Taxotere (docetaxel) is a chemotherapy drug, used to treat cancer. It’s one of the most widely used chemotherapy drugs for breast cancer, and it’s also used for different types of cancer.  Like other chemotherapy drugs, Taxotere may lead to serious side effects, such as nausea, muscle or joint fatigue, and compromised immune system.  The negative effects are usually, but not necessarily, temporary.

What is Taxotere?

Taxotere is an anti-cancer chemotherapy medication, also known as an antineoplastic or cytotoxic chemotherapy medication.  It’s in a class of medication, called taxanes, which interfere with the ability of cancer cells to divide. Taxanes are plant alkaloids produced from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree (taxus).

Taxotere Uses

Taxotere has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat:

  • Breast cancer
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Advanced stomach cancer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Metastatic prostate cancer

It is being investigated to treat:

  • Small cell lung cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Soft tissue sarcoma
  • Melanoma

Taxotere is often given in combination with other chemotherapy drugs.

Taxotere Side Effects

According to Chemocare, the most common side effects of Taxotere, affecting more than 30% of patients, include:

  • Low white blood cell count, which increases risk of infection
  • Anemia – low red blood cell count
  • Fluid retention with weight gain, swelling of the ankles or abdominal area.
  • Peripheral neuropathy (numbness in your fingers and toes) may occur with repeated doses. This should be reported to your healthcare provider.
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Mouth sores
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Infection
  • Nail changes (color changes to your fingernails or toenails may occur while taking Taxotere. In extreme, but rare, cases nails may fall off. After you have finished Taxotere treatments, your nails will generally grow back.)

Also according to Chemocare, about 10% to 29% of people using Taxotere experience:

  • Vomiting
  • Muscle pain
  • Bone pain
  • Joint pain
  • Low platelet count, which increases risk of bleeding
  • Elevated levels on liver tests

Taxotere can also cause:

  • Constipation
  • Taste changes
  • Watery eyes
  • Allergic reactions
  • Irregular periods in women, sometimes including permanent cessation of periods

Dangerous Adverse Events

The most dangerous potential side effects of Taxotere include:

  • Toxic deaths
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Neutropenia
  • Hypersensitivity reactions
  • Fluid retention

These reactions are rare and are most likely in certain patients including those with abnormal liver function.

Taxotere and Permanent Hair Loss

Temporary hair loss is a common complication of chemotherapy. However, studies have found a six to 10% likelihood of permanent baldness with

Taxotere.  Permanent hair loss, particularly when unexplained and unexpected, may have a devastating psychological impact on cancer survivors.

If you have questions about Taxotere that are not answered here or believe your permanent hair loss was caused by Taxotere, please email us or call us toll-free at 1-800-HURT-NOW.  We will help you find answers to your questions and we can refer you to an attorney who represents Taxotere victims.