General information on Enbrel
Enbrel, with active ingredient etanercept, belongs to a class of drugs known as tumor necrosis factor inhibitor. The drug is used for treating autoimmuno disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, anlylosing spondylitis etc. The drug is also used for treatment of plaque psoriasis and idiopathic arthritis in children. The drug works by inhibiting the production of tumor necrosis factor in the body. Tumor necrosis factor is a protein naturally produced by the immunity system of the body. Thus, by inhibiting the production of the protein, the drug prevents the immune system of the body from attacking its own cells.
Precautions/side effects of Enbrel
Enbrel has active ingredient etanercept. Patients allergic to etanercept should refrain from using this drug. The drug is also known to affect the liver, spleen and bone marrow. Thus, patients with liver disease, spleen disease or diseases of the bone marrow, including cancer of the bone marrow should refrain from using this drug. Other than that, patients with diabetes, congestive heart failure, epilepsy, asthma or a history of Hepatitis B should take this drug only after due consultation with a doctor.
Enbrel is a Category B pregnancy drug. It can have an adverse effect on the fetus as well as the newborn child. Pregnant women as well as women who are breastfeeding should take this drug only after consulting a qualified physician. The drug is also known to react with certain other medicines such as sulfasalazine, anakinra, cancer medication, steroids, cyclophosphamide etc. Patients on any of these drugs should inform the physician accordingly before taking Enbrel.
Enbrel is also known to have side effects such as nausea, stuffy or a runny nose, headache, pain in the abdomen and diarrhea. However, in certain cases, serious side effects may show up to the drug such as numbness in the feet and arms, pain in the chest, jaundice, bloody stools, inflammation of the glands, unusual weight gain etc. If any of these symptoms show up after taking the drug, a physician should be consulted immediately.
Important safety information
- Vaccines such as measles vaccine, BCG vaccine, chickenpox vaccine, vaccine for smallpox, typhoid etc. should not be taken while on this drug. Additionally, distance should be maintained from people who have recently taken these vaccines to avoid contracting the bacterial infection.
- The physician should be informed about any history of tuberculosis or exposure to areas with high incidence of tuberculosis before taking this drug.
- Enbrel is known to increase the risk of lymphoma. The risk factors should be discussed with a physician before taking this drug.
Dosage of Enbrel
Enbrel is available in strengths of 25 mg and 50 mg in prefilled syringe as well as in an autoinjector. The usual prescribed dose of the drug for treating rheumatoid arthritis is 50 mg twice weekly. However, the actual prescribed dose may vary depending on the exact diagnosis and the actual response of the patient.
Enbrel is administered with the help of a syringe. However, the drug should not be self administered without proper knowledge of the procedure. The site of injection needs to be changed every time the drug is administered. Areas with bruised skin or tender skin should not be used as an injection site.
The site of injection may become swollen accompanied by inflammation. However, a doctor should be consulted if pain and swelling lasts for more than 5 days.
Overdose of Enbrel should be prevented at all times. Overdose of the drug may lead to complications which require immediate medical attention.
Tests and Enbrel
Enbrel can lower the count of red blood cells. Regular blood tests may be required to monitor the level of red blood cells in the body.
Storage of Enbrel
Enbrel should be kept in the refrigerator. However, it should not be allowed to freeze. It should be used within 14 days. Frozen drug or drug which appears cloudy should not be used.