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Cellulitis and Enbrel #282587
02/07/19 07:16 PM
02/07/19 07:16 PM
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NSW, Australia
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ozz Offline OP
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This week, on Monday, I've developed a hot red rash on my forehead and scalp that seems to be continuing to grow despite starting antibiotics (Keflex) on Tuesday changing to a penicillin on Thursday.
Heading back to the gp today, she said previously I might need IV antibiotics in hospital

I am on Enbrel injections for my AS. I won't be taking my weekly shot on the weekend due to the current infection.

I'm wondering if the cellulitis is a side effect of the Enbrel. Is it a red flag as to whether I should continue taking the biologic.

I'm interested whether anyone else has experienced similar issues.


Ankylosing Spondylitis, HLA B27-, Total Thyroidectomy, High Blood Pressure, Hiatus Hernia, Dry Eyes & Mouth, Stomach Issues, Enbrel, Thyroxine, Atacand, Pariet, Zantec, Panadol Osteo, Krill Oil, Vit D.
Re: Cellulitis and Enbrel [Re: ozz] #282625
02/12/19 01:33 PM
02/12/19 01:33 PM
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You can get infections easier but that doesn't mean you just stop the medicaiton completely. Stop it until it clears up and most people restart after infection clears up. I only even had skin infections and it was because I had been on pred. It made my skin thin and I bit of dried leaf dug into my finger.

Best of luck


Actema IV once a month (with pre loading for allergic reaction), Cymbalta x1 daily, Arava 20mg daily. Diagnosed with AS in 2004, suffered undiagnosed since 1982.
Re: Cellulitis and Enbrel [Re: ozz] #282629
02/12/19 04:03 PM
02/12/19 04:03 PM
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I thought I had responded to your post last week. I have not had cellulitis, but had an issue with an abscessed tooth last year. The dentist did not allow adequate time for the abscess to heal before performing a root canal (I think I'm probably the only patient she has who is on biologic medication), and the infection went nuts. We eventually got it under control with draining and lots of antibiotics.

Your cellulitis sounds much more serious than my abscessed tooth, but the point I'm making is that Humira and MTX did not cause the abscess. They did contribute to the severity of the infection and the time it took to heal. Once I was fully healed I started back on Humira and MTX and have had no further trouble.

Whether the Enbrel caused your cellulitis or just contributed to the severity is something your doctors will have to determine.

How are you doing now?


Ginny - 58 year old female
Dx with USpA in March 2013; changed to AS in July 2015
Iritis and Scleritis, both currently in remission
unicompartmental knee replacements: right-June 2014, left-Aug 2018
MTX, Humira, Cyclobenzaprine, plus Celebrex as needed
Supplements: Folic Acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Calcium, Fish Oil, Culturelle probiotic, Melatonin (as needed)
Re: Cellulitis and Enbrel [Re: ozz] #282631
02/12/19 05:03 PM
02/12/19 05:03 PM
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I just found this study again (I had read it before, at some point in the past): https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/some-biologic-drugs-increase-risk-for-serious-infection . It says that cellulitis and pneumonia are the two most common serious infections associated with TNF-a drug use but notes that Enbrel, in contrast to some other TNF-a drugs, is not associated with an increased risk of developing those infections. Of course, as SouthernMoss notes, that is not the same thing as saying your compromised-immune-system status hasn't contributed to the length and/or severity of your infection.

Re: Cellulitis and Enbrel [Re: ozz] #282643
02/15/19 01:15 PM
02/15/19 01:15 PM
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Thanks everyone for your replies.

The result of a swab test changed my diagnosis to Shingles. I was pretty lucky that the rash wasn't too bad. The worst part of course is the nerve pain.

Wearing reading glasses while having nerve pain on your nose is not fun.

They're keeping a close watch on my eye but hopefully all will be well soon.

2nd week without taking the Embrel, so the rest if my body is aching too


Ankylosing Spondylitis, HLA B27-, Total Thyroidectomy, High Blood Pressure, Hiatus Hernia, Dry Eyes & Mouth, Stomach Issues, Enbrel, Thyroxine, Atacand, Pariet, Zantec, Panadol Osteo, Krill Oil, Vit D.
Re: Cellulitis and Enbrel [Re: ozz] #282644
02/15/19 03:31 PM
02/15/19 03:31 PM
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You know, when I read your first post I thought shingles and didn't say anything. The shingles rash often pops up at the hairline. Anyway, that's rotten luck (and very painful). Do make sure they keep an eye on your eye. Loss of vision is a very real thing with shingles. Hopefully they gave you some antivirals and you'll be back on your Enbrel and feeling better soon.

Re: Cellulitis and Enbrel [Re: ozz] #282645
02/15/19 04:13 PM
02/15/19 04:13 PM
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I'm so sorry it turned out to be shingles. I hope you heal soon. Keep us posted.


Ginny - 58 year old female
Dx with USpA in March 2013; changed to AS in July 2015
Iritis and Scleritis, both currently in remission
unicompartmental knee replacements: right-June 2014, left-Aug 2018
MTX, Humira, Cyclobenzaprine, plus Celebrex as needed
Supplements: Folic Acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Calcium, Fish Oil, Culturelle probiotic, Melatonin (as needed)
Re: Cellulitis and Enbrel [Re: ozz] #282648
02/16/19 09:20 AM
02/16/19 09:20 AM
Joined: Jun 2013
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NSW, Australia
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Thanks again for your replies.
Although it's later than optimal, I'm on the antivirals at present.

My eye's not too bad but just to be sure, I have an appointment with the opthamologist on Monday.

My Rheumy is back from leave on Wednesday, I've left a message with his staff to ask when I can recommence Enbrel.

Just waiting for the pain to subside 😕


Ankylosing Spondylitis, HLA B27-, Total Thyroidectomy, High Blood Pressure, Hiatus Hernia, Dry Eyes & Mouth, Stomach Issues, Enbrel, Thyroxine, Atacand, Pariet, Zantec, Panadol Osteo, Krill Oil, Vit D.
Re: Cellulitis and Enbrel [Re: ozz] #282667
02/19/19 09:15 PM
02/19/19 09:15 PM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 124
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When on Enbrel I also got Shingles. It's a known risk factor when on Enbrel. You of course can get shingles anytime your immune system is low and you've had chickenpox in the past, usually as a kid. Enbrel just helps it reactivate.


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