Any information on Enbrel

Hello, I am about to have the tests to see if I can have Enbrel. The Rheumy nurse first told me that there may be a risk of skin cancer and M.S with this drug. When I asked her what that risk can be it didn't appear to be that clear. I don't sunbathe and put sun lotion on generally, but it doesn't seem clear if you should cover up all of the time or some of the time. On a daily basis I wouldn't cover up on my hands arms face if I was out just for a short while say putting the washing out. it feels like another pressure to think about this especially when the information is so vague. I haven't got on with methotrexate etc because they really messed up my stomach etc. I wish I could tolerate them because as my rheumatologist says you start with the lesser of the evils, and all these other drugs seem to have more and more severe side effects. I guess I'm scared, and because I have had bad reactions to the other drugs I'm scared that the risks are far greater if I react to this drug. Any advice would be welcome especially if other people haven't tolerated other drugs. thank you

6 Replies

  • I was on embrel for over three years,I found it really good,it was the best thing I however I am on humira as it got to the stage where I,d got used to it and it no longer worked for me.....

  • I was on Enbrel for around 8 years (2003-11) until it could not control my joints enough or possibly my body got used to it. The last 3 years since finishing I have been unable to get under proper control. I don't think I had any side effects from this and carried on as normal although I am not a sun worshiper. There were definitely less effects compared to many of the DMARDs as I could not tolerate them - MTX, leflunomide, Sulphasalazine and aziothioprine. They have to report any suspected side effects whether in many people or just a few. In my opinion the effects from the sun are more risky from MTX and Sulpha rather than Enbrel. More research may be available now than when I started back in 2003 so hopefully someone who is newer to it may have more up to date information.

  • I am injecting Enbrel and have been since Dec 2012, I have never been told or heard anything in relation to skin cancer and MS. What I do know is that Enbrel is coming to the end of its Brand time and that it will be replaced by generic version of the drug and instead of calling it a Biologic drug it will be something else. This is still in its infancy, however I did mention it when last at the hospital and was told that when it comes out then it will be used by the NHS has it will be a lot cheaper, apparently Enbrel is one of the dearest biologic medication on the market.

  • I'm not so sure about the risks for skin cancers? I thought the latest research was showing that the risks for solid cancers and skin cancers was pretty much the same as the normal population, and the risk for blood borne cancers (like lymphomas) just very very slightly higher, which to me would only be significant if you had a family or personal history of that kind of cancer. As far as MS goes, it is possible that biologics can trigger MS, but the jury seems out about whether you people who get drug induced MS would have ended up with MS anyway without the drugs. The other small risk is drug induced lupus, but that goes away when you stop the biologics. I personally think that the research seems to be showing that biologics have far more potential benefits and far less side effects than many other meds, including the really common NSAIDs. As far as sun exposure goes, some of the DMARDs have a lot more problems with that than biologics seem to, so I'd personally just use common sense on that - sunscreen at the peak of summer, put on in the morning as you get dressed, and when you are out for periods of time longer than an hour or so.

    Sometimes I think information from nurses like that does more harm than good. I guess she felt she needed to warn you about potential side effects, but a vague warning like that, without any real hard facts or evidence to back it up probably just worries patients more. See if you can find more reliable, recent, and definite evidence about side effects before you make up your mind though, and balance that against the absolutely definite negative consequences of continued inflammation being out of control.

  • I was on Enbrel for around 3 months and unfortunately it didn't help me at all. I did get a basal cell on my shoulder after I stopped it, not sure if it was connected at all but it was removed easily. I am now on rituximab and have found it to be really good and have had no side effects so far.

  • Thank you for your replies they have been really helpful. Maywing

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