What condition does Etanercept treat?

Etanercept is usually used alone or along with an immunosuppressant for the treatment of certain types of arthritis such as:

  • Psoriatic
  • Juvenile idiopathic
  • Rheumatoid
  • Ankylosing spondylitis

These conditions are caused by an overactive immune system or autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks the body’s healthy cells that cause inflammation in the joints and skin. This medication treats but does not cure the condition. The symptoms usually return within a month of stopping the medication.

Etanercept is in the class of medications called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved this medication.

How does Etanercept work?

Etanercept controls your body’s defensive response. It is by blocking the action of a certain natural substance (TNF) that is used by the immune system. Treatment decreases itching, redness, and scaly patches in psoriasis. It also decreases the swelling, pain, and stiffness of joints in arthritis. This medication can stop the progression of the disease and joint damage. It may result in improved daily functioning and quality of life.

What is the recommended dosage for Etanercept?

Etanercept is given under the skin of the thigh, upper arm, or abdomen. This medicine is usually used once or twice a week. Clean the injection site first with rubbing alcohol before injecting each dose. Change the injection site each time to lessen the injury under the skin.

The dosage is based on your condition and response to the treatment. Do not change the dose without consulting your doctor. Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. If you are using this at home, learn all the preparation and usage instructions from your doctor. Your doctor may give you the first injection in the medical office.

You may notice an improvement in your condition after 1 to 2 weeks, but it may take a few months to get the full benefit of this medication. Tell your doctor if your condition does not get better or if it gets worse.

What are the side effects of Etanercept?

  • Vomiting
  • Mild nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Redness or discomfort at the injection site
  • Weight changes
  • Heartburn
  • Weakness
  • Cold symptoms

What are the precautions in taking Etanercept?

  • You should not receive any vaccinations/immunizations without consulting your doctor.
  • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to it or if you have any allergies. This drug may have inactive ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction.
  • During pregnancy, this should be used only when needed. Discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits.
  • It is recommended to consult your doctor if you are breastfeeding women. This prescription may not be given.
  • Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more prone to infections.
  • It is recommended that children be up to date on all their childhood vaccinations before starting this medication.
  • Using this medication may increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer, including lymphoma. Ask your doctor about your specific risk.
  • This is not recommended if you have a severe infection such as sepsis.