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Enbrel® (etanercept)

What is Enbrel and what is it used for?

Enbrel is a medicine that is made from two human proteins. It blocks the activity of another protein in the body that causes inflammation. Enbrel works by reducing the inflammation associated with certain diseases.

In adults (aged 18 and over), Enbrel can be used for moderate or severe rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, severe axial spondyloarthritis including ankylosing spondylitis, and moderate or severe plaque psoriasis – in each case usually when other widely used treatments have not worked well enough or are not suitable.

For rheumatoid arthritis, Enbrel is usually used in combination with methotrexate, although it may also be used alone if treatment with methotrexate is unsuitable. Whether used alone or in combination with methotrexate, Enbrel can slow down the damage to joints caused by the rheumatoid arthritis and improve the ability to do normal daily activities.

For psoriatic arthritis patients with multiple joint involvement, Enbrel can improve the ability to do normal daily activities. For patients with multiple symmetrical painful or swollen joints (e.g., hands, wrists and feet), Enbrel can slow down the structural damage to those joints caused by the disease.

Enbrel is also prescribed for the treatment of the following diseases in children and adolescents

  • For the following types of juvenile idiopathic arthritis when treatment with methotrexate has not worked well enough or is not suitable for them:
    • Polyarthritis (rheumatoid factor positive or negative) and extended oligoarthritis in patients from the age of 2 years
    • Psoriatic arthritis in patients from the age of 12 years
  • For enthesitis-related arthritis in patients from the age of 12 years when other widely used treatments have not worked well enough or are not suitable for them
  • Severe plaque psoriasis in patients from the age of 6 years who have had an inadequate response to (or are unable to take) phototherapies or other systemic therapies.

The medicine can only be obtained with a prescription.


Reference information
  • The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care. One of the ways they do this is by producing evidence based guidance. See NICE guidance on Enbrel.
  • The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is an agency of the European Union (EU), located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Agency is responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies for use in the EU. See EMA guidance on Enbrel
  • If you would like to see the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) or Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC) for Enbrel these can be found at the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC).
  • If you, or a person you are caring for, has been prescribed Enbrel there is a secure support website called Together Programme that gives additional information for patients taking Enbrel. This website has secure access and requires registration using the batch code located on your Enbrel pack. This measure helps to verify users.


PP-PFE-GBR-2215 / Dec 2019

Pfizer is unable to provide advice on personal medical matters. Please consult your doctor or other relevant health professionals for specific, health-related advice and support.

If you get any side effects when taking this or any other medicine, talk to your doctor or other relevant health professional e.g. pharmacist, nurse.. This includes any possible side effects not listed in the packaging leaflet. You can also report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme at By reporting side effects, you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.