Compare Enbrel vs. Stelara

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



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 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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Coupons for Enbrel
Best available price for 3.92 (4 sureclicks of 50mg) cartons of enbrel
Coupons for Stelara
Best available price for 0.5 (0.5ml of 45mg/0.5ml) syringes of stelara
Reviews & ratings
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Filter group. All currently selected
Reviews for Enbrel
of people (All ages) say Enbrel is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Enbrel (etanercept)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Stelara
+14% better vs. Enbrel
+11% better vs. Enbrel
+3% better vs. Enbrel
Have you used Stelara (ustekinumab)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
  • 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 »
  • Headache 2%
  • Fatigue 1%
  • Itching 1%
  • Back pain 1%
  • Dizziness 1%
  • Throat pain 1%
  • Injection site erythema 2%
More Stelara side effects »
How it works
Enbrel (etanercept) blocks a protein called TNF (tumor necrosis factor) in the immune system which lowers inflammation, 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
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
  • Injection
  • Injection
Used for
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • Latex allergy
  • History of heart failure
  • Taking other immunosuppressant drugs
  • Age 65 or older
Detailed Enbrel (etanercept) risks & warnings »
  • Taking other immunosuppressant drugs
  • Age 60 or older
  • Weak immune system
  • Long-term use of drugs that suppress the immune system
Detailed Stelara (ustekinumab) risks & warnings »

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

No interactions related info.
  • There are certain medicines that interact with Stelara (Ustekinumab) or will need the dose adjusted, especially if they are "narrow" therapy medicines like warfarin,
Upsides and benefits
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
  • 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.
  • 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
Have you used Enbrel (etanercept)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about StelaraSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Stelara (ustekinumab)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it