Effect of etanercept on fatigue in patients with recent or established rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis Rheum. 2006 Apr 15;55(2):287-93. doi: 10.1002/art.21838.


Objective: To assess the long-term impact of etanercept on fatigue in patients with recent-onset (mean duration 11 months) or established (mean duration 12 years) rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods: Patients participating in either of 2 multicenter, randomized, double-blind clinical trials were included. In one trial, patients with recent-onset RA received either etanercept 25 mg twice weekly or methotrexate in a double-blind fashion for 12 months, then open label for 12 months. All patients then received open-label etanercept. In the second trial, patients with established RA received etanercept 25 mg or placebo twice weekly for 6 months in a double-blinded fashion, then open-label etanercept. Up to 46 months of followup data were included. Fatigue was measured regularly using the Health Assessment Questionnaire vitality domain.

Results: Patients with recent-onset RA who received etanercept had a significantly faster improvement in fatigue than those receiving methotrexate in the first 2 months. Subsequently, patients receiving etanercept and methotrexate had 23-29% and 17-24% reductions in fatigue scores, respectively. In the group with established RA, patients who received etanercept had significantly greater reductions in fatigue than those receiving placebo during the blinded period. Patients initially receiving etanercept sustained a mean fatigue reduction of 25-36% for the entire followup. Patients achieving clinically meaningful improvement in fatigue were more likely to meet the American College of Rheumatology improvement criteria.

Conclusion: Etanercept therapy reduces fatigue in patients with recent-onset or established RA. Improvement in fatigue was sustained for up to 46 months, and correlated with other RA-relevant outcomes.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Etanercept
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Time Factors


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Etanercept
  • Methotrexate