What Is Etanercept Used For?

How Etanercept Works

Etanercept is part of a class of medicines known as tumor necrosis factor inhibitors, or TNF inhibitors for short. As the name of the drug class implies, etanercept blocks the activity of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). TNF-alpha is a naturally occurring chemical in the body that is involved in inflammation and other immune system functions. For example, TNF-alpha plays a role in the formation of skin lesions in psoriasis and in the swelling and joint damage in ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
 
People with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, or ankylosing spondylitis often have higher levels of TNF. By blocking TNF-alpha, etanercept helps to keep the immune system from attacking the body, which improves symptoms and, in some cases, prevents future damage from occurring. However, the medication does not cure these conditions.
 

Etanercept Use in Children

Etanercept has been studied in children as young as two years old for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is not approved for any other use in children. Talk with your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using etanercept in children.
 

Is Etanercept Used for Off-Label Uses?

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend etanercept for something other than the conditions discussed in this article. This is called an "off-label" use. At this time, off-label etanercept uses include the treatment of:
 
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Etanercept (Enbrel)

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