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Enbrel Seems to Be Effective for Severe Sciatica

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The anti-rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel may relieve symptoms of acute, severe sciatica — pain that radiates down the leg from a pinched or inflamed nerve in the spine.

The anti-rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel may relieve symptoms of acute, severe sciatica — pain that radiates down the leg from a pinched or inflamed nerve in the spine.That word comes from Dr. Stephane Genevay and colleagues at the University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland, who conducted a pilot study of the effectiveness of three subcutaneous injections of Enbrel, given 3 days apart, in ten patients admitted to hospital with severe sciatica.Ten days after treatment and continuing for 6 weeks, all the patients showed significant improvements on a visual analog scale for leg pain and on two measures of disability, the authors report in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.A comparison group of ten other sciatica patients who participated in an earlier study of steroid injections showed similar, but less marked, improvements after 10 days. However, by 6 weeks these patients fared significantly worse than Enbrel patients, the researchers found.Overall, they note, 90 percent of the Enbrel group met their definition of a good clinical result versus only 30 percent of the steroid group.”This may be a promising approach for patients suffering from sciatica,” Genevay told Reuters Health, “but results are still preliminary and physicians should not start to treat patients with this kind of treatment unless it is done in a carefully planned research.”Genevay commented that a multicenter clinical trial with a similar drug, Humira, “should begin within a couple of months in Switzerland.”(Source: Reuters, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, September 2004.)

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Posted On: 10 September, 2004
Modified On: 5 December, 2013

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