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More than 70,000 rheumatoid arthritis patients in the US are using the rheumatoid arthritis drug ENBREL ®. Information claims that Enbrel may intensify central nervous system disorders and trigger fatal blood reactions and infections.

Enbrel ® is the brand name of etanercept, an anti-inflammatory prescription drug used to treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and is manufactured and promoted by Immunex Corp.

The manufacturer of this drug, Immunex Corp., has released a advisory statement about the use of Enbrel ® to healthcare professionals as the outcome from the reports of at least 11 cases of nervous system disorders and 10 cases of blood-cell shortages, which greatly intensifies the risk of serious infections.

In the announcement to healthcare professionals Immunex cautions, "Rare cases of central nervous system disorders such as multiple sclerosis, myelitis and optic neuritis have been reported in patients with rheumatoid arthritis who have received Enbrel therapy." The letter also states rare reports of severe blood reactions, including pancytopenia and aplastic anemia.

Enbrel has just recently been marketed in the US, though it has been obtainable in Europe since early 2000. The European Medicines Evaluation Agency has also distributed a warning to physicians to use extreme care when prescribing the drug and to have patients obtain immediate medical care if they develop symptoms of blood disorders or infections.