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Enbrel (Etanercept): Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Warnings

UpdatedMay 29, 2024

Enbrel (Etanercept) is a medication that is used to treat certain autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and plaque psoriasis. It is a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker that works by reducing inflammation in the body. In this article, we will explore the uses, dosage, potential side effects, warnings, and precautions associated with Enbrel.

Enbrel is administered through injection and is available in both pre-filled syringes and auto-injectors. The dosage and administration of Enbrel will depend on the condition being treated, the patient's weight, and other factors. It is important to follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider and to not alter your dosage or stop taking Enbrel without consulting with your doctor first.

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Key Takeaways

  • Enbrel is a medication that is used to treat certain autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and plaque psoriasis.
  • Enbrel is administered through injection and the dosage and administration will depend on the condition being treated and other factors.
  • Enbrel may cause potential side effects and it is important to follow the warnings and precautions provided by your healthcare provider.

Enbrel (Etanercept)

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What is Enbrel (Etanercept)?

Enbrel (Etanercept) is a medication used to treat autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and plaque psoriasis. It is a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker that works by decreasing TNF, a protein produced by the immune system to help the body fight infections. In people with autoimmune disorders, the immune system produces too much TNF and mistakenly attacks healthy cells, causing inflammation and damage to tissues and organs.

Etanercept is a biologic drug that is made from living cells and must be injected under the skin or into a muscle. It is available as a prefilled syringe or autoinjector for self-administration at home or as a vial for healthcare providers to give in a clinic or hospital setting.

Enbrel is not a cure for autoimmune diseases but can help manage symptoms and slow down joint damage. It may take several weeks to months to see the full effect of the medication, and it should be used as directed by a healthcare provider.

Enbrel is generally well-tolerated, but like any medication, it can cause side effects. The most common side effects include injection site reactions, such as redness, swelling, itching, or pain, and upper respiratory infections, such as colds or flu-like symptoms. Rare but serious side effects may include infections, allergic reactions, blood disorders, nervous system problems, or worsening of heart failure. It is important to report any new or unusual symptoms to a healthcare provider promptly.

Uses of Enbrel

Enbrel (Etanercept) is a medication that is used to treat various autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, plaque psoriasis, and polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Enbrel is a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker that works by decreasing TNF, a protein produced by the immune system that helps the body fight infections. In people with autoimmune disorders, the immune system produces too much TNF and mistakenly attacks healthy cells.

Enbrel is used to reduce the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. It is also used to treat plaque psoriasis in adults and children who are at least 4 years old. Enbrel can also be used to treat polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis in children who are at least 2 years old.

Enbrel is a subcutaneous injection that is self-administered or given by a healthcare provider. The dosage of Enbrel varies depending on the condition being treated and the patient's weight. The medication is usually given once a week, but the frequency may be adjusted based on the patient's response to treatment.

Enbrel is not a cure for autoimmune disorders, but it can help manage the symptoms and improve the patient's quality of life. It is important to note that Enbrel may increase the risk of infections, including serious infections such as tuberculosis and sepsis. Patients should be monitored closely for signs of infection while taking Enbrel. Additionally, Enbrel may increase the risk of certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma. Patients should discuss the risks and benefits of Enbrel with their healthcare provider before starting treatment.

Dosage and Administration

Enbrel (etanercept) is a prescription medication that comes in five different injected forms. The dosage and administration of Enbrel vary depending on the condition being treated. It is important to follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider carefully.

Enbrel is self-injectable and can be administered at home. It is available in single-use prefilled syringes, SureClick autoinjectors, and powder for injection vials. The medication should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature between 36°F and 46°F (2°C to 8°C). Do not freeze Enbrel. If needed, Enbrel can be stored at room temperature for up to 14 days.

Before using Enbrel, check the expiration date on the carton. Do not use Enbrel if the expiration date has passed. The medication should be clear and colorless. Do not use Enbrel if it is discolored or contains particles.

The dosage of Enbrel depends on the condition being treated. For rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis, the typical dose is 50 mg injected under the skin once a week. For plaque psoriasis, the starting dose is 50 mg injected under the skin twice a week for 3 months. Afterward, your healthcare provider will lower your dose to 50 mg per week.

