Enbrel is commonly prescribed to reduce the signs and symptoms of several conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and plaque psoriasis. The medication comes in an injectable form that is given once or twice a week. Side effects of Enbrel include reactions at the injection site, headaches, and runny nose. However, most people have no problems with the medication.
What Is Enbrel?Enbrel® (etanercept) is a prescription medication that is approved to treat several inflammatory conditions that affect the joints and skin.
What Is Enbrel Used For?Specific uses of Enbrel include reducing the signs and symptoms of the following conditions:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Plaque psoriasis.
The medication has also been shown to decrease the damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. However, it is not a cure for rheumatoid arthritis or any of the other conditions mentioned.
How Does It Work?Enbrel is part of a class of medicines known as tumor necrosis factor inhibitors, or TNF inhibitors for short. As the name of the drug class implies, Enbrel blocks the activity of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). TNF-alpha is a naturally occurring chemical in the body that is involved in inflammation and other immune system functions.
People with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, or ankylosing spondylitis often have higher levels of TNF. These high levels of TNF-alpha can cause inflammation and lead to problems such as swollen, painful joints and raised, thick, red, scaly patches. By blocking TNF-alpha, Enbrel helps to keep the immune system from attacking the body, which improves symptoms and, in some cases, prevents future damage from occurring.