Etanercept or Enbrel is used as a second line therapy in rheumatoid arthritis. It is classified as a disease modifying drug.
Etanercept or Enbrel is a biologic response modifier. It works by binding tumour necrosis factor which is a key substance in the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis. Similar to a sponge soaking up excess water, Etanercept or Enbrel soaks up excess tumour necrosis factor reducing inflammation.
Etanercept or Enbrel is well tolerated and given by injection.
Because Etanercept or Enbrel acts through the immune system, people with compromised immune systems may not be suitable candidates for it. As well, concern exists regarding long term effects on the immune system - perhaps increased risk for serious infections, cancer, or even autoimmune disease.
Etanercept or Enbrel can be used in combination with methotrexate, another disease modifying drug.
Arthritis Rheum 1998;41:1591
The relevant product monographs must be regarded as the appropriate sources of prescribing information.