You may already be aware that patients have suffered permanent hair loss after taking Taxotere®. As women who have undergone Taxotere treatment are increasingly coming forward, it's a good idea to be aware of the full risks and benefits of taking this chemotherapy medication. In this article, we explore the recommended uses of Taxotere and the warnings issued by its creator, Sanofi-Aventis.
How Should Taxotere Be Used?
Taxotere (docetaxel) is a cancer medication known as a microtubule inhibitor. The drug weakens the microtubule structures in cancer cells, preventing the cells from dividing and multiplying. As the structure inside the cell is destroyed, these cancer cells die before they are allowed to replicate.
Taxotere is indicated for use in patients with:
- Breast cancer. Patients are commonly treated with Taxotere for early-stage breast cancer, locally advanced breast cancer, or metastatic breast cancer that has not been responsive to chemotherapy.
- Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Taxotere can be used in combination with cisplatin in patients with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic untreated NSCLC, or used alone cases where platinum therapy for NSCLC has failed.
- Squamous cell carcinoma. Locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck is often treated with a combination of cisplatin, fluorouracil, and Taxotere.
- Prostate cancer. Patients with hormone refractory prostate cancer are often given Taxotere in combination with prednisone.
- Stomach cancer. Patients with certain stomach cancers, such as gastric adenocarcinoma and gastroesophageal carcinoma, are often given Taxotere along with cisplatin and fluorouracil.
Taxotere should be administered intravenously over the course of an hour once every three weeks. Taxotere must be drawn from the vial using a 21-gauge needle, and should only be administered in a hospital or medical facility that has the equipment and staff to manage any complications that can arise after its use.
Sanofi-Aventis Warnings for Patients Taking Taxotere
As with most chemotherapy medications, Taxotere carries a risk of severe side effects. Sanofi-Aventis reports that the most common adverse reactions in Taxotere patients include nausea, infections, fever, anemia, constipation, anorexia, diarrhea, edema, vomiting, neuropathy, skin and nail disorders, loss of ability to taste, heat and light sensitivity, and difficulty breathing. In some cases, patients are placed at significant risk of death due to treatment with Taxotere®.
Patients should not be treated with Taxotere if they have:
- Abnormal liver function. Patients with liver problems are at risk of treatment-related mortality when taking Taxotere. A patient’s bilirubin count and a liver functions test should be performed prior to treatment with each dose of Taxotere.
- Neutropenia. Since patients with compromised immune systems can suffer fatal effects if Taxotere is administered, Taxotere should not be given if neutrophil counts are <1500 cells / mm3.
- Drug allergies or sensitivities. Patients may suffer severe or fatal allergic reactions to Taxotere, especially if they have received premedication with dexamethasone or have a history of sensitivity to medications containing polysorbate 80.
- History of edema. Taxotere can contribute to severe fluid retention, placing patients with a history of edema or congestive heart failure at risk.
- Neurological damage. Patients taking Taxotere may experience heightened reactions such as tingling, numbness, or pain in the extremities.
- Eye disorders. Patients are at an increased risk of cystoid macular edema when taking Taxotere. If the condition appears, Taxotere treatment should be discontinued.
- Skin reactions. Taxotere patients may experience swelling, redness, or flaking skin. If so, a dosage adjustment may be required.
- Alcohol sensitivities. Taxotere injections contain a high alcohol content, which can place patients at risk who cannot tolerate alcohol or its effects on the central nervous system.
- Become pregnant. Taxotere® can injure an unborn baby. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant during treatment should not receive Taxotere.
Let Us Help
If you're not sure if your chemotherapy involved Taxotere, the McGartland Law Firm can investigate the circumstances of your case. Our injury firm has recovered millions of dollars in damages for victims, and we don't collect any legal fees unless we are able to secure a settlement for you. Fill out our online contact form today to speak to an attorney about your legal options.