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Virtual Assistant

Our new Arthritis Virtual Assistant uses artificial intelligence to answer your arthritis related questions 24/7.

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0800 5200 520

Open Mon–Fri 9am–8pm.

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What can it do?

Welcome to the beta Arthritis Virtual Assistant. At the moment it can give you general information about your condition and medication, and provide you with useful exercises to help manage your arthritis.

Why do we need your help?

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant has been built to learn and improve with every use. That way, whenever you use it, you’re indirectly helping another person get the answers that they need for their arthritis.

What can you ask?

You'll get the best response if your question relates to a single type of arthritis, and is expressed as clearly and simply as possible. For example, "What are the best exercises for osteoarthritis?" or "What are the side effects of methotrexate?"

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Your conversation will not be visible the next time you visit the Arthritis Virtual Assistant. If you want to keep a copy of the advice you've been given, you can print it using the button at the top of the chat window.

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Arthritis Virtual Assistant

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant (AVA) allows you to ask questions and get answers about your condition and how best to manage it. It’s based on over 80 years of our research and uses artificial intelligence to decide on the best responses to give you. The AVA is currently in ‘beta’ testing which means it’s still learning and will improve as more people use it.

The AVA provides general information. For further info, or if you have any concerns you should speak to a healthcare professional.

The AVA is intended for UK users. Medical practice may differ in different regions, so please seek local advice instead of using the AVA if you are outside the UK.

By using the AVA you confirm that you understand and accept the terms of use and consent to how we will use the information you provide.

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Helpline 0800 5200 520 More information

Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis.

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> > > > > What is etanercept and why is it prescribed?

What is etanercept and why is it prescribed?

Etanercept (trade name: Enbrel) is a type of drug known as anti-TNF. In rheumatoid arthritis and some other inflammatory conditions, too much of a protein called TNF (tumour necrosis factor) is produced in the body, causing inflammation, pain and damage to the bones and joints. Anti-TNF drugs such as etanercept block the action of TNF and so reduce this inflammation.

Etanercept isn't a painkiller, but can modify the disease and should start to improve your symptoms over a period of 2–12 weeks.

Etanercept can be prescribed by a consultant rheumatologist for:

There are national and local guidelines that determine when it can be prescribed, and these vary according to which condition you have. It's usually given along with other disease-modifying drugs – for example, methotrexate or sulfasalazine.

Before starting etanercept you'll have a chest x-ray and tests to check if you've ever been exposed to tuberculosis (TB). You may need treatment for latent (asymptomatic) TB before starting etanercept. You'll also be checked for previous hepatitis infection, as etanercept may increase the risk of hepatitis being reactivated.

You may have further blood tests while you're on etanercept to monitor its effects.

Are there any reasons I won't be prescribed etanercept?

Etanercept won't be started if:

  • your arthritis isn't active
  • you have an infection
  • you haven't tried other treatments appropriate for your condition first.

Doctors sometimes use a score known as DAS28 to work out how active your arthritis is. This counts how many of 28 specific joints are tender and swollen, and looks at inflammation levels in a blood test. You'll also be asked to score how well you feel on a scale of 0 to 10.  

Your doctor may decide not to prescribe etanercept if you've had:

  • repeated or serious infections
  • multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • cancer
  • a serious heart condition
  • lung fibrosis (scarring of the lung tissue).

Helpline

0800 5200 520

Our new helpline: Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis. Open Mon–Fri 9am–8pm.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes

Virtual Assistant

Our new Arthritis Virtual Assistant uses artificial intelligence to answer your arthritis related questions 24/7.

Ask a question
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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.