Saturday, August 16, 2008 Blondie, Community Member, asks

Q: Can Enbrel cause weight gain, mood swings and loss of sex drive?

Just started Enbrel three weeks ago - funny things have been happening - eating more (which I dont want to do since I have just lost over 30 kilos), no sex drive, mood swings, unbelievable fatigue especially the day after the injection.  Is this normal?

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Answers (11)
Emily, Community Member
8/19/08 2:02pm

From what I understand RA alone causes a lot of those symptoms. Before I was put on Humira-then Enbrel I was a moody ice queen that didn't want to do anything but sleep on the couch and devour every cheeseburger and scoop of ice cream within 2 miles of my house. I've slowly seen that person go away and bits of my regular self have been peeping out now and again. Thankfully! Tongue out Hope this helps and you start feeling yourself again soon.

Emily, Community Member
8/19/08 2:02pm

From what I understand RA alone causes a lot of those symptoms. Before I was put on Humira-then Enbrel I was a moody ice queen that didn't want to do anything but sleep on the couch and devour every cheeseburger and scoop of ice cream within 2 miles of my house. I've slowly seen that person go away and bits of my regular self have been peeping out now and again. Thankfully! Tongue out Hope this helps and you start feeling yourself again soon.

Kansas, Community Member
10/ 5/08 7:02pm

I'm in my 9th week with Enbrel and am noticing I feel more depressed and fatigued the longer I take it....besides the consistently sore throat and sinus drainage...which could be part allergies, but seems magnified this year.     I actually noticed no noticeable difference in tiredness or mood until around the 7th week.  Like you, I'm hoping it will only get better, but I'm calling my doctor Monday .  This is beginning to feel like no way to conduct a life.   I'm seldom my happy self anymore.

cambridgemama, Community Member
4/30/10 7:53am

Hi there, it g

cambridgemama, Community Member
4/30/10 7:57am

Hi there, it's comforting to know that there are other people out there that have had similar experiences as myself.  I have just recently stopped taking Enbrel (before that Humira) as I wasn't feeling any better with the RA & on top of this had put on 12 pounds, constent sore throats & sinus, extreme tiredness & a real imbalance in my moods.  It feels a little cold turket coming off the injections & I'm not feeling right with myself, esp. as having the extra few pounds have made me feel even lower but I'm hoping to come out of this without havign to resort to too many other medications.  After 40 years of RA, it's time to get myself back to feelign stronger & better.  Already, after two weeks without Enbrel, although I feel slightly out of sorts, I do feel so much more relaxed with the whole situation. 

Vicky, Community Member
5/ 9/10 2:43pm

I have read all the msgs on this site and I have gained over 20lbs and feel very fatigued, and my sex drive has definitely gone downhill!!!

I asked my doctor before going on to Enbrel if it causes weight gain and was told no! 

I've been using Enbrel for a year now and even though my symptoms have improved, I cannot loose the weight (even when I don't eat all day)!

After 6 months I asked again and was told that it would give you an appetite!  I do have an appetite (which I didn't before) but don't eat a regular meal!  I just can't loose the weight!

Did you loose the weight when you stopped Enbrel?

gill, Community Member
11/11/10 11:47am


Philisha, Community Member
4/23/09 1:52pm

They started me off with methotrexate and prednisone. Then they took me off of the prednisone and put me on enbrel. It was then that I really started to notice the weight gain. At first I blammed it on the prednisone, but now I'm feeling like it's the enbrel. No matter what I eat or how much I exercise it WILL NOT come off.

Karen, Community Member
2/19/10 2:00am

i've been on Enbrel for about 6mths. or more and I've noticed alot of weight gain, last yr. this time I was 123pds. know I'm 140pds. i have no appetite at all, so I don't eat till dinner, then a snake later! i was wondering what meds. was doing this, know I think I know its enbrel. Sorry to say, cause it has really worked on the pain and sewlling, i have been sleeping alot like 9-12hrs a day. I sleep more if I can, try not to take naps! It really has helped, I've been on alot of different meds. Also have lupus, fibre,RA,sjorgrens, so this has helpped, but some of the side affects,I don't like weight gain, sleep to much,fatigue, Is there anything else out there that maybe you can help me out with or suggest???

Jessie, Community Member
5/25/09 6:50pm

I have been using enbrel for about four years now.  I noticed almost right away that I was gainning weight.  I told my dr. and she said I am probibly eating to much. I cut back on my eating habbits, and started working out every day, and in the past three months I started walking two miles a day on top of my workouts. In three years I have lost one inch In my waist, and one inch in my hips. With all that, I am so tired all the time, and I still am very fatigued.


