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Updated March 2023
Etanercept belongs to a class of medications called biological disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (biological DMARDs or bDMARDs). Specifically, it is a TNF inhibitor.
bDMARDs have now been given to over a million people worldwide since their first use in the late 1990s. These medications block substances, produced by arthritic tissues, called cytokines. These cytokines are found in excessive amounts in the blood and joints of people with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
They cause inflammation, which results in symptoms of pain, joint swelling and stiffness, and can lead to joint damage.
By blocking the cytokine called Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF), etanercept lessens inflammation, pain symptoms and helps stop further joint damage.
The biosimilar version of etanercept (brand name Brenzys) has been in use in Australia since early 2017. A biosimilar is a version of etanercept shown to have similar safety and benefit as the original brand. Make sure you are given the same brand each time. If you need to change brands, your rheumatologist will advise you to and will monitor for side effects.
Etanercept may be used with other arthritis medicines including:
Etanercept cannot be used with other bDMARDs. There are separate information sheets for the medications mentioned above.
There are separate information sheets for the medications mentioned above.
You might experience side effects with your treatment. Contact your rheumatologist if you have any concerns about possible side effects.
Many side effects disappear when etanercept treatment is stopped.
Most common possible side effects
Less common or rare possible side effects
Precautions with other diseases
Worsening may occur of the following conditions:
Use with other medicines
More information is available on Vaccinations in Rhematology and COVID-19 vaccination.
Use with alcohol
Use in pregnancy and when breastfeeding