Etanercept can be used both as monotherapy and in combination with methotrexate (MTX), but direct comparisons of these two options have not yet been reported. In order to compare the results seen in actual practice between these two options, clinical data on 97 patients followed in the Stockholm TNFalpha Follow-Up Registry were analysed. In 57 of these patients etanercept was added to previously started MTX while the others were treated with etanercept alone. The two groups had similar levels of disease activity at baseline. After 3 months, a significantly lower mean disease activity score (28-joint count-based disease activity score) was attained by the patients on etanercept plus MTX. In this group, the number of patients achieving European League Against Rheumatism-defined remission was also significantly greater. Other disease outcomes showed non-significant trends in the same direction. These data suggest that the combination of etanercept plus MTX is clinically more efficacious than etanercept alone.