                                                 thank youFrown

Lmwisern, Community Member
10/22/13 8:53pm
I'm glad you are able to work out. I've not been able to in almost 18 months. I've yo yo'd between doctors, ortho neuro, family and now rheumatologist. Five years ago I began working out almost every day. In two years or so I had lost 210 pounds. I felt young again, loved life, loved my job, all was good. Now that I can't exercise I've gained 10-12 pounds. Doesn't seem like a lot but it is to me and you would be surprised how big a difference it makes in my clothes. Im on my 3rd week of embrel and I swear on my life my abdomen and legs are bigger. I'm not crazy, lol, they are. I ache for the day that I can walk on my treadmill and do my aerobics. I miss it so much. Pain is a constant battle for me right now. I sure hope my rheumatologist can help me get my life back. Reply
Sandi, Community Member
8/31/09 10:19am

I have been on Enbrel for about 1 year. It has helped with alot of my RA discomfort.  But it seems latley I have been having very extreme mood swings, just not myself.  I always chalk it up to PMS, but there is no way I have PMS every week of the month.  I have not been eating more and sex drive is down. Sometimes I think it is all in my head and I should be able to control it.  i am going to do some extensive research on the side effects of Enbrel and I will get back to you.

suziq, Community Member
9/10/09 8:14am

i have been on Enbrel for about 4 months now and it has really helped my pain and swelling. The last couple of weeks i have really noticed the extreme tiredness and lack of energy. had a migrane for a week but wasn't sure if it was just stress as my marriage has recently broken up. i just want to sleep all the time, even more than usual! not sure if i should go to the docs as i feel so exhausted but hey what will he do? i don't want to stop taking the enbrel as i works so well for me.

Laura, Community Member
9/10/09 9:41pm

Hello, I was wondering if you found out anything else about the side effects of of Enbrel?  I am due to start on it Monday.  I was looking forward to it at first, with hopes of relieving some of my pain and stopping further joint damage, but now after reading the posts about it, I am very nervous.   I struggle to keep my weight down as it is, I just don't want the added burden.

Any help/advice you have would be great!

Jordan, Community Member
10/ 1/09 12:44pm

Hi I have been on Enbrel since April of this year..3 months of 2 shots a week and now 1 shot a week.  I have not felt this good in years.  I have a a couple of small flares with the PSA but my psorisis is about 95% clear.  I don't ache anyway near as much and I have lost 20 lbs.  I feel great!  My doctor said if the flares keep happening then he might try me on Humira...I hope not



Laura, Community Member
10/ 1/09 3:40pm

Wow, that is awesome!  So happy for you!   I have been on it for 3 weeks now at 1 50mg shot a week.  I am starting to feel some relief at this point, but not completely.  I'm very relieved that there isn't weight gain.  Laughing

bab, Community Member
11/30/09 10:42pm

hi! i have had rheumatoid arthritis for almost 20 years (and im only 26!) and like a miracle, enbrel has been the only thing in my life that has relived my crippling pain. ive been taking enbrel for about 4 years (not very regularly due to its cost). what brings me to this blog is the past 6-12 months or so i just havent felt like my self. i have lost a significant amount of weight (and i was already underweight) and all i want to do is sleep- i can't get enough! i have never in my life had any signs of depression or rarely even been sad! now im iritable, moody, chronically fatigued and can't remember the last time i genuinely smiled. around the same time i started feeling this way i noticed that every little cut on my body turned into a serious infection. im beginning to think the enbrel is turning on me? i dont want to stop because it actually works! can anyone relate?

SheenLove, Community Member
5/ 3/10 3:11pm

I can relate. I have been on Enbrel three seperate times. However, I have had RA since I was 17 (now I am 25) and the symptoms of fatigue, weight loss, sadness were all effects of having the disease itself in my opinion. I am on Enbrel once again after trying Orencia, Humira,  and Cympzia. Nothing seems to be working that great and as a result I do feel sad because of my limitations in participating in everyday life. Not to mention how painful it is and I seem to always be in some sort of pain. Steroids made me very depressed, gain weight and have a bad attitude. And some where along the way, i have completely lost my Libido, not sure what to attribute that too. I have only been back on Enbrel for two weeks and I am praying this works cause frankly I am tired of changing medications and more tired of being in pain

