Enbrel and weight gain: I've been on enbrel for two... - NRAS

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Enbrel and weight gain


I've been on enbrel for two months and have started putting on weight despite not eating more than normal. I'm also more active than I've been for a long time thanks to enbrel doing a good job of controlling my RD and have never really had a problem with my weight until now, even when I was recently laid up for months with RD and sciatica. Must admit I have a bit of a sweet tooth and have always enjoyed eating cakes, biscuits etc within reason, but have cut right down on this sort of stuff the past couple of days hoping it will stop this weight gain. Anyone else have/had a similar problem with enbrel?

43 Replies

If anything I am managing to come down slowly and I mean slowly 6 kgs in two years, the upside is it's staying off. Whether this would have been quicker off Enbrel I have no way of knowing. I wonder what other comments will be as it would be interesting to see.

wishbone in reply to Hidden

There's hope then! :) As you say Georje, at least it's staying off.

I'm reasonably slim for my age and would like to keep it that way.....

Hi wishbone. I've been on Enbrel since last December. My weight very steadily crept up, which wasn't to bad to start as I had dropped quite a bit being on sulfasalazine. It ended up being more than I was comfortable with though. Last two months have been on a healthy eating, more exercise stint (if I say diet I don't sick to it! ) and have lost almost a stone very easily. It doesn't seem to stick in the same way that some medication weight seems to.

Kat1215 in reply to hellykay

I've gained more weight being on this medicine and I hate it

Me too! Like 25 pounds in 6 months!

I have been on enbrel for about 2 years and my weight has remained steady (just under 8 stone). I dont think weight gain is a recognised side effect. Perhaps you are just healthier and have a healthier appetite??

Tessthomy in reply to Jane06

Just read this .. I have just submitted a post re weight loss as Im just under 8stone too. What's your height jane06? TT X

Jane06 in reply to Tessthomy

I am about 5' 4" (162 cm). x

Tessthomy in reply to Jane06

Ah we are the same!

Tessthomy in reply to Jane06

Ah we are the same!

sebbydog in reply to Jane06

It is now a recognised side effect.............there are many people who have experienced weight gain due to biologics.

Ive been on it with mtx for 1.5yrs and weight has stayed steady, were you underweight cause of the RD and now returning to normal?


wishbone - I have been on enbrel for over a year and not had weight gain. What I do notice is that the extra mobility gives me much better access to the coffee (and cake) shop! Perhaps you should look at what temptations the extra mobility has put your way.

Thanks for replying everyone.

Hmm, doesn't look like I can blame enbrel then!.. so on my own head be it, by the seem.

I did lose weight when I was unwell, so looks like feeling better has increased my appetite, which wasn't good whilst laid up, and am eating more than I realise. Oh well, just have to stick to cutting out the sticky buns etc. I'm probably half a stone or so over my regular weight so no big deal at the mo. Could do with some meat on my arms though, which are much thinner than they used to be, guess that's part and parcel of having RA.

nomoreheels in reply to wishbone

I can't offer up any experience regarding enbrel Wishy, but I do know if I've lost weight rapidly through illness once over it I feel a little heavier. I put it down to losing weight quickly puts a few extra pounds on when I feel better & my appetite returns.

I'm swerving bad & hidden fats in an attempt to reduce my cholesterol in my diet. It isn't high but over my normal readings & my GP wants it lower with having RD & an otherwise healthy heart but know I'll have to be careful when I have the next lipid test in three months as I'll be tempted to reintroduce treats & will likely put on some of the weight I'll likely lose, just in time for Christmas....rats!!!

I know yours won't be bingo wings but I've successfully toned up muscle wastage by doing very gentle exercise over a few weeks. Have a look online for gentle upper body exercises, they generally include the arms. Be careful to build up exercise though, don't go at it like a bull in a china shop! ;)

hi wishbone, I am not on Enbrel now, came off it for cimzia, but I think my weight gain started with the prednisolone, I too have been on a very strict diet for nearly 3 years now and found I literally had to starve myself for any decent weight drop, even though I am staying more active, My thought is are you on steroids?

I've been on Enbrel for two years now and I'm half a stone lighter, I've put that down to being able to walk longer and be more active than I was before.

I'm sure you'll even out wishbone and the benefits of being on Enbrel and having more mobility will see to that.

