Calms down your immune system. Enbrel (Etanercept) is very effective at calming down your immune system, but it's expensive, you have to take into account the hassle of injections and traveling with the medication.
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Enbrel (Etanercept) is a biologic response modifier. It works in the immune system to block a protein called TNF (tumor necrosis factor). Blocking TNF relieves symptoms and prevents disease progression.
› Enbrel (Etanercept) can increase your risk of serious or life-threatening bacterial, fungal and viral infections. In some cases infections can be reactivated from an inactive virus in your body like tuberculosis (TB) or hepatitis B virus (HBV). You may need to take medicine for TB before you can begin taking Enbrel (Etanercept). If you develop symptoms of cough, fever, chills, muscle aches, feel very tired, or you notice dark urine, yellowing of skin/eyes, appetite/weight loss, vomiting, change in stool color, stomach discomfort, and skin rash, tell your doctor and get medical care right away.
Upsides and benefits
› Treats certain types of arthritis conditions caused by an overactive immune system.
› Enbrel is the first biologic approved for moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.
› It has an established safety profile for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
› Available as a single-use syringe and SureClick auto-injector pen which may be more convenient and easier for some people to use.
› People taking Enbrel for rheumatoid arthritis showed significant improvement and were able to reduce the dose or stop immunosuppressant medicines.
Downsides and risks
› It's an injection.
› It's expensive because there's no generic available yet.
› Enbrel lowers your ability to fight infection and can cause serious life-threatening illness. The risk is greater if you take other drugs that lower your immune system, have an active infection, diabetes, or had tuberculosis (TB) in the past.
› You're first dose of Enbrel will need to be given at your doctor's office. If you decide not to self-inject and don't have someone to do it for you, you'll need to continue to see your doctor for each dose.
› You'll need to properly dispose of the needle, syringes, or Pen in a special (FDA-approved) sharps container.
› Because it needs to be refrigerated until you use it, if you're traveling, you'll need to carry it in a cooler with an ice pack.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
› Enbrel (Etanercept) is available as a single-use prefilled syringe, single-use prefilled SureClick Autoinjector, and multiple-use vial. You and your doctor can discuss which is best for you.
› The autoinjector can be stored at room temperature for up to 14 days and can't be refrigerated again.
› Enbrel (Etanercept) is a medication that's injected under the skin (subcutaneous). Your doctor can give you your first dose, then let you self-inject it once so you learn how to do it correctly.
› Enbrel (Etanercept) lowers the your immune system's ability to fight infections, so it's important to let your doctor know if you come down with a fever, cough, or notice flu-like symptoms.
› You'll need to have a TB test before you start using Enbrel (Etanercept).
› Tell your doctor if you have an allergy to latex since the syringe needle cover has latex in it.
› Don't inject Enbrel (Etanercept) into skin that's red, bruised, or irritated. Rotate your injection areas to avoid skin reactions.
› As with all injection medicines, store away from children and throw used syringes away in a protective container, and not in the trash.