Many women who have been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer (EBC) receive a mixture (or cocktail) of drugs during chemotherapy sessions. As a result, it can be difficult for a patient to know whether she was given Taxotere®, how often she received the drug, and how much was administered.
You may have received Taxotere during chemotherapy if you experienced:
- IV infusions. Taxotere (docetaxel) is only given by intravenous infusion, usually lasting an hour or longer. Patients are also given corticosteroids a few days before Taxotere infusions to reduce the risk of swelling and water retention, another way to tell if you received docetaxel.
- Edema. One of the most common side effects of docetaxel is edema, or a swelling of the body due to retention of fluids. Patients who suffer edema may notice swelling or puffiness in the hands, feet, legs, or ankles or legs, and may be at risk of heart failure if swelling is not contained.
- Feeling drunk. The Taxotere solution includes alcohol in the form of ethanol, and the FDA has recently warned patients about the intoxicating effects of Taxotere that can cause patients to feel drunk after infusion.
- Permanent hair loss. Women often see a thinning or loss of hair in the weeks after treatment begins. However, patients taking Taxotere may experience hair loss that lasts for months or years after the completion of treatment.
If you are unsure whether you were given Taxotere, you can request copies of your medical records from your doctor’s office. The medication may be listed as Taxotere® or docetaxel, and the dosage of the medication should also be noted for each session.