Taxotere (docetaxel) is a cytotoxic chemotherapy drug. Manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis won Taxotere’s Food and Drug Administration approval over two decades ago, in 1996. Today, Taxotere chemotherapy is frequently prescribed for its significantly higher survival rates than doxorubicin. It’s also among the most popular breast cancer treatments. However, docetaxel also treats other, lesser-known cancers — including some which the FDA considers to be off-label use.
Which Cancers Does Taxotere Chemotherapy Treat?
Currently, Taxotere chemotherapy treats:
- Breast cancer
- Non-small cell lung cancer
- Advanced stomach cancer
- Head and neck cancer
- Metastatic prostate cancer
Additionally, Taxotere is in the testing phase for treating:
- Small cell lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Pancreatic cancers
- Soft tissue sarcoma
Oncologists administer Taxotere intravenously. In some cases, it’s combined with other chemo drugs in a “cocktail” formulation. In addition to cancer type, your doctor considers height, weight, general health as well as other co-morbid conditions to determine your dosage.
Is Taxotere Chemotherapy an Effective Cancer Treatment?
While testing’s still underway on several different cancers (see above), Taxotere chemotherapy is usually quite effective. Categorized under the taxane drug family, Taxotere works by slowing cell growth. But since taxanes don’t discriminate between cancerous and normal cells, Taxotere destroys both while battling your cancer. As a result, healthy cells are often destroyed, including blood cells, stomach and bowel cells and hair follicles.
Side Effects of Taxotere Chemotherapy
Doctors warn patients about potential Taxotere side effects — some of which can be serious. Common adverse reactions include feeling weak or exhausted, nausea, constipation, vomiting, muscle pain, missed menstrual periods and temporary hair loss. More extreme Taxotere side effects may include:
- severe vomiting or diarrhea
- fever and chills
- rapid heart rate
- easy bruising
- unusual bleeding
- swollen ankles or feet
- frequent urination
- skin redness or peeling
- weight gain
Once chemotherapy ends, most side effects subside. Fluid retention, peripheral neuropathy, nausea, diarrhea as well as other short-term symptoms gradually diminish. However, for some cancer patients, Taxotere hair loss is permanent.
Permanent alopecia (i.e., hair loss) affects all body hair, including eyebrows, eyelashes and the pubic region. In fact, Taxotere is the only taxane drug that causes irreversible alopecia. As a result, lawsuits filed by men and women who insist they weren’t about permanent hair loss risks are underway. These plaintiffs say they weren’t given a choice between Taxotere and other taxane drugs that don’t cause alopecia, such as Taxol.
What You Can Do About Permanent Hair Loss
If either you or a loved one went permanently bald after using Taxotere chemotherapy for any form of cancer, you may be eligible for compensation. Plaintiffs accuse Sanofi of negligence for failing to warn patients about this irreversible as well as permanently disfiguring side effect. To get started, fill out your free Taxotere case review today.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.