In adults, Enbrel (Etanercept) can be used for moderate or severe rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, severe ankylosing spondylitis and moderate or severe psoriasis – in each case usually when other widely used treatments have not worked well enough or are not suitable for you.
Why have I been prescribed Enbrel?
In adults (aged 18 and over), Enbrel (Etanercept) can be used for moderate or severe rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, severe ankylosing spondylitis and moderate or severe psoriasis – in each case usually when other widely used treatments have not worked well enough or are not suitable for you.
How does it work?
- Enbrel is a medicine that is made from two human proteins. It blocks the activity of another protein in the body that causes inflammation. Enbrel works by reducing the inflammation associated with certain diseases.
When and how do I take it?
- Store Enbrel in the fridge. After taking a syringe from the refrigerator, wait approximately 15-30 minutes to allow the Enbrel solution in the syringe to reach room temperature. Do not warm in any other way. Immediate use is then recommended.
- Inspect the solution in the syringe. Only inject the solution in the syringe if it is clear, colourless or pale yellow, and free from easily visible particles. If it is not, use a different syringe, then contact your pharmacist for assistance.
- Enbrel is administered by an injection under the skin (by subcutaneous injection). It is usually injected once a week, it may be twice a week depending on the strength prescribed. It should be taken on the same day every week.
- Enbrel can be taken with or without food or drink.
What’s the dose?
Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis:
- The usual dose is 25 mg given twice a week or 50 mg once a week.
- The usual dose is 25 mg twice a week or 50 mg once a week.
- Alternatively, 50 mg may be given twice a week for up to 12 weeks, followed by 25 mg twice a week or 50 mg once a week.
For children, the dose will be calculated according to weight.
If Enbrel has no effect on your condition after 12 weeks, your doctor may tell you to stop
taking this medicine.
Could it interact with other tablets?
Tell the doctor or pharmacist if you or the child are taking or have recently taken any other medicines (including anakinra, abatacept or sulfasalazine), even those not prescribed by the doctor. You or the child should not use Enbrel with medicines that contain the active substance anakinra or abatacept.
Herbal supplements should be used with caution and only after informing your doctor first.
What are the possible risks or side-effects?
The side effects listed below are those that have been seen in adult patients. The side effects seen in children and adolescents are similar to those seen in adults.
- Infections (including colds, sinusitis, bronchitis, urinary tract infections and skin infections)
- injection site reactions (including bleeding, bruising, redness, itching, pain, and swelling)
- Reactions at the injection site are very common, but do not occur as often after the first month of treatment. Some patients have developed a reaction at an injection site that was used before.
- serious infections (including pneumonia, deep skin infections, joint infections, blood infection, and infections at various sites)
- low blood platelet count
- skin cancer (excluding melanoma)
- localised swelling of the skin (angioedema)
- hives (elevated patches of red or pale skin that often itch)
- eye inflammation
- inflammation or scarring of the lungs
- serious allergic reactions (including severe localised swelling of the skin and wheezing)
- combined low platelet, red, and white blood cell count
- nervous system disorders (with signs and symptoms similar to those of multiple sclerosis or inflammation of the nerves of the eyes or spinal cord)
- worsening congestive heart failure
- lupus or lupus-like syndrome (symptoms may include persistent rash, fever, joint pain, and tiredness)
- inflammation of the blood vessels
- low red blood cell count, low white blood cell count, low neutrophil (a type of white blood cell) count; elevated liver blood tests
- skin rash, which may lead to severe blistering and peeling of the skin
- failure of the bone marrow to produce crucial blood cells
Can I drink alcohol while taking it?
- There are no known interactions between alcohol and Enbrel. Always ask your doctor/pharmacist however as this may depend on what other tablets you are taking.
What if I’m pregnant/breastfeeding?
The use of Enbrel in pregnant women is not recommended, and women of child-bearing potential should be advised not to get pregnant during Enbrel therapy.
It is not recommended to breast feed and take Enbrel at the same time.
If you have any more questions please ask your Pharmacist.
Remember to keep all medicines out of reach of children
Please Note: We have made every effort to ensure that the content of this information sheet is correct at time of publish, but remember that information about drugs may change. This sheet does not list all the uses and side-effects associated with this drug. For full details please see the drug information leaflet which comes with your medicine. Your doctor will assess your medical circumstances and draw your attention to any information or side-effects which may be relevant in your particular case.