Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Etanercept


Last updated on 21/07/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Etanercept



DRUG CLASS: Immunosuppressants

SUB CLASS: Tumour necrosis factor inhibitors, Biologics disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs

USED FOR: Rheumatoid arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis, Plaque psoriasis, Ankylosing spondylitis

– 25 mg, 50 mg (injection pen)

What is Etanercept for?

Etanercept is an immunosuppressant made up of a receptor TNFR and a part of immunoglobulin. It can inhibit tumor necrosis factor to suppress the action of the immune system. Etanercept is used for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis and ankylosing spondylitis.

How to use it?

Etanercept is available in Hong Kong as injection pens injected under the skin, preferably into the thigh. Listed below are the indications and the dosages.

Moderate to severe plaque psoriasis
Adult and elderly
The initial dose is 50 mg twice weekly for 3 months. The maintenance dose is 50 mg once weekly.

Child at 4-17 years of age
0.8 mg/kg once weekly. The maximum dose is 50 mg per dose.

Psoriatic arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis
Adult and elderly
50 mg once weekly or 25 mg twice weekly, possible to be in combination with Methotrexate.

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
Child above 2 years of age
0.8 mg/kg once weekly. The maximum dose is 50 mg per dose. Otherwise, 0.4 mg/kg twice weekly. The maximum dose is 25 mg per dose.

What are the side effects of Etanercept?

Common side effects of Etanercept include skin rash, diarrhoea, antibody development, infection, injection site reaction, itchiness and fever.

Who should not take Etanercept?

– People who are allergic to Etanercept or any component of the formulation.
– Patients with or at risk of sepsis.

Pharmacist Tips:

– If Etanercept injection pen is used multiple times weekly, give the dose at a 72-96 hour interval.
– The injection sites should be rotated. For example, do not inject to the same area until 2 weeks have passed.
– Inject into the thigh, preferably, or the abdomen and the outer area of the upper arm.
– Allow the pen to attain the room temperature before injection when retrieved from the refrigerator.

Common dosing schedule:
Etanercept is injected once or twice weekly. If you inject once weekly, inject at around the same time of the week. For instance, inject every Saturday morning. If you inject twice weekly, inject at a 72-96 hour interval, for example, the morning of every Monday and Thursday.

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Etanercept may interact with:
– Biologic Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs, e.g. Infliximab, Adalimumab, Rituximab
– Cladribine
– Vaccines, e.g. BCG, Smallpox and Monkeypox, COVID-19

Etanercept may interact with many other medications. Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Etanercept in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Etanercept is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Etanercept in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.