Compare Enbrel vs. Stelara

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

Enbrel
(Etanercept)

Stelara
(Ustekinumab)

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 moderate to severe psoriasis. Stelara (Ustekinumab) works for two psoriatic conditions. It may be somewhat of a hassle because of the injection, but after the first two doses, you only need to take it every 12 weeks.
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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
Reviews for Stelara (Ustekinumab)
43%
15% vs. Enbrel (Etanercept)
39%
13% vs. Enbrel (Etanercept)
22%
3% vs. Enbrel (Etanercept)
Side effects
EnbrelStelara
  • 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 »
  • Headache 2%
  • Nausea 2%
  • Joint pain 2%
  • Dizziness 1%
  • Itching 1%
  • Back pain 1%
  • Throat pain 1%
  • Fatigue 1%
More Stelara side effects »
How it works
EnbrelStelara
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.Stelara (Ustekinumab) is a biologic response modifier, or biologic. It blocks two immune system proteins called IL-12 and IL-23. This slows down new skin cell formation, and lowers inflammation for people with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
Type of medication
EnbrelStelara
Immunosuppressant
Immunomodulator
Antirheumatic
Biological response modifier
Prescription only
Immunosuppressant
Immunomodulator
Antipsoriatic
Biological response modifier
Prescription only
Available as
EnbrelStelara
  • Injection
  • Injection
Used for (click to learn more)
EnbrelStelara
Risk factors for serious side effects
EnbrelStelara
    • 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
          • Age 60 or older
          • Long-term use of drugs that suppress the immune system
          • History of PUVA (photochemotherapy)
          • Preeclampsia/eclampsia
          • Acute hypertension
          • Taking other drugs that suppress the immune system
          • Taking cytotoxic chemotherapy
              Detailed Stelara (Ustekinumab) risks & warnings »
              Pregnancy category
              EnbrelStelara
              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
              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
              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.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
              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.
              • Stelara (Ustekinumab) can increase your risk of serious bacterial, fungal and viral infections. In some cases infections can be reactivated from an inactive virus in your body like tuberculosis (TB). You may need to take medicine for TB before you can begin taking Stelara (Ustekinumab). 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
              EnbrelStelara
              • 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.
              • Stelara (Ustekinumab) works throughout your whole body (systemic therapy) and may be better than just applying medicine to your skin (local therapy) for moderate or severe plaque psoriasis that covers large areas or many areas of your body.
              • It's used alone or together with another medicine called methotrexate for better results to treat active psoriatic arthritis.
              • Initial dosing might be a hassle, but then you only have to take it every 12 weeks.
              • People treated with Stelara (Ustekinumab) for psoriatic arthritis felt better and had more physical improvement compared to not using the medicine (placebo).
              Downsides and risks
              EnbrelStelara
              • 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.
              • It's an injection.
              • Stelara (Ustekinumab) 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 have to get your first dose of Stelara (Ustekinumab) 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 and syringes in a special (FDA-approved) sharps container.
              • Because Stelara (Ustekinumab) 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.
              • It's an injection.
              Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
              EnbrelStelara
              • 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.
              • Stelara (Ustekinumab) is an immunosuppressant medication that's injected under the skin (subcutaneous).
              • Your doctor will give your first dose then let you self-inject once you learn how to do it correctly.
              • It's very important you read the Medication Guide especially if you're giving yourself injections.
              • Usual dosing to build up the medicine in your body is a starting dose, then 4 weeks, then 12 weeks. Maintenance dosing is every 12 weeks.
              • You'll need to have a TB test before you start injecting Stelara (Ustekinumab).
              • Tell your doctor if you have an allergy to latex. The prefilled syringe needle cover contains a latex product.
              • Don't use/inject if the medicine contains any particles or is discolored.
              • Rotate your injection areas using front of the thigh, outer area of upper arms or lower part of your belly (not around belly button). Don't inject into skin that's red, bruised or irritated.
              • Stelara (Ustekinumab) can increase your risk of common infections, reactivate infections hidden in your body, and in some people, cause rare infections.
              • Serious and life-threatening nervous system and allergic reactions can happen immediately, days or months after starting Stelara (Ustekinumab). Stelara (Ustekinumab) can increase your risk of certain skin cancer.
              • Dispose of used syringes in a protective (Sharps) container. DON'T throw in the trash.
              • Don't get any live vaccines while you're taking Stelara (Ustekinumab). If you need to get a vaccine, ask your doctor first.
              Learn more
              More about EnbrelSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
              More about StelaraSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert