Generic Name: Enbrel Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.


What is Enbrel® (etanercept) used for?

Enbrel® is a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker. It works by decreasing TNF, a protein produced by the immune system to helps the body fight infections. In people with autoimmune disorders, the immune system produces too much TNF and mistakenly attacks healthy cells.

Enbrel® is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis, and to prevent joint damage caused by these conditions.

Enbrel® is also used to treat polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis in children who are at least 2 years old.

Enbrel® is also used to treat plaque psoriasis in adults and children who are at least 4 years old.

How should I take Enbrel® (etanercept)?

Before you start treatment with Enbrel®, your doctor may perform tests to make sure you do not have an infection.

Enbrel® is injected under the skin. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not give yourself this medicine if you do not understand how to use the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.

You may need to mix Enbrel® with a liquid (diluent) before using it. If you are using the injections at home, be sure you understand how to properly mix and store the medication.

A child who weighs less than 138 pounds may not be able to use certain forms of Enbrel®. If a child is using this medicine, tell your doctor if the child has any changes in weight.

Your care provider will show you the best places on your body to inject Enbrel® Do not inject into the same place two times in a row. Avoid injecting into skin that is bruised, tender, red, or hard.

You may have pain, redness, swelling, or warmth where the medicine was injected. Call your doctor if these symptoms continue for longer than 5 days.

Use a disposable needle and syringe only once. Follow any state or local laws about throwing away used needles and syringes. Use a puncture-proof “sharps” disposal container (ask your pharmacist where to get one and how to throw it away). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.

A single-use prefilled syringe or injection pen is for one use only. Throw away after one use, even if there is still some medicine left in it after injecting your dose.

Do not shake this medicine. Prepare your dose only when you are ready to give an injection. Do not use the medicine if it looks cloudy or has changed colors. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.

Enbrel® can weaken your immune system. Your blood may need to be tested often.

If you have ever had hepatitis B, Enbrel® can cause this condition to come back or get worse. You will need frequent blood tests to check your liver function during treatment and for several months after you stop using this medicine.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using Enbrel®.

How do I store Enbrel® (etanercept)?

Store Enbrel® in its original carton in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. Do not use after the expiration date on the label has passed. After mixing Enbrel® with a diluent, store in the refrigerator and use within 14 days.

If you need to store Enbrel® at room temperature, protect the medicine from light and from extreme hot or cold temperatures. Once the medicine has reached room temperature, you should not put it back into the refrigerator.

Throw away any Enbrel® not used within 14 days. Throw away any Erelzi not used within 28 days.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Enbrel® (etanercept)?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of Enbrel® or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

You should not use Enbrel® if you have a severe infection such as sepsis (infection of the blood).

To make sure Enbrel® is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • A weak immune system, HIV or AIDS, tuberculosis, or any type of recurring infection
  • Symptoms of an active infection such as fever, flu symptoms, diarrhea, or painful urination
  • An open cut or skin sores
  • Diabetes
  • Congestive heart failure
  • A history of nerve disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, myelitis, or optic neuritis
  • Epilepsy or other seizure disorder
  • Asthma or other breathing disorder
  • If you have ever had hepatitis B
  • If you are allergic to latex rubber
  • If you are scheduled to receive any vaccines, or if you have recently been vaccinated with BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guerin)

Tell your doctor if you have ever had tuberculosis, if anyone in your household has tuberculosis, or if you have recently traveled to an area where certain infections are common (Ohio River Valley, Mississippi River Valley, and the Southwest).

Children using this medication should be current on all childhood immunizations before starting treatment with Enbrel®.

Using Enbrel® may increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer, including a fast-growing lymphoma that can be fatal. This rare lymphoma has occurred in male teenagers and young men using a combination of immunosuppressant medicines to treat Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. However, people with autoimmune disorders (including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriasis) may have a higher risk of lymphoma. Talk to your doctor about your individual risk.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using Enbrel® during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Enbrel®. Enbrel® is pregnancy risk category B, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Enbrel® (etanercept)?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Enbrel®: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Serious and sometimes fatal infections may occur. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as: fever, chills, cough, sweating, body aches, skin sores or redness, diarrhea, weight loss, burning when you urinate, coughing up blood, or feeling very tired or short of breath.

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

  • Blood problems – fever, pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding
  • Liver problems – upper stomach pain, vomiting, tiredness, loss of appetite, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Lupus-like syndrome – joint pain or swelling, chest discomfort, feeling short of breath, skin rash on your cheeks or arms (worsens in sunlight)
  • Nerve problems – numbness or tingling, problems with vision, or weak feeling in your arms or legs
  • New or worsening psoriasis – skin redness or scaly patches, raised bumps filled with pus
  • Signs of heart failure – shortness of breath with swelling of your ankles or feet, rapid weight gain
  • Signs of lymphoma – fever, night sweats, weight loss, stomach pain or swelling, chest pain, cough, trouble breathing, swollen glands (in your neck, armpits, or groin)
  • Signs of tuberculosis – fever, cough, night sweats, loss of appetite, weight loss, feeling constantly tired

Common side effects may include:

  • Pain, swelling, itching, or redness where the medicine was injected
  • Headache
  • Cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


What drugs may interact with Enbrel® (etanercept)?

Enbrel® may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Products that may interact with this drug are:

  • Abatacept (Orencia)
  • Anakinra (Kineret)
  • Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
  • Insulin or oral diabetes medicine

Does food or alcohol interact with Enbrel® (etanercept)?

Enbrel® may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Enbrel® (etanercept)?

Enbrel® may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using Enbrel® (etanercept).

What is the dose of Enbrel® (etanercept) for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Ankylosing Spondylitis:

50 mg subcutaneously once a week

Usual Adult Dose for Rheumatoid Arthritis:

50 mg subcutaneously once a week

Usual Adult Dose for Psoriatic Arthritis:

50 mg subcutaneously once a week

Usual Adult Dose for Plaque Psoriasis:

Initial dose: 50 mg subcutaneously 2 times a week (administered 3 to 4 days apart) for 3 months; alternatively, starting doses of 25 to 50 mg once a week have been shown to be effective

Maintenance dose: 50 mg subcutaneously once a week

What is the dose of Enbrel® (etanercept) for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis:

2 years and older:

  • Less than 63 kg: 0.8 mg/kg subcutaneously once a week
  • Greater than or equal to 63 kg: 50 mg subcutaneously once a week
  • Maximum dose: 50 mg subcutaneously once a week

Usual Pediatric Dose for Plaque Psoriasis:

4 years and older:

  • Less than 63 kg: 0.8 mg/kg subcutaneously once a week
  • Greater than or equal to 63 kg: 50 mg subcutaneously once a week
  • Maximum: 50 mg subcutaneously once a week

How is Enbrel® (etanercept) available?

Enbrel® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Subcutaneous injection: etanercept 50mg in 1mL

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Enbrel®, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: August 22, 2017 | Last Modified: September 2, 2017

You might also like