What is etanercept (Enbrel)?

Etanercept is a medication that is used for treating autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, and refractory asthma.

Etanercept is the generic name, and the trade name is Enbrel.

Etanercept is a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor, which means it interferes with TNF.

TNF is made by the body’s immune system. It encourages an inflammatory response that is needed for the body to fight disease. But, this stimulation of the inflammatory response is also what causes many of the clinical problems linked to autoimmune diseases. People with these immune disorders have too much TNF in their bodies.

How does etanercept work?

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TNF inhibitors reduce the inflammatory response that causes joint pain in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

The role of TNF is to transport white blood cells to areas of inflammation. In doing so, it can make an inflammation worse.

Etanercept inhibits, or prevents, the action of TNF. In this way, the drug can reduce the body’s inflammatory response.

The inflammatory response is a reaction in which the body releases various substances and chemicals that allow it to fight infections and other harmful cells.

Being able to stop the inflammatory response is useful when treating autoimmune diseases.

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What does etanercept treat?

In the United States, etanercept has been licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat a number of conditions.

Ankylosing spondylitis

This is a chronic, painful and progressive inflammatory disease that affects the joints and ligaments that normally allow a person’s back to move and flex. It is estimated to affect between 0.2 percent and 0.5 percent of people in the U.S. It mostly affects the lower back, but it can affect the upper spine, chest, and neck.

Plaque psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disease. In psoriasis, skin cells grow more rapidly than usual. It is a chronic, or long-term, condition. Plaque psoriasis is the most common type.

People with plaque psoriasis have raised areas of inflamed skin covered with silvery white scaly skin, or plaques. A flaky white buildup of dead skin cells collects on the plaques, and this is called scale. Plaque psoriasis can appear on any skin surface.

Etanercept can be used in cases of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.

Psoriatic arthritis

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