Pausing Enbrel

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had to stop my Enbrel injections twice. One week it was because I felt really ill with a sore throat and feverish symptoms, spending most of the time in bed. After a week without Enbrel, my joints stiffened up considerably, my fingers became puffy, and I needed help getting out of the bath and out of a chair. This rapid deterioration was the reason I put myself back on the medication. Enbrel had been making a difference to my quality of life. Then I had a blood test which showed low neutrophils and the hospital asked me to stop injecting. After this, I had a ‘flare-up’ with my lungs – directly linked to my bronchiectasis. So I’m on antibiotics for up to 2 weeks but cannot take Enbrel.

Pausing Enbrel worries me as I’ve heard stories of people coming off it for various reasons, then trying it again without success. I really hope it works again, as I’m running out of options to treat the rheumatoid disease/arthritis. On the positive side, this enforced break should give my neutrophils a chance to go back up to normal levels. And continuing to inject Enbrel while having a lung exacerbation wasn’t an option, as it would be counter-productive (i.e. take even longer to get better).

Apart from these set-backs with my health, I’ve managed to see a few friends and to visit a few art exhibitions to keep my spirits up. I never thought I would be craving such a powerful biologic as Enbrel when it took me a long time to even contemplate taking it. I’ve had a glimpse of how it can be life-changing (not dramatically in my case, but enough to start making a difference to my joints and fatigue). Hopefully, when I restart the drug, it will be just as effective as before.

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2 thoughts on “Pausing Enbrel

  1. I was on Enbrel for over 2 years when I had shoulder surgery and had to stop it for 3 weeks. The monster came back! When I resumed injections it just didn’t seem to be as controlled as before. I plunged ahead for 4 months before talking to the doctor about it. She switched me to Humira and I’ve been good the 2 years since. If it doesn’t work as well for you, there are good results if switching is required. I didn’t mind that instead of 2X a week to inject, I just have to do humira every other week. Good luck!

    • Thanks for commenting, Marcia. I know it’s a very individual thing whether it will be effective or not – many other people under the care of my rheumatology team have successfully re-started Enbrel after having to pause it. So I’m optimistic that it will work, especially as I’ve already tried Humira without success. Good to hear that Humira works for you, though.

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