Taxotere is a type of chemotherapy drug that is used to fight various forms of cancer. It is available only by prescription and only for the treatment of certain illnesses.
Taxotere Treats Different Forms of Cancer
Currently, Taxotere (docetaxel anhydrous) is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of:
- Breast cancer
- Non-small cell lung cancer
- Metastatic prostate cancer
- Advanced stomach cancer
- Head and neck cancer
Since Taxotere already has FDA approval, doctors may also prescribe the medication if they think it would be beneficial in the treatment of other conditions such as small cell lung cancer, bladder cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, and melanoma.
These types of cancers are not unique to one age group or gender. Therefore, Taxotere may be considered for both men and women.
Taxotere is commonly prescribed with other cancer-fighting medications. It is administered by infusion every few weeks. The dosage and frequency of infusion depend on numerous factors including the type of cancer, the stage of cancer, and the height and weight of the patient.
Taxotere—like other forms of chemotherapy—has significant risks. These risks include stomach upset, mouth sores, temporary hair loss, fatigue, peripheral neuropathy, and an increased risk of infection. Most of these side effects will go away once chemotherapy treatment ends.
However, one major side effect may be permanent. After Taxotere treatment, some women experience permanent alopecia or hair loss. The consequences of permanent hair loss for women can be significant. This type of injury is about much more than physical appearance. A woman who suffers permanent hair loss may always be reminded of her cancer, and she may suffer from low self-esteem. This may impact her ability to get a job, her confidence, her personal relationships, and her quality of life.
Women Have Suffered Permanent Injuries From Taxotere
Sanofi-Aventis, the pharmaceutical company that makes Taxotere, did not warn women about the risk of permanent alopecia until December 2015. The warning came 19 years after the FDA first approved the drug for use in the United States.
During the 19 years between FDA approval and the drug company’s warning, thousands of women used Taxotere not knowing about the risk they faced. During this time, other chemotherapy drugs were available. These other FDA approved chemotherapy drugs were allegedly as effective as Taxotere in the treatment of cancer, but they did not carry the risk of permanent alopecia.
Women were denied the right to make an informed decision about their cancer treatment because of Sanofi-Aventis’s delay in providing an adequate warning about this known risk. Lawsuits filed by women who suffered permanent alopecia from Taxotere indicate that the drug company knew of the risk by 2005. By 2005, the results of a study that began in the late 1990s showed that 9.2% of women who used Taxotere suffered permanent hair loss. Yet, it would take another decade for Sanofi-Aventis to add a warning about permanent alopecia to its drug label.
How to Get Help If You’re Hurt by Taxotere
Women who have suffered permanent hair loss from Taxotere are taking action to protect their legal rights.
Thousands of women have filed Taxotere cases that are currently part of multidistrict litigation (MDL). MDL means that you may hire your own attorney and retain control over your own settlement, but that you may also share in the efficiencies of having the cases heard in the same court. The first Taxotere trials are scheduled for 2019 and 2020.
Don’t wait any longer to find out about your rights. Our Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire mass tort attorneys are here to help you. If you are a woman who took Taxotere or its generic equivalent to treat breast cancer prior to December 2015 and if you have suffered permanent alopecia, then we encourage you to contact our mass tort lawyers today for a free and confidential consultation about your rights and potential recovery.