Drug Trade Name: Enbrel
Category: TNF-alpha Inhibitor; Immunosuppressant
Generic Name: etanercept
Introduction and Quick Information:
Enbrel injection is primarily indicated in autoimmune diseases, which are marked by a hyperactive immune system. In such disorders, the immune cells misrecognize its own body cells as infectious agents and start acting against them.
Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is released by activated macrophages and immune cells. This factor acts on the TNF receptors present in the body and thus, evokes an immune reaction against the body cells. By blocking the activation of immune cells and by neutralizing the tumor necrosis factor- alpha, Enbrel causes immuno-suppression and combats the symptoms associated with certain autoimmune diseases.
Is Enbrel Approved by FDA?
The U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has approved Enbrel for the treatment of certain auto-immune diseases.
Usage and Benefits of Enbrel:
Some of the uses and benefits of Enbrel are:
- Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis: This disorder is actually one of the common forms of arthritis, which begins in childhood. Due to this condition, the immune system starts attacking the body (including joints), thereby resulting in rashes, pain, fever, swollen joints, etc. Enbrel can minimize the symptoms and signs of severe to moderate polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
- Psoriatic Arthritis: Psoriatic arthritis is a kind of joint inflammation seen in people having psoriasis. Some common symptoms of this disorder include changes in the fingernails and the eyes and painfully inflamed joints. Enbrel can improve the symptoms and signs of psoriatic arthritis. Many doctors recommend using Enbrel along with methotrexate to treat psoriatic arthritis.
- Ankylosing Spondylitis: This is another autoimmune disorder, which can lead to painful arthritis of the spine. People suffering from this condition have an immune system, which functions abnormally and attacks the spine. This causes stiffness and pain in the lower back as well as canker sores too. Enbrel is effective in reducing the symptoms and signs of active ankylosing spondylitis.
- Psoriasis: Psoriasis is one of the common conditions of the joints and skin. It causes complications because the body’s immune system attacks the joints and skin. Psoriasis symptoms include plaques on the skin or scaly patches, especially near knees and elbows. Enbrel can be used to treat the symptoms of plaque psoriasis in adults (above the age of 18) with severe or moderate plaque psoriasis.
- Off-label Uses of Enbrel: Off-label uses of Enbrel include the treatment of Wegener’s granulomatosis and Scleroderma.
Side Effects of Enbrel:
Some common Enbrel side effects are:
- a sore throat
- feeling shortness of breath
- an ongoing cough
- rapid weight loss or weight gain
- uncontrollable flu symptoms
- extreme fever, chills, sweating, tired feeling
- too much swelling
- chest pain
- coughing up blood
- unusual weakness
- pale skin
- changes in personality or mood (in children)
- burning or tingly feeling
- symptoms of skin infection like swelling, itching, warmth, oozing, or redness
- muscle aches
- tarry, bloody, or black stools
- red spots, patchy skin color
- swelling or joint pain with fever
- chest pain
- unusual behavior or thoughts
- butterfly-shaped rash over the nose and cheeks
- stomach pain
- an excessive headache
- swollen glands
- stuffy or a runny nose
Inform your doctor about these side effects the moment you encounter them.
General Recommended Dosages of Enbrel:
Enbrel is given in a form of injection under your skin (medically known as subcutaneous injection). Injecting this drug requires the expertise of a nurse, doctor, or other medical practitioners.
Enbrel comes with proper instructions for the patient for effective and safe use. Follow all the directions cautiously. Ask the pharmacist or doctor in case you have any doubt or question.
A single-use sure click auto-injector or prefilled syringe is for a single-use only. Throw away the used auto-injector or syringe after use. Don’t shake the prefilled syringe. Forceful shaking can actually destroy the medication. Avoid its use in case it has changed color. Consult the doctor for a new prescription.
Your doctor will guide you regarding the body areas where you can inject this medication safely. Avoid injecting into the areas, which have become tender, bruised, hard, or red.
Your child must weigh minimum 138 pounds if you want to use a SureClick auto-injector.
If you require undergoing any type of surgical process, inform your surgeon in advance that you are taking Enbrel.
Store Enbrel in the refrigerator but don’t freeze it. Before using it, keep the medication in the room temperature for a while before injecting it.
In Case I Miss the Dose?
You can take the missed dose the time its thought strikes you. But, if it is the time to take the next dose, then skip the missed one and take the next scheduled dose.
In Case I Take Overdose?
Consult your doctor in case of overdose.
Drug Interactions of Enbrel:
Some of the common drugs which when taken with Enbrel can cause complications are:
- sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
- anakinra (Kineret)
- cyclophosphamide (Neosar, Cytoxan)
However, there are several other drugs which can interact with Enbrel. Therefore, inform your medical practitioner about all the drugs and supplements you are consuming, including vitamin and mineral supplements in order to avoid any complications.
Lifestyle and Food Habits You Must Follow When on Enbrel:
A healthy lifestyle increases the efficacy of the treatment. If you have a habit of consuming tobacco, alcohol or nicotine, then cut down your intake. In addition, inform your doctor if you have:
- any kind of infection including the skin infection
- weaker immune system
- congestive heart failure
- nerve disorder like multiple myelitis, sclerosis, or optic neuritis;
- asthma or any other breathing problem
- if you are allergic to latex rubber;
- if you are allergic to Etanercept
- if you have had hepatitis B;
- if you are vaccinated with BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guerin) recently
How Safe Is Enbrel for Pregnant Women or Nursing Mothers?
Enbrel, when administered in pregnancy, can cross the placenta and reach the fetus. However, the clinical impact of the drug on an infant. Thus, inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy.
This drug is minimally excreted in breastmilk. However, it is always safe to inform your doctor if you are breastfeeding.
Complications and Conditions Possible Due to Prolonged Use of Enbrel:
The addiction-liability of Enbrel is not known. However, abrupt stoppage of the drug without prior medical consultation is not recommended.
Availability of Enbrel:
Enbrel Injection is available on a doctor’s prescription only.