Prescription onlyNo lower cost generic available



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Calms down your immune system.

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Prescription onlyNo lower cost generic available

Our bottom line

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 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.
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  • 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.

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What to expect when you take Enbrel (Etanercept) for Rheumatoid arthritis

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • 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.
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Side effects for Enbrel (Etanercept)

From clinical trials of Enbrel / Any condition 

  • Positive anti-double-stranded dna antibodiesPositive anti-double-stranded dna antibodies15% for Enbrel vs.4% for placebo
  • Antibodies to etanerceptAntibodies to etanercept6% for Enbrel vs.0% for placebo
  • Crithidia luciliaeCrithidia luciliae3% for Enbrel vs.0% for placebo
  • AnticardiolipinAnticardiolipin3% for Enbrel vs.0% for placebo
  • Serious infectionsSerious infections1% for Enbrel vs.0% for placebo

Risks and Warnings for Enbrel (Etanercept)

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  • Enbrel (Etanercept) has been reported to cause hypersensitivity reactions (severe rash, trouble breathing) and angioedema (life-threatening condition with swelling with or without hives). If you notice these symptoms after your dose or days later, call your doctor and get medical care right away.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Enbrel (Etanercept)

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The FDA category for this medication is B. It is advised that you: Probably safe
  • Make sure to use the Enbrel support system. It gives you free access to Registered Nurses and supplies sharps containers, little cooler, and alcohol wipes.
  • Let it warm to room temperature before injecting 15-30min. Make sure the alcohol is dry before injecting or it will sting. It hurts less if you inject it into the stomach.
  • Risks from our pharmacists
  • 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.