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 to prevent joint damage. Enbrel (etanercept) effectively calms down your immune system, but it puts you at risk of serious infections.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.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.99Enbrel
Reviews for Enbrel
62%
of people (All ages) say Enbrel 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
  • Infections 11%
  • Upper airway infections 8%
  • Injection site reactions 26%
  • Non-upper respiratory infections 6%
  • Rash 1%
  • Fever 3%
  • Itchiness 1%
More Enbrel side effects »
  • Elevated liver function tests 15%
  • Nausea/vomiting 10%
  • Mouth and lip swelling 10%
  • Thrombocytopenia 10%
  • Rash/pruritus/dermatitis 3%
  • Diarrhea 3%
  • Hair loss or baldness 3%
  • Low white blood cells 3%
  • Low blood cell count 3%
  • Dizziness 3%
More Methotrexate side effects »
How it works
EnbrelMethotrexate
Enbrel (etanercept) blocks a protein called TNF (tumor necrosis factor) in the immune system which lowers inflammation, 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
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
EnbrelMethotrexate
  • Injection
  • Pill
  • Injection
Used for
EnbrelMethotrexate
Risk factors for serious side effects
EnbrelMethotrexate
  • Latex allergy
  • History of heart failure
  • Taking other immunosuppressant drugs
  • Age 65 or older
Detailed Enbrel (etanercept) 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 Otrexup (methotrexate) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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.
  • Don't use alcohol, NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory medications), or stay in the sun too long.
  • You have to avoid alcohol and being in the sun too long.
Upsides and benefits
EnbrelMethotrexate
  • People taking Enbrel (etanercept) for rheumatoid arthritis showed significant improvement and were able to reduce the dose or stop their other RA medicines.
  • Enbrel (etanercept) can work for you even if other medications didn't help your rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Enbrel (etanercept) is the first biologic approved for moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. Since it has been around for a long time, its side effects are well known.
  • Many people have only minor or no side effects.
  • It's available as a pre-filled syringe and SureClick auto-injector pen which some people find more convenient and easier to use.
  • 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
  • Enbrel (etanercept) raises your risk of serious or life-threatening infections, including tuberculosis (TB).
  • Enbrel (etanercept) can increase the risk of lymphoma, leukemia and other cancers.
  • May not be the best choice if you have a history of heart failure or nervous system problems like multiple sclerosis.
  • You'll need to have regular blood tests before and during treatment to make sure you don't have any problems taking Enbrel (etanercept).
  • You could get injection site reactions such as redness, swelling, rash, itching, or bruising.
  • 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 an injection and a SureClick Autoinjector. You and your doctor can discuss which is best for you.
  • 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 you learn how to do it correctly.
  • Enbrel (etanercept) lowers your immune system's ability to fight infections including tuberculosis (TB), fungal, viral, and bacterial infections. Your doctor will check for TB and hepatitis B before starting Enbrel (etanercept). Let your doctor know if you come down with a fever, cough, or notice flu-like symptoms before or during treatment.
  • Enbrel (etanercept) can cause redness, rash, swelling, itching, or bruising at the site of injection. Do not inject into skin that's already red, bruised, or irritated. Rotate your injection areas to avoid skin reactions.
  • Keep Enbrel (etanercept) refrigerated, but let it rest at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes before using it. Enbrel (etanercept) should not be used if kept at room temperature for longer than 14 days.
  • You should not receive certain vaccinations with Enbrel (etanercept). Discuss with your doctor about your vaccine history and whether you need to receive any vaccines before treatment.
  • 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