Starting exercise on prescription through our doctors surgery on Monday! It's a specialist disability person in the gym. I put loads of weight on with not being able to except use, I used to go every day! And eating more due to steroids!! Time for action I think x

Seems like a good idea to start some form of exersise along with being more careful with my diet..obviously. I'm not a gymy sort of person but will think of something suitable to do do on my own.. press ups definitely won't be on the agenda though! ;)

After an all too long absence I've started going out bird watching with friends again. I need to be careful how far I walk as my feet are still a bit iffy, and I do feel like a bit of a liability on times. That said, I'm pleasantly surprised how far I can walk since starting enbrel. Come to think of it, the two friends I go birding with enjoy regular visits to coffee/cake shops when we're out for the day... looks like muffins & choc brownies are off the menu..I'll have to make do with a nutty bar from now on! :) Seriously though, I usually stick to just a cup of coffee when we're out.

Thankfully I'm not on steroids, it must be a right pain trying to control your weight with those.

Thanks again folks

nomoreheels in reply to wishbone

I think I must be in the minority as steroids have never affected my weight whichever dose I've had. I guess some of it depends on your metabolic rate & natural propensity for weight gain. Muscle wastage is my concern & why I do arm & leg exercises when I'm able to. What I found helped was revisiting an old Rosemary Conley Hip & Thigh diet I used to tone up a month before going on hols. Remember though Wishy if you're going to do a few exercises to warm up a little beforehand & lessen any weights as you wind the exercising down. For my arms I use small water bottles & reduce whatever amount of water is in acting as weight to half then do a few more exercises & stop. Works for me!

wishbone in reply to nomoreheels

Presume that muscle wastage is why my arms have become thin? Is it lack of use that causes it or something more directly related to RD?

nomoreheels in reply to wishbone

Yes, lack of use I think. I notice a big difference since my grip became less reliable so can't bear much weight & not being able to lift anything at the mo due to back & hip problems. It's lack of definition I dislike so much, even though I'm not muscley (!) My arms look older than they should for my age!!

wishbone in reply to nomoreheels

Ditto for much of that. Thanks heelsy.

nomoreheels in reply to wishbone

No probs. Sharing is caring lol!!!

I have had a terrible weight gain with Enbrel & am also on Methotraxte and Plaquenil. I work the hospital and I am on my feet all shift-no sitting in my job-lots of walking.I watch what I eat but with no luck-only good thing about it I am still able to walk with the Enbrel other wise I probably would not be able to keep my job.Even before I went into Menopause-which your body sure changes-Enbrel seems to have some effect on my body as I started gaining weight then.I guess it depends how it reacts to each person-I wasn't the lucky one but I still have my mobility which is a blessing.Other people in my clinic all have diferent out comes-some like me gaining weight-others not-but a different reaction. I just tell myself keep on moving which is a good thing. Take Care!

I haven't responded to anything on this forum before. I have found it reassuring that others experience some of the same things I do. I was on Enbrel for six months last year. Within the first two months, I gained 15lbs. My weight had previously been the same for the past four years. I stopped taking it because of I felt worse overall than before. I also experienced shortness of breath when exercising which had never been a problem before. I'm now taking injectable MTX which seems to be working with less side effects than the oral dose. The weight is slowly coming off. I was sad that I didn't respond Enbrel like others do.

allanah in reply to Sissy22

Welcome Sissy, glad you are on board xx

So I'm not on my own then and could well be right in thinking that enbrel is causing my weight gain, it seems to have come on me pretty rapid too. Also, the only other time I've experienced similar weight gain was in my late teens. Since then it's fluctuated by just a few pounds each way and I've never needed to diet or even be careful about how much I eat, I'm now in my 60's. I hope that watching what I eat plus some excersise will at least stop me putting on more weight, if not and I keep gaining weight, then I'll have a talk with rheumy about it. Wouldn't want to come off enbrel though as it's working great for me, but I really don't want to put on any more weight as I already feel uncomfortable with the extra I'm now carrying.

Thanks for responding mocapup and sissy

Hi there

I have gained weight because of sporadic courses of steroids, just a few pounds at a time. Since starting the Enbrel I have put on far too much. Yes, I have a sweet tooth, but have kept to 1600 - 2000 calories per day for two months now. I've lost 3 lbs. When I have courses of antibiotics which happens now and then not using Enbrel for a couple of weeks I can shed 5lb with ease. So my response would be yes, you can gain weight when on Enbrel. My partner watches what I eat and the dietician cannot work out why else that I gain weight. I do have the odd slip but not very often. I will try swimming and a bit of cycling, but I do live in a very hilly area, so will have to drive to a flatter area. However, that cannot start until November as I am relocating my elderly and failing Mother, and should get her into the nursing home during the last week of October. So will start with a vengeance when all is settled down. I am optimistic I will be able to shed some off.

wishbone in reply to Footdoc

Hi Footdoc,

That doesn't sound good. I just hope cutting out sweet stuff will do it for me but have my doubts if what you say is anything to go by. Don't think the amount/type of excersise I'm capable of will have much impact by the sound of it either..cycling isn't an option with my back problem, I can't swim and don't like the water anyway. I'll just have wait and see how things pan out. If I do have have significant weight gain however, then as mentioned above, will have a talk with rheumy about what's best to do as I really don't think I can handle much more weight around my midriff.. maybe another half stone at most.

