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Benipali - Change from Embrel


I am trying to help reassure and allay any fears that my family member has regarding the switch from Embrel to Benipali in the next couple of months. Like many, she received the out of the blue letter and is now feeling incredibly anxious with little help coming her way from the hospital as it sounds like their hands are tied .

Any stories of it working / not feeling different to the original embrel would help..

Also; if it didn't work like Embrel - would she be able to switch back ? What are the other options?

Many thanks in advance

14 Replies

It's certainly made a big difference to me although I still get problems with my hands I take mtx 20mgs with it


Not had any experience of Embrel but I started Benepali mid December and it has made a huge difference to me.


What letter ? Have I missed something?


It may be dependant on your health trust ...

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Hello Binkyboy

I was switched from Enbrel to Benepali in September after 9 months or so on Enbrel.

I too was extremely concerned as its a great leap of faith to have to jab yourself with these serious drugs in the first place let alone be told you are being swapped to something ' similar'

This is where I believe the problem with Benepali lies, in the psychological effect of yet another drug added to the mix. Especially if one has being doing very well on Enbrel.

I think the best way ahead for your family member is to embrace the new medication and as I was told imagine it's exactly the same as trying a generic brand of Ibruprofen instead of Nurofen for example.

The jab itself I have found stings more but bleeds less as I said in a post to someone else the other day.

I believe it is still keeping my Inflamation down but I still find I'm in pain.

I'm pretty certain there will be no chance of going back to Enbrel or in fact being allowed to decline the swop.

I wish them much relief with their new drug going forwards.



Thank you for your reply, a great help.

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When I was being assessed for Biologics last year my Rheumy nurse explained that Biosimilars like Benipali were being assessed by the nhs as they are so much cheaper than the original they are "similar" to.

It turned out I was not prescribed a bio similar, but having had it explained to me I would have been quite happy to have had it.

I agree with you that there would probably be very little chance of going back to Enbrel as cost is the reason Benipal is being prescribed......I expect the trials that took place came up to the required standard & saved money.....a no brainer when you look at the state the NHS is in!


I am not 100% certain but I think the change to Benepali was due to the licence change which enabled another company to produce Benepali there fore making it cheaper than the original enbrel.

No doubt someone will correct me if I have the info wrong.

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Hello, yes that is correct - I've read up so much on it! ThNk you


The patent on Enbrel expired so pharmaceutical companies could 'copy' it & the BioSimilar Benipali was born "similar" to Ebrel!

Other Biologics are soon coming to the end of their patent so there will be more Biosimlars appearing in the future.....you can Google to see which are in the pipeline to being copied

Remember how it happened when expensive Panadol became inexpensive Paracetamol?


In my area the decision to switch from Enbrel to Benepali is left up to me. I have been on Enbrel and mtx injections for over 8 years and am in remission. All new patients go onto Benepali. I have agreed to switch now Christmas is over. I trust my consultant who assures me they are the same. The bio similar is half the cost of Enbrel. Though the cost of Enbrel is reducing now they are loosing sales. I understand the same as Jackadoodle says above. The patent ran out so other companies can now copy etranacept as it is a very difficult drug to produce it has taken a while for other companies to make it and pass all the strict regulations. I suggest you look it up on the NRAS web site and print off the info for your family member.


Thank you Gillian. She is really trying to get a meeting in with her consultant but just a bit of bad timing as he's away and the letter came a week last Friday!

Thanks for your help.


Hi Binkyboy,

Further to the earlier answers, hopefully you will already have seen some of the information on the NRAS website her: nras.org.uk/biosimilars

It is both NRAS's and the British Society of Rheumatology's position that states if a patient does not respond in the same way after being switched to a biosimilar, they should be able to switch back to the originator product they were on.

The safety and effectiveness data being reported from across Europe and the rest of the world is pretty

much the same as for the original biologic products, which should give patients a great deal of confidence when being prescribed them. However, it is important that biosimilars are prescribed with proper consultation, care planning and shared decision making between the clinician and the patient.

NRAS has been heavily involved in bringing the patient voice to various workshops with rheumatologists, pharmaceutical companies and commissioners. If you have any feedback from your/your family member's experience of being switched onto a biosimilar which you would like to share with us, good or bad, please email ailsa@nras.org.uk

If you or your family member have any further concerns and you can't get in touch with your rheumatologist - do give the NRAS Helpline a call on 0800 298 7650 (Mon-Fri 9.30-4.30)

Kind regards



Thanks very much Emma. I will definitely pass this on and tell her to get in touch too.




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