What is Enbrel?

Enbrel is an injectible medication used to treat several forms of arthritis and psoriasis. It was first approved in 1998. According to the manufacturer’s website, it is currently FDA approved to treat these conditions:

  • Moderate to Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Active Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis,
  • Psoriatic Arthritis,
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis,
  • Moderate to Severe Plaque Psoriasis.

How Effective is Enbrel? 66% of people with moderate to severe RA saw less pain and stiffness with Enbrel at three months. Over half (55%) of people who were still taking Enbrel five years after starting therapy had no additional joint damage.

How Safe is Enbrel? Generally it is safe, in one six month study 25% (39 of 152)  of patients with RA taking placebo and 14% of patients (50 of 349) taking Enbrel developed infections, including bacterial, viral and fungal infections. The most frequent infections were upper respiratory tract infections, sinusitis and influenza. Further information may be found here.

Other side effects include:

Other rare side effects of Enbrel have been reported:

  • Hepatitis B can become activated if you are a carrier.
  • Tuberculosis can become active if you have been exposed in the past.
  • Nervous system problems such as multiple sclerosis, seizures, or inflammation of eye nerves may occur
  • Occassional blood problems such as low white blood cells or anemia (very rare, but some fatal)
  • New or worsening heart failure.

How is Enbrel given? There are three ways to receive Enbrel; the first is an autoinjector pen called ‘Sureclick’, the second is a prefilled syringe and the third is a multiple use vial that requires mixing. Videos of all methods can be viewed here.

How much does Enbrel cost? The cost to patients varies wildly, based upon insurance coverage. Without insurance the cost is estimated at several thousand dollars per month.  There are several patient assistance programs and foundations that can be found here.

Enbrel is most commonly used to treat Rheumatoid arthritis, and the six warning signs of RA can be found here. To see if your symptoms place you at risk of having RA, take the interactive quiz at www.PainSpot.com


About Doug Roberts MD

Board certified practicing rheumatologist and founder of PainSpot.com
This entry was posted in arthritis medicines, rheumatoid arthritis, TNF drug safety. Bookmark the permalink.

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