This study will test the effectiveness of etanercept (Enbrel) for treating Sjogren's
syndrome-an autoimmune disease that affects the secreting glands. (In autoimmune diseases,
the immune system attacks the body's own tissues.) Reduced lacrimal (tear) gland function
causes dry eyes with a scratchy sensation, and, in severe cases, vision be may impaired.
Reduced salivary gland function causes dry mouth, resulting in greatly increased tooth
decay. Dry mouth also makes chewing and swallowing difficult, which may lead to nutrition
deficiencies. Sjogren's syndrome can also cause dryness of the skin and of mucous membranes
in the nose, throat, airways, and vagina.
Patients with Sjogren's syndrome who have had oral and eye examinations under NIDCR's
protocol 84-D-0056 may participate in this study. Participants will be randomly assigned to
receive either etanercept or placebo (an inactive look-alike substance) by injection under
the skin twice a week for 3 months.
Patients will be seen for evaluation before treatment begins (baseline) and again at 1, 3,
and 4 months. The baseline and 3-month visits include a physical examination, eye
examination, saliva collection from salivary glands, blood tests, and evaluation for changes
in symptoms and treatment side effects. The 1- and 4-month visits include saliva
collection, blood tests, and review of symptoms and treatment side effects. In addition,
blood will be drawn every 2 weeks for safety monitoring. Patients will also be surveyed
weekly (by telephone or during the clinic visit) about symptoms and treatment side effects.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved Enbrel for treating certain forms of
arthritis, which, like Sjogren's syndrome, are autoimmune disorders of the connective
tissue. Laboratory studies also indicate that etanercept may be an effective treatment for
Sjogren's syndrome (SS) is an autoimmune disease chiefly affecting the exocrine glands.
Manifestations of SS include salivary and lacrimal gland dysfunction. There is no generally
accepted treatment for the underlying autoimmune reactivity or the exocrine gland
dysfunction in SS. We propose to test the effects of etanercept therapy. In a randomized,
double-masked, outpatient protocol, patients will receive etanercept for 2 times/week for 3
months. Therapy will be given by subcutaneous injection. Efficacy of treatment will be
assessed by monitoring salivary and lacrimal function, serological markers of autoimmune
activity, and subjective reports of local and systemic symptoms. The present trial will
serve as a screening protocol to identify if etanercept should be further analyzed in a
larger clinical trial for efficacy.
Documented primary or secondary SS.
Absence of confounding health problems.
No contraindications to etanercept therapy.
SS patients cannot have sarcoidosis, HIV infection, or lymphoma.
Patients must have one of the following abnormal autoimmune serologies associated with SS
(i.e. positive ANA, RF, and anti-SS-A, or anti-SS-B).
Patients may use pilocarpine provided that they hold their dose on visit days when saliva
Patients taking DMARD's, such as hydroxychloroquine, must be on a stable dose.
Participants may take NSAIDs or acetaminophen.
Patients must not have physical or mental conditions that may make them unable to comply.
Subjects may continue their other long-term medications with the exception of tricyclic
antidepressants and anti-cholinergics, which may affect salivary gland function.
Patients cannot take experimental drugs during the duration of the protocol.
Children will be excluded due to additional risks that may occur with etanercept.