Compare Enbrel vs. Methotrexate

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Enbrel
(Etanercept)

Otrexup
(Methotrexate)

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.Treats cancer and changes how your immune system works. Otrexup (Methotrexate) is a first line treatment for many autoimmune diseases and types of cancer. If you're taking it for a long time, you'll have to get routine blood tests.
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Reviews & ratings
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4.99Enbrel
Reviews for Enbrel (Etanercept)
62%
of people (All ages) say Enbrel (Etanercept) is worth it
53%
say it works well
17%
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Enbrel (Etanercept)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

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Have you used Otrexup (Methotrexate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
EnbrelMethotrexate

The Enbrel FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Enbrel side effects »

The Methotrexate FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Methotrexate side effects »
How it works
EnbrelMethotrexate
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.Otrexup (Methotrexate) is an anti-cancer and immunosuppressive medication that treats forms of cancer, arthritis, and psoriasis. For cancer, it helps your body destroy cancer cells by blocking building blocks that cancer cells need to grow. For rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, it lowers the body's normal immune response and prevents the body from attacking itself.
Type of medication
EnbrelMethotrexate
Immunosuppressant
Immunomodulator
Antirheumatic
Biological response modifier
Prescription only
Immunosuppressant
Immunomodulator
Antirheumatic
Biological response modifier
Anticancer
Antimetabolite
Prescription only
Available as
EnbrelMethotrexate
  • Injection
  • Pill
  • Injection
Used for (click to learn more)
EnbrelMethotrexate
Risk factors for serious side effects
EnbrelMethotrexate
  • History of heart failure
  • Taking other immunosuppressant drugs
  • Age 60 or older
  • History of malignancy
  • History of neurologic condition
Detailed risks & warnings »
  • Women of childbearing age
  • Men of childbearing potential
  • Reduced kidney function
  • fluid in the abdomen (ascites)
  • fluid in the lungs (pleural effusion)
Detailed risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

Research studies with real people or animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. If you’re pregnant, the risks to your unborn baby outweigh the benefits.

Alcohol
EnbrelMethotrexate
No alcohol related info.
  • You have to avoid alcohol and being in the sun too long.
  • Don't use alcohol, NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory medications), or stay in the sun too long.
Upsides and benefits
EnbrelMethotrexate
  • 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.
  • Recommended as first line treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Available as a generic medication. Comes as a tablet, an injection that you give yourself weekly, and as an infusion that you get in your doctor's office or at an infusion center.
  • If you accidentally take too much, there's an antidote to help your body recover.
Downsides and risks
EnbrelMethotrexate
  • 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.
  • You have to be on birth control for at least 2 to 3 months after you finish Otrexup (Methotrexate) since it can cause birth defects.
  • You have to avoid alcohol and being in the sun too long.
  • You'll have to get blood tests done if you're taking this long-term because it can cause harmful side effects.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
EnbrelMethotrexate
  • 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.
  • Don't use alcohol, NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory medications), or stay in the sun too long.
  • Use birth control and avoid pregnancy for at least 2 months (for women) and 3 months (for men) after you finish Otrexup (Methotrexate).
  • Drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated while taking this.
  • Take the medication exactly as your doctor or pharmacist tells you. Call your doctor or pharmacist if you're confused.
Learn more
More about EnbrelSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Enbrel (Etanercept)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about MethotrexateSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Otrexup (Methotrexate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it