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Drugs. 2007;67(8):1211-41.

Etanercept: a review of its use in the management of rheumatoid arthritis.

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Wolters Kluwer Health/Adis, Auckland, New Zealand.

Erratum in

  • Drugs. 2007;67(13):1849.


Etanercept (Enbrel), a soluble fusion protein that binds specifically to the cytokine human tumour necrosis factor (TNF), is approved for subcutaneous use in the treatment of patients with moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing arthritis and plaque psoriasis in the US, Italy, the rest of the EU and other countries worldwide. Subcutaneous etanercept was efficacious and generally well tolerated in several large, well designed, clinical trials and in the clinical-practice setting in adult patients with rheumatoid arthritis, including methotrexate-naive patients with early disease and those with long-standing, treatment-resistant active disease. Etanercept plus methotrexate combination therapy was generally superior to either monotherapy in reducing disease activity and structural joint damage, as well as improving health-related quality of life (HR-QOL). Furthermore, etanercept monotherapy was superior to placebo and at least as effective as methotrexate therapy in reducing disease activity and improving HR-QOL in patients with early or refractory disease. The beneficial effects of etanercept monotherapy or combination therapy were sustained in the long term (< or =9 years). Some pharmaco-economic analyses suggest that etanercept is a cost-effective option in the treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Direct head-to-head comparisons with other biological agents would help to definitively position etanercept with respect to these agents. Nevertheless, extensive clinical experience indicates that etanercept is a valuable treatment option in adult patients with long-standing moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis and an emerging option in those with early disease.

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