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Enbrel: A Game Changer for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Biologics first made their premier as a treatment option for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) over fifteen years ago, when Enbrel was first introduced. Now it is one of the front runners for treatment of RA. Many studies and articles, such as Palmer’s (2012) article out of the British Journal of Nursing, has shown how beneficial and impactful Enbrel has been as a treatment option. proclaims how symptoms start to improve in as early as two weeks, with most people seeing improvements within three months, with even more improvements seen by six months. The article by Dhillon, Lyseng-Williamson, and Scott (2011) states that in several well designed trials in patients with early or long-standing
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Enbrel is a prescribed subcutaneous injection that is given weekly. Dosages can be either 25mg per week or 50mg per week. Dosage is determined by the physician based on height, weight, and disease progression. Enbrel as well as other biologic agents have the potential to prevent or reduce joint damage thereby preserving joint integrity and function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (Keating, 2012, p.23). Enbrel act to suppress the overactive immune system that produces the cytokine TNF. By doing this it can slow or stop progression of joint damage and can induce disease remission in some patients. Enbrel was developed on a greater understanding of the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis and target specific cells, such as TNF, which are responsible for driving the disease process. Enbrel blocks the interaction between TNF and cell surface receptors, thereby inhibiting the effects of TNF. Enbrel provides rapid and sustained reductions in disease activity in both early rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis that is resistant to DMARDs. Enbrel also has a more rapid onset of action than methotrexate. Methotrexate has an onset of action anywhere from four to six weeks where- as with Enbrel the onset of action is two weeks. Despite this vast difference there are important factors that determine if a patient is eligible to take
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