What Breast Cancer Patients Should Know About Chemo Drug Taxotere

chemo drug Taxotere

Breast cancer can lead to several major life changes — and it all comes at you pretty fast. Your doctor will provide a treatment schedule as well as a list of drugs you’ll take. Because it often feels overwhelming, sorting through and researching every drug on that list can be difficult. And if you trust your oncologist, you might not even bother. But it’s important to advocate for yourself — especially since some medications (like chemo drug Taxotere) can cause life-long side effects.

“Failure to Warn” Litigation Involving Chemo Drug Taxotere

Lawsuits against chemo drug Taxotere’s manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, are rapidly filling court dockets across the nation. Most plaintiffs filing claims say well-meaning doctors included Taxotere (generic: docetaxel) in their treatment regimens. These women sued upon learning that Sanofi specifically failed to warn U.S. healthcare providers and patients about all possible risks. Well, just one risk in particular — persistent and even permanent hair loss, otherwise known as alopecia.

How Many Patients Given Chemo Drug Taxotere Go Permanently Bald?

Chemo drug Taxotere is likely the most common treatment for breast cancer. In fact, doctors prescribe it to about 3 in 4 breast cancer patients today. And while it’s very effective, Taxotere’s the only chemo drug known to cause permanent alopecia.

Long-term or permanent hair loss from chemo drug Taxotere isn’t rare, either. Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Cancer Center published a 2006 study showing it affects up to 6.3% of Taxotere patients. Researchers concluded, “Such an emotionally devastating long-term toxicity from this combination must be taken into account when deciding on adjuvant chemotherapy programs in women who likely will be cured of their breast cancer.”

The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in the UK conducted a study about Taxotere-induced hair loss. In October 2013, the Centre sent a questionnaire to 189 breast cancer survivors; 134 responded. Among those, 15.8% reported scalp hair loss lasting years after finishing treatment with chemo drug Taxotere.

Permanent alopecia affects survivors’ physical, emotional, and mental health. Survivors may feel like their cancer never went away, because it’s always visible in the mirror. And while many ask, “Isn’t it better to be alive than keep all your hair?” The truth is this: With correct information, patients don’t have to choose one over the other.

Taxol as an Alternative to Taxotere: Cheap, Effective, No Link to Permanent Hair Loss

Taxol is Taxotere’s closest competitor, and studies prove it’s both cheaper and more effective. What’s more, Taxol does not cause permanent hair loss. A 2008 study of women with high-risk breast cancer compared the two drugs. Researchers found patients taking Taxol once per week saw the most benefits. In fact, women given Taxol weekly had higher 5-year survival rates than those given chemo drug Taxotere.

Taxotere’s manufacturer, Sanofi, downplayed any permanent hair loss risks to U.S. consumers. While alopecia is listed on Taxotere’s warning label, it states that “in most cases normal hair growth should return. In some cases, (frequency not known) permanent hair loss has been observed.” Yet Sanofi repeatedly discounted studies clearly linking Taxotere to persistent alopecia in breast cancer survivors.

How Women With Taxotere Permanent Hair Loss May Qualify for Financial Compensation

If you or a loved one suffered thinning hair, patchy regrowth or missing eyebrows and eyelashes after finishing Taxotere chemo, you may qualify for a cash settlement. To check your eligibility for compensation, fill out your free Taxotere claim review today. This evaluation is fast, free and easy to do online, and you’ll see your results in less than two minutes. Once you submit your information, an experienced lawyer will call to discuss your case. It’s the first step towards getting the justice and compensation you deserve from the drug’s manufacturer.

Related: Taxotere MDL Update: Judge Sets Bellwether Trial Dates, Potential Cases

Mandy Voisin

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.