Hi I have had RA for almost 10 years and have been on Sulfasalazine and Hydroxychloroquine. This alone was not enough to control me RA. So the consultant added methotrexate into the mix. This improved things slightly. After nearly 4/5 years on the methotrexate I began feeling nauseous at the thought of taking any tablets... so they stopped the methotrexate. It took me some time before I managed to take my medication again. The consultant the reduced me down to just hydroxychloroquine. So now my RA is out of control and I only seem to feel at ease is after a course of tablet steroids. When COVID-19 took over the world last year I was being encouraged to start taking ETANERCEPT.... which I was reluctant to do knowing it could make me more vulnerable to Covid-19 (I also have mild asthma). They consultant seem to think this is the best way forward and I really need advice.... I need my RA to get back under control and I just don’t know if this medication is right for me. Any advice welcome 🙏🏻


  • Anna
    Anna Moderator Posts: 930

    Hi Kirat8,

    I’ve just answered your earlier post on etanercept, and didn’t realise that you were particularly concerned about the vulnerability aspect. I’ll let helpline respond since you’ve written to them, but perhaps you could have a chat with your consultant about your fears? If they are recommending that you should try it out, they will probably be able to reassure you about the risks.

    Best wishes,

    Anna ( Mod)

    Need more help? - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • Kirat8
    Kirat8 Member Posts: 7

    Hi Anna

    Thank you for your advice. I’m not sure my consultant and I are compatible.... she is very much of the mindset that having tried the other medication this is the next step.... do my personal condition, fear/worries etc don’t count. I’m a tick box. Which doesn’t fill me with confidence that this treatment is right for me.

    ultimately they are not giving me any other options so I’m almost being forced to take this treatment. So I’d really value feedback from anyone who been in this medication and your thoughts!

  • Hi Kirat8,

    Thank you for posting on the helpline forum, I am sorry to hear that your Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is out of control, it can be so worrying not knowing what the best thing is to do in the current situation especially when it is concerning your health and wellbeing. 

    Etanercept is one of the newer types of biological therapy’s and can work quicker than the conventional Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARD’s).  As you will already be aware of with RA it can cause inflammation, pain and damage to the joints, Anti-TNF drugs such as Etanercept, block the TNF and can reduce the inflammation. Most people do not experience any side affect from this treatment and if they do, they are not usually serious.

    Steps that can help and be taken to stop you getting an infection is, avoid being in contact with family and friends that you know are ill. Wash your hands regularly and possibly carry a bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you.

    As Anna has said possibly a chat with your health care team may put you at ease and enable you to decide in the future.

    Hopefully, the link below will also help you to decide.

    Best wishes


    Helpline Advisor

  • Kirat8
    Kirat8 Member Posts: 7

    Hi Chris

    I really appreciate the advice. It fills me with some hope that this could be the right way forward.

    When they say infections.... what kind of things are they referring to?

  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 3,422
    edited 17. May 2021, 14:02

    Hi @Kirat8

    I appreciate how concerned you have been about starting a biological therapy during the pandemic, so I’m pleased you’re feeling a little more hopeful.  

    When referring to infections, they usually mean bacterial or viral infections, like colds, flu, chickenpox, or shingles. This is explained a little more fully in the side-effects and risk section of the etanercept link Chris sent.

    My understanding is that being in flare-up, with RA not well-controlled, could increase your risk from COVID-19, which is why the rheumatologist would be keen to get you on an appropriate treatment.  

    If you haven’t already done so, I think you might find it helpful to explore your concerns with one of our helpline advisors on on our freephone helpline: 0800 5200 520.

    Although the link here relates to the COVID-19 vaccines, rather than to etanercept, you may still find it helpful for giving some insight into some of your concerns around rheumatology conditions and treatments.

    I hope this is helpful,

    Best wishes


    Helpline Team

  • Kirat8
    Kirat8 Member Posts: 7

    Hi Mags

    everyone has been really helpful. All this information has been really useful in helping me make my decision about the course of treatment.

    Thank you everyone



  • UshaT
    UshaT Member Posts: 13

    Hi Kirat8, I was on Etanercept for nearly 8 years' and it was a miracle biologic for me. My disease was under control and I was fortunate enough to reduce my anti-inflammatory medication too. Yes, it does lower your immune system, but on the other hand, the quality of life you get back is worth it. Good luck in your decision.