Docetaxel Hair Loss – Chemo Drug Risks

July 13, 2017 – San Diego, CA.  Docetaxel is the generic name for the brand name drug Taxotere. Women who are being treated with this drug should know of some of the potential complications of this medication.  The main side effect is hair loss associated with Docetaxel.

Docetaxel is an intravenous injection used to treat mostly breast cancer patients but can also be used for neck, head or prostrate cancers. It should be noted that women who are planning on becoming pregnant should not use Taxotere (Docetaxel) as it may harm the fetus.

Taxotere is administered usually in a clinic or hospital over the course of an hour and usually for a 3 week term.

Sanofi-Aventis the maker of Taxotere gained FDA approval of its cancer fighting drug back in 1996.Docetaxel Hair Loss

It wasn’t until December of 2015 that the FDA forced the company to change its package label warning women of possible permanent hair loss known by its medical name alopecia (baldness).

However before the edits made to the Taxotere label it read: “hair generally grows back”. Failure to warn women of the possibility of permanent hair loss is the basis of this Taxotere lawsuit.

What are the most common adverse reactions and side effects associated with Taxotere (Docetaxel)?

According to the drug’s label, the most common adverse reactions are:

  • Infections
  • Neutropenia (low white blood cell count)
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Febrile neutropenia (development of fever with low white blood cell count)
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count)
  • Neuropathy (weakness, numbness and pain from nerve damage, usually in the hands and feet)
  • Dysgeusia (persistent foul, salty or metallic taste sensation)
  • Dyspnea (difficult or labored breathing)
  • Constipation
  • Anorexia
  • Nail disorders
  • Fluid retention (edema)
  • Asthenia (abnormal physical weakness or lack of energy)
  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Mucositis (painful inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes in the lining of the digestive tract)
  • Alopecia (permanent hair loss)
  • Skin reactions
  • Myalgia (pain in a muscle or group of muscles)

Other possible side effects of Taxotere (Docetaxel) include:

  • Swelling of hands, feet or face
  • Decreased appetite
  • Mouth or lip sores
  • Watery eyes, redness of the eye
  • Muscle, bone, joint pain
  • Increases in blood tests measuring liver function
  • Allergic reactions like rash, flushing/hot flashes, fever, lowered blood pressure
  • Infusion site reactions like darkening of the vein, inflammation, redness or drying of the skin, swelling of the vein

What is alopecia and how is it associated with Taxotere (Docetaxel)?

Docetaxel Hair Loss


Alopecia is a possible side effect reported by a number of women who were treated with Taxotere for breast cancer. Alopecia is a type of hair loss that occurs when the immune system attacks hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Alopecia is usually not permanent; about 10 percent of people with the condition may never re-grow hair.

How often is Taxotere prescribed?

About 1 in 8 women (about 12 percent) will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. In 2016, it is estimated over 246,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed, including an additional 61,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

Taxotere is the most widely prescribed drug in its class to treat breast cancer. Up to 75 percent of breast cancer patients in the United States use Taxotere during their treatment.

If you or someone you love has suffered from permanent hair loss from using Taxotere, we can help ease the burden. Read about the Taxotere lawsuits here.