Most people who finish chemotherapy expect their hair to grow back naturally. Within two months after completing chemo, visible hair should start to grow in. Within 12 months, you should see 4-6 inches of hair on your scalp. But if your chemo regimen included Taxotere or generic docetaxel, your hair may never grow back. This popular cancer drug is linked to permanent and irreversible alopecia (hair loss). Patients may see persistent alopecia on their scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, and other body parts. Taxotere baldness is psychologically damaging for many, triggering low self-esteem and depression.
Luckily, alternative treatments for Taxotere baldness do exist. And while we cannot guarantee these treatments work, these suggestions came from cancer survivors who saw improvements after trying them.
Taxotere Baldness Alternative Treatment #1: Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections
If you have partial Taxotere baldness (or hair regrowth stops at 2-4 inches), you’re a good candidate for PRP injections. This treatment utilizes the plasma that’s already in our bloodstream, which is rich in growth factors. Growth factors signal skin cells to function, and have many different uses — like stimulating hair follicle activity.
It starts with drawing blood from your arm into a tube. Then, a nurse places that tube inside a centrifuge (a machine that spins blood). Spinning this tube inside the centrifuge will eventually separate your red blood cells away from the plasma. Then, a doctor or nurse injects plasma directly into your scalp where hair follicles reside, about every half-inch or so. The entire procedure takes less than half an hour.
In order for this treatment to work, you need consistent PRP injections every 30 days for 3-4 months. After that, you’ll need PRP injections once every 3-6 months. Taxotere baldness patients should start seeing better results within 2-3 months after starting PRP injection treatments. However, you should know that cancer survivors report better results with PRP injections used in the early hair-loss stage. If your Taxotere treatment ended months or years ago, you may be too far past this early hair-loss stage already.
PRP treatments are often expensive, typically costing $750-$1000 per subcutaneous injection. When you consider how often you need to come in for more injections, the overall cost can really add up. Still, it may be a viable option for anyone who finds living with Taxotere baldness emotionally debilitating.
Taxotere Baldness Alternative Treatment #2: Topical Rogaine (Minoxidil)
This popular hair regrowth treatment now comes in a formula made just for women. But you should also know that Rogaine’s not equally effective for everyone who experiences Taxotere baldness. Here are some Taxotere baldness candidates who may respond to topical Rogaine:
- Only hair on the top of your scalp failed to grow back
- Your eyebrows never grew back
- Hair loss mainly involves small patches that never grew back
Still, results can be hit or miss, and hair regrowth results usually aren’t visible for six months or longer. And even if Minoxidil does work, your hair will fall back out again as soon as you stop using it. You must also commit to this treatment daily, or all the hair that grew back will just fall out again.
Hair regrowth with Minoxidil isn’t visible until you’ve applied it daily for at least 5-6 months, so be patient! Users with more than 50% total Taxotere baldness may never see results, though. One plus about trying topical Minoxidil for Taxotere baldness is that it only costs about $50 for a four-month supply. With an alternative treatment option at such a low price point, why not try it and see if it works for you?
Taxotere Baldness Alternative Treatment #3: Thyroid Testing and Medication
People with hypothyroidism often feel cold and have thinning hair long before they’re diagnosed. If you’re hypothyroid with Taxotere baldness, hormone therapy options may help with hair regrowth. Get an endocrinologist to test your TSH, T3 and T4 levels. (Don’t worry, your primary care provider can perform this simple blood test, too.) If your thyroid numbers are off, it can help explain hair loss that’s unrelated to Taxotere.
Severe or prolonged hypothyroidism can cause hair loss on your entire scalp, not just small, patchy areas. Often, you may not realize how extensive your hair loss is for several months.
If you your Taxotere baldness happened around the same time you experienced menopause, this could explain why. Hypothyroidism becomes more common near or after most women go through menopause. And hyperthyroidism (i.e., your pituitary gland releases too much thyroid hormone) can also make your hair fall out. Either way, a blood test can help confirm if thyroid issues are really to blame. And since generic Synthroid costs about $7 a month, it’s very affordable.
Taxotere Baldness Alternative Treatment #4: Prescription Aldactone (Spironolactone) or Propecia (Finasteride)
It’s possible that several different factors caused your alopecia — and your Taxotere chemo treatment just made it worse. High testosterone levels are known to cause hair loss in women that resembles male-pattern baldness (AGA). Spironolactone/Aldactone or Propecia/Finasteride may help restore some scalp hair loss from AGA. Studies show up to 30% of women stop losing more hair once they begin treatments. Many others do see hair regrowth with these drugs. However, there are no studies about using these medications to reverse Taxotere baldness. Both drugs may help, though results cam be sporadic and inconsistent.
Women diagnosed with PCOS or women who suffer from hormone imbalance issues are good candidates for this alternative treatment option. If your doctor or dermatologist prescribed you these drugs prior to your cancer diagnosis, ask about starting your treatment again. These drugs require a prescription — but they’re also low-cost. Fortunately, generic Spironolactone costs less than $10 per month. These drugs offer a great, cheap option for certain women with hormonal hair loss issues. If Taxotere baldness is your very first hair loss experience, these drugs may not help you. Still, it’s worth exploring this option with your doctor.
How Taxotere Baldness Victims Can Get Justice and Compensation
Losing your hair can be psychologically devastating, especially when you expect it to grow back after chemo ends. Taxotere’s manufacturer, Sanofi, failed to warn U.S. consumers about permanent alopecia risks, despite informing breast cancer patients in other countries. Multiple studies show Taxotere is the only chemo drug that causes significant permanent hair loss.
If you or someone you love experienced Taxotere baldness for six months after completing chemo, you may qualify for compensation. To check your eligibility for a cash settlement from the manufacturer, complete your free Taxotere claim review online today. Once you’ve submitted your information, an advocate will call to discuss how to get the compensation and justice you deserve.
Related: Hair Regrowth After Chemo: What to Expect, and When
Mandy Voisin is a freelance writer, blogger, and author of Girls of the Ocean and Star of Deliverance. As an accomplished content marketing consultant, mom of four and doctor's wife, Mandy has written hundreds of articles about dangerous drugs and medical devices, medical issues that impact disabled Americans, veterans' healthcare and workers' compensation issues since 2016.