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Enbrel Expands Use to Include Psoriatic Arthritis

Drug OK'd to fight condition found in 25 percent of psoriasis victims

SATURDAY, Feb. 16, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- It's not a well-known fact, but about one-quarter of the 7 million Americans who suffer from the skin disease psoriasis develop arthritis as a direct result.

Enbrel (etanercept), a prescription arthritis drug made by Immunex, has been given the go-ahead by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be taken by people who have psoriatic arthritis.

This FDA January approval letter discusses the conditions for the expanded use of Enbrel.

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that generally appears as patches of raised red skin covered by a flaky white buildup. The exact cause is unknown, but scientists believe that psoriasis is a symptom of a possibly larger problem -- the breakdown of part of the body's immune system.

Psoriatic arthritis' symptoms include: stiffness, pain, swelling and tenderness of the joints and the soft tissue around them, reduced range of motion, morning stiffness and tiredness, and nail changes, including pitting or lifting of the nail.

This document from the Psoriasis Foundation gives excellent information about psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and other research being done to find the cause and cure for the skin condition.

Enbrel was initially approved in 1998 as a rheumatoid arthritis drug. Here is the FDA description and use nomenclature for Enbrel.

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