Enbrel should be administered by injection under the skin (subcutaneously). The medication should be injected into the thigh, abdomen (except for the 2-inch area right around the navel), or outer area of the upper arm. Do not inject Enbrel into areas where the skin is tender, bruised, red, or hard.

Enbrel SureClick autoinjectors are designed to be easy to use. The instructions for use are provided in the package insert. The prefilled syringes and powder for injection vials require reconstitution with a diluent before use. The instructions for reconstitution and administration are also provided in the package insert.

If you have any questions about the dosage or administration of Enbrel, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Potential Side Effects

Enbrel (Etanercept) is generally well-tolerated, but like any medication, it can cause side effects. Most side effects are mild and go away on their own, but some can be serious and require medical attention. It is important to discuss the potential side effects of Enbrel with your doctor before starting treatment.

Common side effects of Enbrel include injection site reactions such as redness, pain, swelling, and itching. These reactions are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days. Other common side effects include cold or flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, and diarrhea. If you experience any of these side effects, talk to your doctor.

Less common but more serious side effects of Enbrel include an allergic reaction, which can cause hives, itching, and difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Enbrel can also cause a skin rash or scaly patches on the skin. If you develop a rash, talk to your doctor.

Some people may experience numbness, tingling, or other neurological symptoms while taking Enbrel. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. Enbrel can also cause a decrease in white blood cells, which can increase the risk of infection. If you develop an infection while taking Enbrel, talk to your doctor.

In rare cases, Enbrel can cause serious side effects such as liver damage or heart failure. If you experience any symptoms such as yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain, or shortness of breath, seek medical attention immediately.

It is important to remember that not everyone will experience side effects while taking Enbrel. If you have any concerns about the potential side effects of Enbrel, talk to your doctor. They can help you weigh the benefits and risks of taking this medication and determine if it is the right treatment option for you.

Warnings and Precautions

Enbrel (Etanercept) is a medication that can cause serious side effects. Before using this medication, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Here are some warnings and precautions to keep in mind:

  • Allergic reactions: Enbrel can cause allergic reactions, which can be severe. If you experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing, hives, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Infections: Enbrel can increase the risk of infections, including serious infections such as tuberculosis and sepsis. If you have an infection, do not use Enbrel until the infection has cleared up. If you develop symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, or persistent sore throat, contact your doctor immediately.
  • Cancer: There have been reports of cancer in patients who have used Enbrel. It is not known if Enbrel increases the risk of cancer. If you have a history of cancer, discuss the risks and benefits of using Enbrel with your doctor.
  • Heart failure: Enbrel can cause heart failure in some patients. If you have a history of heart failure or other heart problems, discuss the risks and benefits of using Enbrel with your doctor.
  • Interactions: Enbrel may interact with other medications, including immunosuppressants and live vaccines. Before using Enbrel, inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking.
  • Latex: The needle cover on Enbrel contains latex. If you have a latex allergy, inform your doctor before using Enbrel.
  • Pregnancy: Enbrel may harm an unborn baby. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, discuss the risks and benefits of using Enbrel with your doctor.

It is important to inform your doctor of any medical conditions you have, including diabetes, seizures, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and multiple sclerosis, as these conditions may affect your use of Enbrel. Additionally, if you have a weakened immune system or have been exposed to someone with tuberculosis, inform your doctor before using Enbrel.

In summary, Enbrel is a medication that can cause serious side effects. Before using this medication, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor and inform them of any medical conditions you have. If you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction, infection, or heart failure, seek medical attention immediately.

Interactions with Other Medications

Enbrel (Etanercept) is known to interact with various prescription medications, including abatacept, anakinra, cyclophosphamide, and methotrexate. It is important to inform your pharmacist or healthcare provider about all the medications you are currently taking before starting Enbrel.

