Enbrel (etanercept) is used to block tumor necrosis factor (TNF) which is a protein that is produced by the body as a reaction to injury. It is prescribed to people with autoimmune disorders as their immune system produces excessive TNF – which then attacks the healthier cells.
Enbrel is used to treat conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis and helps prevent any joint damage which may happen as a result of these disorders. It is also prescribed to children (as young as two years old) who have polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis and to adults and children (four years and above) who suffer from plaque psoriasis.
Common side effects include injection site reactions such as redness, swelling, itching or pain. If they don’t cease in three to five days, contact your doctor. You might experience upper respiratory (sinus) infections or headaches after taking this medication.
Serious side effects include:
- Development of new infections or worsening of previous ones (look for symptoms such as fever, chills, night sweats, changes in urination/discharge and oral thrush)
- A prior Hepatitis B becoming active
- Nervous system problems such as seizures
- Heart failure
- Allergic reactions (symptoms include swelling, breathing troubles)
- Immune reactions
- Extreme fatigue
- Mood changes
- Muscle weakness
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
- Vision changes
Moreover, look for signs of cancer such as:
- Night sweats
- Weight loss or loss of appetite
- Pain that spreads from your upper stomach to your shoulder
- Pale skin
- Changes in stool color
- Changes in heart rate
If you experience any of these side effects, immediately get in touch with your doctor.
How to take?
If you do not understand how to use injections, do not try to use it yourself at home.
If you need to mix Enbrel with a diluent, make sure you read the instructions first. Prepare the mixture only when you need it. After you’ve mixed it, you must store it in a refrigerator (do not freeze) and use within fourteen days.
You might need to store Enbrel at room temperature – make sure it’s not excessively hot or cold. Do not put it back in the refrigerator after it has reached room temperature.
Do not inject at the same place two times in a row and follow your doctor’s guidelines on the best injecting places.
Throw away the disposable needle and syringe after using once.
Unlike other medications, do not shake Enbrel. Make sure it doesn’t look cloudy or unusual.
If you have an upcoming surgery, warn your surgeon about Enbrel beforehand.
Make sure you are not allergic to etanercept, and you do not have any severe infection.
Discuss your medical history with your health care provider. You must tell your doctor if you have a weak immune system, AIDS or HIV, TB, any recurring infection, symptoms of infection such as fever, flu, diarrhea, problems with urine, open cuts, skin sores, diabetes, congestive heart failure, a history of nerve disorders such as myelitis or optic neuritis, seizure disorder, breathing disorder, hepatitis B, allergy of latex rubber, history of cancer, blood vessel disorders, weakened bone marrow or nervous system problems.
Tell your doctor about any scheduled vaccinations or if you have recently been vaccinated with BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guerin). Do not take any vaccinations without approval from your doctor and avoid contact with people who have just received an oral polio vaccine.
For children, make sure that all their vaccinations have been finished before taking etanercept.
Be careful when using this drug for elder people as they are more susceptible to infections. Similarly, inform your doctor about pregnancy. If you’re breastfeeding, this medication can harm the nursing baby.