NJ Justices Centralize Taxotere Hair-Loss Suits, Law360 (August 21, 2018)
Court Grants Mass Tort Status to Suits Over Breast Cancer Drug Taxotere, New Jersey Law Journal, (August 21, 2018)
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Cancer is nearly always a devastating diagnosis for patients and their loved ones, which is why many choose to fight the disease, with the help of drugs and chemotherapy. These treatments have numerous severe side effects, such as weight loss, severe allergic reaction, delirium, temporary hair loss, and fatigue, but patients willingly assume these burdens in order to beat their diseases. Besides, so they are told, once the cancer is in remission, they will feel better, experience weight gain and return to a healthy weight, and so on. For many patients, hair regrowth is the last obstacle to overcome, and many victims do not feel whole until they have their own hair back.
When things go wrong during cancer treatments, the tenacious attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC step in to help make things right. Many patients might permanently give up their hair if it meant the difference between winning and losing their battle with cancer, but the fact that the drug company hid this risk is inexcusable. So, we handle many Taxotere lawsuit cases to obtain compensation for victims and sound the alert loud enough for all to hear.
Taxotere and Serious Side Effects
Sanofi SA’s Taxotere (generic docetaxel) is an intravenous anti-cancer chemotherapy drug. Taxotere has been approved for use in patients with:
- Breast cancer;
- Non-small cell lung cancer;
- Advanced stomach cancer;
- Head and neck cancer; and
- Metastatic prostate cancer.
Alopecia Areata -- patchy hair loss -- is perhaps Taxotere’s most serious side effect. Researchers believe that Taxotere, like its predecessor drug Taxol, indiscriminately kills both cancer and non-cancer cells, specifically targeting thick and long terminal hairs as opposed to thin vellus (“peach fuzz”) hairs. And since Taxotere is twice as powerful as Taxol, the AA risk is twice as high.
In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration issued a safety warning amidst serious concern over growing numbers of permanent alopecia cases.
Alopecia takes many forms, so there are many Taxotere side effect victims in and around New York, and a number of them may not show symptoms for months or even longer after treatments end. Some people experience hair loss that’s akin to male pattern baldness, some have persistent patchy hair loss, and some see little or no regrowth. In other patients, the hair grows back, but it is not as thick, lacks luster, or is overly dry. Some AA victims experience symptoms just on their scalps, and in other victims, the entire body is affected.
Many patients who file a Taxotere lawsuit are women who have breast cancer. Once these women finish the course of their treatment, they expect their hair to grow back, and when it does not, they experience significant psychological and emotional harm. While they may have survived cancer, many find that their lives cannot return to normal without any hair.
Filing a Taxotere Lawsuit Against Sanofi
Sanofi Aventis is under investigation for failing to warn patients of the extent of the risk of permanent hair loss when taking Taxotere. For many years, while Sanofi touted Taxotere’s superior performance as compared with other chemotherapy drugs, it may have understated the rate at which hair loss was a side effect, in order to buoy sales. Patients had other options available to them when they choose an anticancer drug, and if they had been fully informed of the risk of side effects, such as permanent hair loss, patients may have chosen a drug with a lower risk of permanent hair loss.
So, failure to warn is one of the most common allegations in a Taxotere lawsuit. Drug makers have a duty to warn consumers about a substance’s potential risks, so patients can make informed choices. Arguably, Taxotere is defectively designed as well, since a safer alternative was available.
Unexpected permanent hair loss is a devastating injury that is legally compensable. For a free consultation with an experienced pharmaceutical litigation attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC today, because you have a limited amount of time to act.