There are 443 drugs known to interact with Enbrel, according to Drugs.com. Of the total drug interactions, 259 are major, 177 are moderate, and 7 are minor. Some of the major drug interactions include:

  • Abatacept: Using Enbrel with abatacept may increase the risk of serious infections.
  • Anakinra: Using Enbrel with anakinra may increase the risk of serious infections and may decrease the effectiveness of Enbrel.
  • Cyclophosphamide: Using Enbrel with cyclophosphamide may increase the risk of serious infections.
  • Methotrexate: Using Enbrel with methotrexate may increase the risk of serious infections and may decrease the effectiveness of Enbrel.

It is important to note that this is not a complete list of all possible drug interactions. Always consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking any new medications while using Enbrel.

In addition to prescription medications, Enbrel may also interact with over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements. It is important to inform your healthcare provider about all the medications and supplements you are currently taking before starting Enbrel.

If you experience any unusual symptoms while taking Enbrel, such as fever, night sweats, itching, loss of appetite, weight loss, tiredness, pain in your upper stomach that may spread to your shoulder, nausea, easy bruising or bleeding, pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, or rapid heart rate, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Special Considerations

When taking Enbrel (Etanercept), there are certain special considerations that you should keep in mind. Here are some important things to consider:

  • Children: Enbrel can be used in children aged 4 years and older for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. Children who weigh 138 pounds (63 kg) or more will receive one 50-mg injection each week. For children who weigh less than 138 pounds (63 kg), the healthcare provider will determine the appropriate dose.
  • Injection site reactions: Injection site reactions are common with Enbrel. These may include redness, swelling, itching, or pain at the injection site. These reactions are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days. In rare cases, injection site reactions may be severe. If you experience severe injection site reactions, contact your healthcare provider.
  • Live vaccines: Enbrel may affect your immune system, making it less effective at fighting infections. Therefore, it is important to avoid live vaccines while taking Enbrel. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), varicella (chickenpox), and the nasal spray flu vaccine.
  • Biosimilar: Erelzi is a biosimilar to Enbrel, which means that it is similar to Enbrel in terms of its effectiveness and safety. However, it may have some differences in terms of how it is administered, its storage requirements, and its cost. If you are considering switching from Enbrel to Erelzi, talk to your healthcare provider to determine if it is the right choice for you.
  • Refrigeration: Enbrel should be refrigerated at a temperature between 36°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C). Do not freeze Enbrel, and do not use it if it has been frozen. If you are traveling with Enbrel, it can be stored at room temperature (up to 77°F or 25°C) for up to 14 days. After 14 days, any unused Enbrel should be discarded.
  • Weight loss: Enbrel has been associated with weight loss in some patients. If you experience significant weight loss while taking Enbrel, talk to your healthcare provider.
  • HIV: Enbrel may increase the risk of infections, including HIV. If you have HIV or are at risk of HIV, talk to your healthcare provider before taking Enbrel.
  • Forms: Enbrel is available in both a prefilled syringe and a single-use autoinjector. Your healthcare provider will determine which form is best for you based on your needs and preferences.

It is important to follow your healthcare provider's instructions when taking Enbrel to ensure that you get the most benefit from the medication while minimizing the risk of side effects. If you have any questions or concerns about Enbrel, talk to your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the common side effects of Enbrel?

Common side effects of Enbrel include injection site reactions, infections, headache, and nausea. Other side effects may include abdominal pain, back pain, and respiratory infections. It is important to speak with your doctor if you experience any side effects while taking Enbrel.

2. What are the potential mental side effects of Enbrel?

Enbrel may cause potential mental side effects such as depression, anxiety, and mood changes. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to speak with your doctor.

3. What are the potential side effects of taking Enbrel and methotrexate together?

Taking Enbrel and methotrexate together may increase the risk of infections and liver damage. It is important to speak with your doctor about the potential risks and benefits of taking these medications together.

4. What are some foods to avoid while taking Enbrel?

There are no specific foods to avoid while taking Enbrel. However, it is important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet to support your overall health.

5. What are the potential side effects of Enbrel on the eyes?

Enbrel may cause potential side effects on the eyes such as blurred vision, dry eyes, and eye pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to speak with your doctor.

6. Does Enbrel cause hair loss as a side effect?

Hair loss is not a common side effect of Enbrel. If you experience hair loss while taking Enbrel, it is important to speak with your doctor.

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