Enbrel, also known by its drug name, Etanercept, is a prescription medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004 to treat people 18 and older who have moderate to severe psoriasis. In 2005, the FDA expanded its approval to include psoriatic arthritis.
Enbrel is an immunomodulator, a drug that modulates the immune system. It is also considered a biologic. It is a fusion protein created by genetic engineering. Enbrel is believed to work by attaching to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), a chemical messenger involved in autoimmune attacks. Enbrel binds to TNF-α and prevents it from signaling the immune system to attack the connective tissues.
How do I take it?
Enbrel is injected twice a week for the first three months. After the first three months, it is injected once a week.
Common side effects of Enbrel include headache, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, muscle weakness, cough, and redness or pain at the injection site.
You may be more likely to contract infections, including serious infections, due to decreased immune system function while taking Enbrel.
Enbrel may increase your chances of developing certain types of cancer such as lymphoma. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience unexplained weight loss, swollen lymph nodes or easy bruising or bleeding.
For answers to frequently asked questions about exposure to Etanercept during pregnancy and breastfeeding, visit the experts at MothertoBaby.org.
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Enbrel - Amgen