God's baby, Community Member
5/19/10 2:55pm

I have been on Enbrel for a is like night and day. Prior to this my joints in my hands were all swollen. I was in constant pain. My doctor put me on predinisone for 1 week (miraculous) then I started taking the 50mg 1/wk dose of Enbrel. Today, I am virtually symptom less. I am in no way depressed, unhappy, sad etc etc. but that could be because I know whom I serve and depression isn't an option. However, in the past month, I have gained a whooping 8lbs. I had just lost about 40lbs before I started having symptoms and then was diagnosed with RA. I workout intensively 5 times a week. I did my research and there was nothing about weight gain except from other people. I specifically asked my doctor about the weight gain and she told me she knows a lot of people on Enbrel and there is no link between Enbrel and packing on the pounds. However, I must say that I haven't probably been eating as clean all month, but like others stated, I found myself with this ravenous appetite all of a sudden. I'm eating cookies I never looked at before, greasy restaurant food I would never have touched and my portions are so much larger. I am going to do a lot better with my eating, so help me God. And in another month, I was check my weight and report back. PS: My cramps were horrible this past month. Anyone else experience this?

Annie, Community Member
10/18/10 10:12am

I have been on Enbrel for just a year for Psoriatic Arthritis.  There is little joint pain now but the weight gain has been very troubling for me.  My doctor reduced my dose from 50 mg a week to 25 mg and I was hoping that the smaller dose might help with the weight gain... NOT!  I have been very successful with Weight Watchers for the past 5 years but in this past year I have strugged with a 10 lb weight gain.  I'm tempted to stop taking the Enbrel.  Sooooo discouraging.

JUDY BOHLIG, Community Member
6/ 1/11 4:39am

does enbriel cause wight gain

Barb, Community Member
6/ 1/11 7:20pm

The correct answer is YES, Enbrel can cause all of this, so call your physician and explain to him/her exactly how you feel and when the symptoms started or you noticed them getting worse.  We are taking chemotherapy for our RA and these drugs are strong and notorious for the side effects they carry. The trick is finding a drug or combination that will help and not cause side effects for you (or at least very little, although sometimes I personally would like the weight loss side effect I just always seem to get weight gain instead, go figure.) Remember medicine is suppose to help you feel better not worse, so if you are not feeling right or it is getting worse and you no longer want to deal with the side effects then talk with your physician and change the medication you are taking. Unfortunately for us it is trial and error, and more trial and error, but to succeed you must talk to your physician, over and over and over to get the satisfaction. Below is a list (not exhaustive) of side effects that are known to be caused by Enbrel listed on the FDA drug website. Unfortunately, the below does not discuss the loss of libido, however alot of medication comes with this side effect but is not widely discussed. In part because the number of people who complain about this to their healthcare professional is quite small in comparison to other side effects.  Hope that helps. BarbWink


Enbrel side effects


Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Enbrel: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Serious and sometimes fatal infections may occur during treatment with Enbrel. Stop using this medicine and call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as:

  • fever, sweating, chills, tired feeling;

  • feeling short of breath;

  • cough, sore throat; or

  • flu symptoms, weight loss.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these other serious side effects:

  • shortness of breath with swelling, rapid weight gain;

  • chest pain, ongoing cough, coughing up blood;

  • easy bruising or bleeding, pale skin, unusual weakness;

  • signs of skin infection such as itching, swelling, warmth, redness, or oozing;

  • black, bloody, or tarry stools;

  • changes in mood or personality (in children);

  • numbness, burning, pain, or tingly feeling;

  • joint pain or swelling with fever, swollen glands, muscle aches, chest pain, unusual thoughts or behavior, and/or seizure (convulsions); or

  • patchy skin color, red spots, or a butterfly-shaped skin rash over your cheeks and nose (worsens in sunlight).

Less serious Enbrel side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain;

  • runny or stuffy nose, cold symptoms; or

  • headache.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Irene Decker, Community Member
9/20/11 11:56am

I was diagnosised with RA and haved been on Enbrel for the last 10 years, (was put on it when it was still in trial stage)  I can tell you from experience that there will be a lot of different changes that you will go through...yes, some weight gain, some fatigue, mood swings, etc, but this happens with any new medication introduced into your system, as your body begins to accept the changes this will go away.   As I said I have been on Enbrel for 10 years, have tried many, many, different products since, but always come back to the Enbrel........have had a new physician remove it from my regular routine...worse 3 months of my life...  I would not stop taking this medication!!!!  I have repeatedly informed my physician that she could take anything else away, just not the Enbrel...Greatest medication made for Arthritis,  hope  this helps.

Cheryl, Community Member
3/31/14 5:34pm

So your saying the weight gain will go away? 

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By Blondie, Community Member— Last Modified: 03/31/14, First Published: 08/16/08