strike Immune Targets (Raptiva, Enbrel)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis Perspectives:2003 National Meeting
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- New Version of RA Drug Enbrel: FAQ
- FDA Approves New Biological Drug for Rheumatoid Arthritis
- New Treatments Helping Kids With Juvenile Arthritis
- Nerve Zap Eased Rheumatoid Arthritis in Small Study
- New Drug Shows Promise Against Psoriasis
- The 10 Most-Prescribed and Top-Selling Medications
- Some Arthritis Meds Cost Seniors Thousands Annually
- Lower Doses of Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs May Work for Some
- Many Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients May Skip Meds: Study
- New Psoriasis Drug Shows Promise in Trials
- Popular Crohn's, Colitis Drugs Not Linked to Short-Term Cancer Risk: Study
- Drug Shows Promise Against Arthritis Common in People with Psoriasis
- Childhood Arthritis: Aggressive Treatment Better?
- Standard Rheumatoid Arthritis Therapy as Good as Costlier Newcomer: Study
- Some Types of Skin Cancer Linked to Lower Chances of Alzheimer's
- Newer Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs Don't Seem to Increase Risk of Shingles
- Steroid Shots for Sciatica: Benefits Only Brief, Analysis Finds
- Lupus May Be Linked to Serious Pregnancy Complication
- Newer Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs Don't Raise Cancer Risk: Study
- Some Psoriasis Therapies May Cut Heart Attack Risk
- Study Compares Safety of 'Biologic' Meds for Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Newer Drugs Help RA Patients Live Longer
- Steroids May Help Some With Sciatica
- Higher Cancer Rate Seen in Children With Juvenile Arthritis
- Psoriasis Guidelines Call for Tailored Treatment
- Pill Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
- Pro Golfer Phil Mickelson Treated for Psoriatic Arthritis
- Treating Psoriasis If Enbrel Fails
Daily Health News
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Skin Care & Conditions Newsletter
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.
Top etanercept Related Articles
Ankylosing SpondylitisAnkylosing 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.
Ankylosing SpondylitisWhat is ankylosing spondylitis? Take this quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, and treatments for this painful disorder.
Ankylosing Spondylitis: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and TreatmentWhat is Ankylosing spondylitis (AS)? Ankylosing spondylitis is arthritis of the spine. It causes symptoms like stiffness and inflammation in the vertabrae and pelvis. It is linked to the HLA-B27 gene. Spondylitis is inflammation of the vertebrae. Learn diet and exercise tips for AS, and how to improve posture.
ArthritisArthritis 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.
Biological TherapyThe purpose of biological therapy is to boost the immune system to fight infection and disease. Types of biological therapy include monoclonal antibodies, interleukin-2 (IL-2), and colony-stimulating factors. Side effects of biological therapy may include flu-like symptoms, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
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.
Kawasaki DiseaseKawasaki 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.
PsoriasisPsoriasis 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.
Psoriatic ArthritisPsoriatic arthritis is a disease that causes skin and joint inflammation. Symptoms include painful, stiff, and swollen joints, tendinitis, and organ inflammation. Treatment involves anti-inflammatory medications and exercise.
Rheumatoid ArthritisRheumatoid 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. Because it can affect multiple other organs of the body, rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease.
RA SlideshowWhat is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? Learn about juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Discover rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
Take the RA QuizHow is rheumatoid arthritis different from other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and gout? Take the Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Quiz to rest your RA IQ.
Scalp PsoriasisScalp 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.
Tuberculosis Skin Test (PPD Skin Test)The tuberculosis skin test is based on the fact that infection with M. tuberculosis produces a delayed-type hypersensitivity skin reaction to certain components of the bacterium. The standard recommended tuberculin test is administered by injecting 0.1mL of 5 TU (tuberculin units) PPD into the top layers of skin of the forearm. "Reading" the skin test means detecting a raised, thickened local area of skin reaction, referred to as induration. The area of induration (palpable, raised, hardened area) around the site of injection is the reaction to tuberculin.