Enbrel Schizophrenia Symptoms Reviewed by Health Canada

In response to concerns raised by a recent medical journal report, Canadian health officials indicate that they have conducted a safety review to evaluate the potential side effects of Enbrel and determine whether the anti-inflammation drug may increase the risk of users experiencing schizophrenia.

In a statement released late last month, Health Canada states that it could find no evidence of a link between Enbrel and schizophrenia symptoms based on available data. However, the agency will continue to monitor adverse event reports and medical literature on the issue.

Enbrel (etanercept) is a Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) Blocker distributed sold by Amgen which was introduced in 1998 to treat various auto immune disorders, such as Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and juvenile idopathic arthritis (previously known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis). It is administered as an injection.

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The safety review was sparked by a case report published last year in the medical journal The BMJ, in which doctors from the Ysbyty Gwynedd Hospital in Wales described a woman taking Enbrel who began to develop a schizophrenia-like disorder shortly after starting the treatment.

The middle-aged woman had no history of psychiatric illness and she recovered after being removed from Enbrel and after she was treated with an atypical antipsychotic, sulpiride, for six months. Sulpiride, sold under a variety of brand names worldwide, is not approved for use in the U.S.

Health Canada’s investigation found 25 reports of psychiatric disorders and two incidents of psychosis among those who took Enbrel in Canada, via reports submitted to the Canada Vigilance Program. However, the agency found no cases of schizophrenia. Warnings provided to users already indicate that Enbrel side effects may increase the risk of anxiety and depression.

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