One of the most widely prescribed chemotherapy drugs used to treat breast cancer, Taxotere has been a life-saver and life-extender for hundreds of thousands of people. Yet Taxotere (docetaxel) is only one of the drugs in its class available for chemotherapy and cancer patients when deciding upon a treatment plan.
Weighing the potential benefits and risks of a drug is an important and extremely personal decision that requires pharmaceutical companies to be honest and forthcoming about all its potential side effects. When Taxotere’s makers failed to properly warn prospective patients about one of the drug’s most severe and often permanent side effects – hair loss (alopecia) – it prevented these people from obtaining all the information they needed to make such an informed decision.
At HSH, we believe these actions are both unlawful and unconscionable, and our product liability lawyers can help Taxtore victims who suffer from alopecia in their fight to get fair compensation for this company’s negligence and the pain and suffering they have experienced as a result.
Many people around the world are prescribed Taxotere to combat a variety of types of cancers, including thousands of Canadians every year. Belonging to a drug class known as cytotoxic agents, Health Canada approved Taxotere to treat patients with breast cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer and cancer of the head and the neck.
The drug prevents malignant cancer cells from reproducing or growing by making a cell’s supporting structure, or “skeleton,” unnaturally stiff and clinical studies have this drug is more effective than other types of chemotherapy medications.
Like all chemotherapy drugs, taking Taxotere as a part of cancer treatment does come with some risks. The most common side effects include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, weakness, mouth sores, low white blood cell count (neutropenia), fever, rash, nerve pain and peripheral neuropathy, fluid retention, and swelling at the injection site. Less common side effects include muscle, joint or bone pain and liver and kidney problems, and toxic death in rare instances.
Although hair loss is a common side effect in chemotherapy treatments, it is normally temporary and regrowth generally occurs with three to six months. Hair loss from Taxotere can be total and permanent, however.
Tens of thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the makers of Taxotere for failing to adequately warn patients about the severity and permanence of this drug-related hair loss – something they’ve known about since 1996. If notified about this possibility, some victims of Taxotere alopecia have stated they would have opted for other drugs in this class without this disfiguring side effects, or for a course of treatment with Taxotere that reduces the risk of permanent hair loss.
A battle against cancer can be one of the most exhausting and traumatic experiences in a person’s life, and some victims of Taxotere alopecia must be reminded of this pain every day of their life as they live with this irreversible condition. These patients have been known to suffer from depression, social anxiety, paranoia and difficulties with personal and professional relationships.