What You Need To Know About Taxotere

What You Need To Know About Taxotere

October 30, 2018 | Pharmaceutical Litigation

In 2018, there were approximately 266,120 new cases reported of invasive types of breast cancer, along with another 63,960 cases reported of non-invasive types of breast cancer. For every eight women in the United States, at least one will develop some form of breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. These numbers are simply staggering. When you or loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer, our dedicated team of personal injury attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC understands first-hand just how devastating a breast cancer diagnosis can be for an individual and their loved ones. A breast cancer diagnosis is unimaginably frightening, having the power to completely turn a person’s world upside down.

Following a breast cancer diagnosis, a person’s thoughts immediately begin to swirl about the next steps that need to be taken in learning their treatment options. A doctor will determine the best, most aggressive treatment for an individual’s specific type of cancer, based on the stage in which it has progressed, while taking other aspects of your health history and more into consideration. For most patients diagnosed with breast cancer, chemotherapy, irradiation, and surgery are standard treatment options. Furthermore, most patients who have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer are completely unfamiliar with the treatments, medications, and procedures their doctor may prescribe them. Therefore, most patients place their trust in a system that seems to have the patient’s best interests in mind. Unfortunately, this is not always the case when it comes to pharmaceuticals designed to treat breast cancer.

What You Need To Know About Taxotere

What Is Taxotere?

Taxotere, also referred to its generic name, Docetaxel, was designed to aggressively treat various types of cancer, including breast cancer. This chemotherapy drug was approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and has been in use for several decades. Given intravenously (injected into a vein via chemotherapy infusion), Taxotere was designed with good intentions to slow the growth of cancer cells while preventing them from spreading to other areas of the body. Taxotere belongs to a family of chemotherapy drugs called plant alkaloids, which are classified as chemotherapy drugs called taxanes. According to breastcancer.org, taxanes are designed to “interfere with the ability of cancer cells to divide.” Generally, Taxotere treatments are combined with other treatments and chemotherapy medicines, and are often used after a surgical procedure to treat different types of breast cancer that are at different stages, which will be discussed further below. Dosage and frequency of this type of chemotherapy treatment is determined by an individual’s condition, diagnosis, health history, allergies, current health condition, and prognosis.

How Is Taxotere Used?

Taxotere is used to treat different types of breast cancer at different stages and is typically prescribed after a patient undergoes surgery.

  • Early-Stage Breast Cancer – Taxotere treatments may be started during the early stages of breast cancer if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes after surgery.
  • Advanced-Stage Breast Cancer – Taxotere treatments may be prescribed after the use of other standard chemotherapy medicines that have not successfully stopped the spread of the cancer cells. Taxotere may be used if cancer has spread to other areas of the breast, and may also be prescribed if cancer has spread to other regions of the body.
  • Advanced-Stage Breast Cancer – Taxotere may be incorporated to treat advanced-stage breast cancer that is not responding to other medications, such as Doxorubicin.

Other Uses For Taxotere

While Taxotere is commonly used to treat breast cancer, this chemotherapy is also used to treat the following types of cancer:

  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer (metastatic)
  • Advanced stomach cancer
  • Cancer in the head and neck

Taxotere is currently being studied as a treatment for the following types of cancer:

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Soft tissue sarcoma
  • Melanoma

Side Effects of Taxotere Chemotherapy Treatments

It is believed that, as with most other pharmaceuticals, Taxotere was created with the intention of helping those individuals diagnosed with breast cancer and other cancers fight the disease by stopping the spread of cancerous cells. Unfortunately, as with most pharmaceuticals, Taxotere comes with a long list of common, serious, and even rare side effects, causing patients physical, emotional, and psychological pain, which have been noted by the FDA.

