Compare Enbrel vs. Rituxan

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

Enbrel
(Etanercept)

Rituxan
(Rituximab)

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.Calms down your immune system. Rituxan (Rituximab) is effective for treating multiple types of cancer and arthritis. That said, you'll need to watch for possibly serious side effects, especially infusion reactions.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.924050632911392Enbrel
Reviews for Enbrel (Etanercept)
58%
of people say Enbrel (Etanercept) is worth it
52%
say it works well
19%
say it's a big hassle

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Side effects
EnbrelRituxan
  • Injection site reactions 26%
  • Any infection 11%
  • Positive anti-double-stranded dna antibodies 11%
  • Upper respiratory infections 8%
  • Non-upper respiratory infections 6%
  • Positive ana 6%
  • Itching 1%
  • Rash 1%
More Enbrel side effects »
  • Low blood phosphate 11%
  • Acute infusion reactions 8%
  • Cardiac side effect 1%
More Rituxan side effects »
How it works
EnbrelRituxan
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.Rituxan (Rituximab) is a monoclonal antibody. It targets a specific protein on white blood cells that makes it easier for your immune system to find and destroy cancerous cells. It also relieves symptoms and slows the progression of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Type of medication
EnbrelRituxan
Immunosuppressant
Immunomodulator
Antirheumatic
Biological response modifier
Prescription only
Immunosuppressant
Immunomodulator
Antirheumatic
Biological response modifier
Anticancer
Biological response modifier
Prescription only
Available as
EnbrelRituxan
  • Injection
  • Infusion (IV)
Used for (click to learn more)
EnbrelRituxan
Risk factors for serious side effects
EnbrelRituxan
    • History of heart failure
    • Taking other immunosuppressant drugs
    • Age 60 or older
    • Taking other immunosuppressant drugs
    • History of malignancy
    • History of neurologic condition
      Detailed Enbrel (Etanercept) risks & warnings »
        • Taking other immunosuppressant drugs
        • Age 60 or older
        • Weak immune system
        • Taking Rituxan (Rituximab) with immunosuppressant drugs (if using for RA)
        • Taking Rituxan (Rituximab) with chemotherapy (if using for NHL or CLL
        • Stem cell transplant
          • Taking Rituxan (Rituximab) for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL)
          • Rapidly growing tumors
          • History of heart problems
          • Drug interactions
          • Start of therapy with Rituxan (Rituximab)
            Detailed Rituxan (Rituximab) risks & warnings »
            Pregnancy category
            EnbrelRituxan
            BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

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

            See the FDA package insert
            CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

            Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

            See the FDA package insert
            Alcohol
            No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
            Food
            No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
            Kidneys and liver
            No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
            • Discuss with your doctor the serious heart, kidney, liver, or stomach problems that can happen while on Rituxan (Rituximab).
            • Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS) happens when cancer cells are broken down very quickly and damage the kidneys. The damage can be so bad that people need dialysis. If you're taking Rituxan (Rituximab) for a cancer condition your doctor can give you medicines and take measures to prevent this reaction.
            Sex
            No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
            Sleep
            No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
            Weight
            • 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.
            • Rituxan (Rituximab) can increase your risk of serious or life-threatening bacterial, fungal and viral infections including sepsis. 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 Rituxan (Rituximab). 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
            EnbrelRituxan
            • 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.
            • Treats leukemia, lymphoma, and blood vessel inflammation.
            • Also treats moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis that hasn't responded to anti-TNF treatment (but you'll need to take methotrexate too).
            • The chance of having a reaction to the infusion is highest during your first dose, but the risk decreases each time you get Rituxan (Rituximab). It usually happens within 30 minutes to 2 hours after starting the infusion.
            • Rituxan (Rituximab) is a targeted therapy that works differently than chemotherapy. Both work well when they're taken together, especially when treating CLL and NHL.
            Downsides and risks
            EnbrelRituxan
            • 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.
            • Only your doctor or other trained medical staff can administer Rituxan (Rituximab), so you'll need to go into an office or clinic for every dose.
            • Not the best choice if you have heart problems.
            • Rituxan (Rituximab) can stay in your body for up to 6 months after you complete treatment. Men and women who are able to have children need to use birth control for up to one year after finishing Rituxan (Rituximab).
            • Discuss with your doctor the serious heart, kidney, liver, or stomach problems that can happen while on Rituxan (Rituximab).
            Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
            EnbrelRituxan
            • 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.
            • Rituxan (Rituximab) is given as an IV infusion by trained medical staff in a clinic or hospital.
            • You'll need to be monitored in the clinic in case you have a serious or life-threatening reaction during the infusion, but you can take other medications that'll lower your risk of this happening.
            • It's very important that you read the Medication Guide before you start taking Rituxan (Rituximab).
            • Rituxan (Rituximab) lowers your immune system's ability to fight infections, so it's important to let your doctor know if you notice a fever, a cough that doesn't go away, or flu-like symptoms.
            • Use effective birth control while you're taking Rituxan (Rituximab) and for 12 months after you finish treatment.
            • Don't get live vaccines while you're taking Rituxan (Rituximab).
            Learn more
            More about EnbrelSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
            More about RituxanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert