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How do I take etanercept and how long does it take to work?

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Etanercept is taken once or twice a week as an injection under the skin (subcutaneous injection) using a pre-filled pen-like syringe – these should be stored in the fridge. You, your partner, or another member of your family can learn to give these injections at home.

If etanercept works for you, your symptoms should start to improve over 2–12 weeks. Because it’s a long-term treatment, it's important to keep taking etanercept (unless you have severe side-effects):

  • even if it doesn't seem to be working at first
  • even when your symptoms improve (to help keep the disease under control).

Etanercept bio-similar

Etanercept was originally available only under the brand name Enbrel. More recently, a new version of etanercept with the brand name Benepali has become available.

This new drug is referred to as a 'bio-similar' because it's meant to act in the same way as the original drug. Because this drug is newer, we don't yet know as much about it in terms of safety and effectiveness in all the situations described in this leaflet.

Benepali is only licensed for adults aged 18 and over, whereas Enbrel can be prescribed to children from the age of 2 years old as well as to adults.

Some known risks associated with Enbrel are thought to apply to Benepali, for example, people taking Benepali are warned that they are more at risk of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis. If you are currently being treated with Enbrel and it is proposed that you change to Benepali, we strongly advise you discuss this with your rheumatology team before any change is made.

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