Good luck controlling your weight.


sebbydog in reply to wishbone

The general consencus seems to be that biologics cause weight gain in some people , with the major gain being around the middle of your body...........


Hi Wishbone,

Do visit the exercise area of our website as we recently produced some videos on exercising gently with RA and other information which might be helpful to you - nras.org.uk/exercise

Take care!

Ruth Grosart

NRAS Digital Media Coordinator

wishbone in reply to Hidden

Thanks for that Ruth, most helpful.

I have definitely gained weight on Enbrel despite eating much less and watching what I do eat. I was shocked to see that in 3 months I gained 10lbs. I was not on any steroids or anything else that would have contributed to this weight gain. So dissapointing too. I think that it affects some of us with weight gain and others it doesn't, this is all from my own research.

I have gained 15 pounds since I've been on Enbrel.... had maintained my same weight since high school..... and these last two years my intake on my calories are way down

Sadly I believe this hascaused me to gain weight. 38 lbs to be exact since april... I have gone up 2 sizes, n wondering if the bloating or increased waist size is due to giving myself the injections there.

I have been on Enbrel for 10 years, injecting in my stomach. I went through menopause with slight weight gain but over the past two years I've put on at least 20 lbs. My "belly fat" has gotten worse. I work out 5 days a week with 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of muscle and join work. I eat a healthy (I don't have a sweet tooth), low fat diet. I was wondering if the Enbrel shots are causing the excess belly fat. It's very frustrating! I feel great enough to work out but its disappointing when I see no results.

Three years on Humira & then Enbrel = over 10kg heavier.Cannot shift even a gram.Have stopped biologics 6months ago but still cannot lose. Am hoping it will maybe start going after 12months+..................................

I was on enbrel for 8 years weight stayed the same... I went off of it for 2 years .. what a mistake .... so I went back on it 2 years ago ... I've gained 50 pound total and Have hyperglycemia .. every time I take my shot I would have a few episodes ... I'm off enbrel , for 2 months now ... no episodes , only lost 4 pounds , I'm in so much pain😩.. waiting for approval for new med....

I HAVE experienced the SAME thing. And I too have been watching what I eat, changing bad habits (night eating) and I exercise a ton (no pun intended). I can't help but think it is the Enbrel and plan to ask the doctor tomorrow. Didn't notice when you wrote this but would love to hear from you with an update on how you are doing. It is VERY frustrating. HELP!!!!

Deminem in reply to englishcop


Somebody please correct me if I'm mistaken, but putting it simply I think there are only two ways to gain weight.

One is muscle mass increasing due to exercise. And the other is more obvious, through eating.

When we see "weight gain" on the list of medication side effects, it purely means that the medication may increase your appetite. You do actually have eat more, or eat higher calories foods than before, or if not, be more sedentary than you was before, in order to gain the weight. Or take more exercise.

It doesn't magically show up on your waistline as wishbone(OP)says, bcz of taking a pill or biologic med for that matter. That's my belief anyway. Isn't that logical?

I don't think one can gain weight by taking any medication per se. But only if that medication increases your appetite for food consumption, or indeed improves your wellbeing so you then feel like exercising more.


I'm on my second month of Enbrel and I've already gained 10 lb I'm afraid to see what's going to happen 4 months from now

I developed an immunity to Humira, prescribed by my dermatologist for Psoriasis. My rheumatologist prescribed Enbrel for Psoriatic Arthritis, which I started using 4 months ago. It was almost immediately helpful in alleviating pain and debilitation, which was amazing, but has done nothing to help Psoriasis symptoms (Humira worked just the opposite- greatly helpful for Psoriasis, but not at all for Arthritis). After 2 weeks on Enbrel, pain started to return. A few weeks ago I learned I had gained 20 pounds in 4 months!!! No wonder I'm in more pain. I want to try another immunosuppressant soon; my next rheum appt is in October, but I may try to move that up.

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