Highly Common Side Effects (Standard among most chemotherapy medicines)

  • Low blood cell count
  • Low platelet counts in the blood
  • Reduced ability to fight off infections (from low white blood counts)
  • Susceptible to easy bruising (from low platelet counts)
  • Fatigue (from low red blood cell counts)

Common Side Effects

  • Pain at the site of injection
  • Swelling, redness, or warmth to the touch at the injection site
  • Nausea and vomiting; often severe
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Extreme/prolonged fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Reduced fingernail and toenail growth; altered growth
  • Redness, dryness, and/or peeling on the skin of hands and feet
  • Fluid retention
  • Impaired reactions during and/or immediately following infusion
  • Confusion
  • Vision problems
  • Water, red eyes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry skin
  • Altered taste
  • Mouth and/or throat sores
  • Bowel issues
  • Rash
  • Leg weakness
  • Muscle and joint weakness
  • Overall body weakness

Serious Side Effects

  • Temporary hair loss
  • Permanent alopecia
  • Disfigurement
  • The feeling of being intoxicated or drunk
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Black and/or bloody stool
  • Liver problems
  • Swelling of hands, arms, feet, legs
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the hands and feet as a result of nerve damage)
  • Muscle pain
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Persistent weakness
  • Constant, lingering fatigue
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Severe headaches

Rare Side Effects

  • Severe and even fatal allergic reactions
  • Chest pain
  • Blood clots
  • Death

Why Are People Filing Taxotere Lawsuits?

While the long list of side effects, which is common among most chemotherapy medicines, is distressing, to say the least, new reports of severe complications have come to light, as of late. Breast cancer survivors have reported permanent hair loss or severe alopecia as a result of undergoing Taxotere treatments. While temporary hair loss is one of the most common side effects of all chemotherapy treatments, permanent hair loss is not. Hair typically grows back between three and six months after treatments have been completed. Studies conducted by Oxford and other top medical universities confirm the link between permanent or severe alopecia and a Taxotere regimen to treat breast cancer.

While the drug manufacturers Sanofi, Sanofi-Aventis, and Actavis, may have disclosed some of the side effects caused by Taxotere, these recent complaints have led to legal cases being filed, alleging that these pharmaceutical manufacturers withheld dire information about certain side effects related to permanent hair loss. What’s more, not only did these manufacturers withhold information, it is believed their negligence extended to the manufacture, labeling, marketing, distribution, and sale of Taxotere. In particular, mass tort cases have been filed with the New Jersey Supreme Court Justices in July 2018, filed by the pharmaceutical lawyers at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, alleging that Sanofi and other Taxotere manufacturers knowingly withheld information, and did not adequately warn and prepare cancer patients about the high risk of permanent hair loss resulting from the use of Taxotere. These cases have been designated as multicounty pharmaceutical litigation to better coordinate efforts with the federal courts. Furthermore, the FDA issued a drug safety warning in June 2014 about another side effect from Taxotere, which causes patients to experience the sensation of alcohol intoxication or being drunk. These warnings and complaints indicate that Taxotere is a powerful yet dangerous chemotherapy drug that can cause lasting damage, permanent hair loss, and disfigurement.

How Our Pharmaceutical Lawyers Can Help

Pharmaceutical litigation is complex and requires the skill of a team of experienced, aggressive pharmaceutical attorneys to take on big pharma companies that have unlimited access to resources. At Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, our dedicated pharmaceutical attorneys in New York will fight diligently for you or your loved one who has suffered the physical, emotional, and psychological effects of permanent hair loss caused by Taxotere chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer patients. With a devoted pharmaceutical attorney, like Hunter Shkolnik or Marie Napoli on your side, who has the experience and determination it takes to fight big pharma companies, you can get the legal compensation you are owed for your pain and suffering from the negligent party.

If you are ready to partner with our unyielding pharmaceutical litigation team, reach out to Napoli Shkolnik PLLC today to arrange a no-obligation consultation to discuss your case. We are a Top Rated Local® personal injury law firm with our primary law offices located in New York, we are a nationally renowned firm with law offices located in cities across the country. Our well-versed and experienced attorneys are ready to fight for you, so contact us today.

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