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Fact or Coincidence? Enbrel Users Continue to Wonder

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Midway, KYWhile Enbrel has been off the radar of late, the tumor necrosis factor alpha blocker (TNF blocker) is still on the minds of people who have used Enbrel to combat Enbrel arthritis or plaque psoriasis—and who have wound up with more than they had bargained for.

Blogger 'jennybyc' wrote, "not only did it not make me any better, it made me worse. My fatigue was terrible and I developed swelling under my skin that almost looked like huge fluid-filled cysts. My doc had never seen such a thing."

While not identifying the reason for her Enbrel prescription, 'jennybyc' goes on to say that after being off Enbrel for two years most of the swelling originally caused by the Enbrel allergic reaction had subsided, save for "a couple of patches on my arms that I don't think will ever go away."

Meanwhile, a new study has found that use of TNF blockers in children may increase the risk of malignancy, with the indication for inflammatory bowel disease identified as a particular concern, according to MedPage Today back in July. Additionally, the publication Arthritis and Rheumatism reported in August the findings of Peter Diak, PharmD and colleagues from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that a total of 48 cases of malignancy had been reported among children and young adults taking TNF blockers—Enbrel among them.

Sourcing the FDA's Adverse Reporting System database, the researchers found that among the 9,200 children treated with etanercept (Enbrel), there were 15 reported malignancies with five cases of lymphoma, four of leukemia, two cases each of malignant melanoma and thyroid cancer, and one case each of myelodysplasia, yolk sac tumor and bladder cancer.

Mike S. blogged about his concern that Enbrel may have had a part to play in a diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The 28-year-old had been taking Enbrel for two years to control psoriasis when his diagnosis occurred.

The FDA released a communiqué in August of 2009 with regard to the potential for tumor necrosis factor alpha-blockers such as Enbrel to be associated with an increased risk of malignancies in children and adolescents. While Mike was hardly an adolescent at 28 when he blogged about his condition not long after the FDA advisory was released, he remained concerned nonetheless that in his view Enbrel side effects may have had a part to play in his diagnosis.

Enbrel was among the TNF blockers that came under FDA scrutiny starting in June of 2008. That review led to an advisory a little more than a year later, coupled with a requirement for TNF blocker manufacturers to include cancer warnings on product labeling.

Previous concerns included the possibility for various types of Enbrel infection due to the tendency of TNF blockers to suppress the body's natural immune system—thus creating a pathway for potential infection. To that end, fungal infections have also been associated with Enbrel (etanercept) with patients prescribed Enbrel for either plaque psoriasis or arthritis, also experiencing unwelcome Enbrel fungus.

As for Mike S., did Enbrel reaction trigger his leukemia? At the time of his posting, his leukemia was in remission. Blogger Ed Dewke, who had a testicle removed due to the presence of a cancerous tumor, had been taking Enbrel for psoriasis when he noted the sudden onset of massive swelling. Was the use of Enbrel and his tumor related? Dewke has ruled that out. But the coincidence remains.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
Was on Enbrel 4 months I lost 26 pounds and found out my acreatine level was 591 my low back and buttocks are killing me now. This drug might have destroyed my kidneys

Posted by

on
i was using EMBREL 50 MG for the last 5 years for my ankylosis spondylitis HLAB27 positive j found myself with papillary carcinoma type 6 on the 6/8/14 the operation of removing my thyroid was done on the 27/10/14 by doctor Anthoby Clifford RPAH I do believe EMBREL is responsible for the cancer and is dangerous drug

Posted by

on
i was using EMBREL 50 MG for the last 5 years for my ankylosis spondylitis HLAB27 positive j found myself with papillary carcinoma type 6 on the 6/8/14 the operation of removing my thyroid was done on the 27/10/14 by doctor Anthoby Clifford RPAH I do believe EMBREL is responsible for the cancer and is dangerous drug

Posted by

on
I took Enbrel over 10 yrs I develop prostate cancer and we stop the drug and saw a 20% drop in my PSA count and it went back up after starting the drug again, The VA hosp dr's never told me about the FDA black box label in 2009 about Enbrel. I stop using the drug in Nov2013 My prostate was removed in Jan 2014 after it was engross with infection/ cancer. Cells were left and grew and in 4 months I had to take radiation in June 2014 till 1 Aug2014 for 38 treatments, The treatment left me with no bladder control and complete sexual disfuction, I must take a shot to make a ecrection that very painfull with no feeling of cumming. Thank You,

Posted by

on
I wrote "bone marrow biopsies" in my previous comment. I meant to say "bone marrow transplants".

Posted by

on
I am the Mike S. mentioned above. I'm still in remission. Just had my 5 year bloodwork done last week. Everything is great. I'm currently on methotrexate to control my psoriasis, which I should have tried before pulling out the big guns with Enbrel. I still think it was enbrel that played a role in my developing ALL. There is NO history of any type of blood malignancies or cancers in my family. Also, I responded VERY well to only chemotherapy, while other people who were being treated at the same time as me were relapsing, and also needing bone marrow biopsies. I feel that if had I gotten leukemia "naturally" i.e. while not being on a drug that reduces a natural cancer fighting part of your immune system, I wouldn't have responded so well. But again, in my opinion, since since my leukemia came about while on enbrel, it wasn't "natural"; for lack of a better phrase, leukemia, and I was able to beat it with hyper cvad chemotherapy alone.

Please, anyone on enbrel or considering it, monitor your bloodwork and CBC's VIGILANTLY! Consider using something less dangerous and more understood. Who knows what side effects could pop up in 20 years or more from these biologics.

I also find it ironic that I took a drug to control my psoriasis, that in my opinion, played a part in causing leukemia, and the big pharm company behind it profited nicely.
Then the same big pharm company profited again when I took a drug I needed to stimulate my white blood cell counts after chemotherapy doses.

They get you sick and profit off you, then make you better and profit off you again.

Posted by

on
i got a second stelara shot and my blood sugar was 711 when i went into the hospital. I just got home today. my vision is still affected and i am now taking 2 types of injectable insulin. i have had no previous problems with diabetes. it was a day and a half after the second injection that i started having problems. when i spoke to the dermatologists nurse practioner she told me that they had another individual that same week with high sugar and blurry vision...i dont think this was a coincedence.

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