I started tx for RA with enbrel alone for several months and then added mtx. Also, I went off mtx and took enbrel alone while being treated for a lung infection. With enbrel alone, I only had to see my doctor about every 3-4 months and I usually had bloodwork done at that time. Since I've added the mtx, I see my doctor every 2 months and have routine labs done. I wish I could just have bloodwork done--that would save me some time--but so far, I've had to physically see him as well. Fortunately, he's usually pretty prompt, so I'm in and out fairly quickly.
My father has RA, and was recently taken off of mtx because he was living in Brazil at the time and could not get regular bloodwork done. Once he comes back to the states, he can begin mtx again, but his doctor refused to prescribe it without proper monitoring.
While it's important to be monitored with enbrel alone, I think the mtx is the one that requires the really close monitoring. I think every 6 months with enbrel, though, is not enough; better every 3-4 months (only 4 times a year).
Current dx: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Suspected dx: UCTD/Early Lupus
Current Meds: Enbrel, Plaquenil, Methotrexate, nexium, tramadol, nasonex,Tylenol PM
Past Meds: Relafen, Vioxx, Mobic, Voltaren, Sulfasalazine, Entocort, Prednisone, Humira, Reglan, zyrtec, zegerid, aciphex