Did you suffer permanent hair loss after taking the chemotherapy drug Taxotere?
Studies show Taxotere, the most popular chemotherapy drug used to treat breast cancer, can cause permanent hair loss in a percentage of patients treated with the drug. This condition is known as permanent alopecia.
If you or someone you love had hair loss as a result of taking Taxotere, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Call the attorneys at National Injury Help today to see if you qualify for a Taxotere Lawsuit.
Call 1-800-214-1010 for a free case evaluation or use the form on the bottom of your screen.
Taxotere Permanent Alopecia Side Effects
Taxotere is the most-widely prescribed chemotherapy drug used to treat breast cancer. Up to 75 percent of breast cancer patients in the United States use Taxotere during their treatment. It is also used to treat certain lung, stomach, prostate and head and neck cancers.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, not counting some kinds of skin cancer. In 2012, more than 220,000 women and 2,000 men were diagnosed with some form of breast cancer, and the American Cancer Society estimates over 300,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2016.
Taxotere is an effective form of breast cancer treatment. The drug’s main ingredient, docetaxel, works by stopping cancer cells from dividing, or duplicating themselves, eventually leading to the cancer cells’ deaths. It is given intravenously in doses based on a patient’s weight and height.
Despite its effectiveness, Taxotere may cause a significant side effect that many cancer survivors never expect to suffer from: permanent alopecia, or permanent hair loss. Though many patients accept temporary hair loss as a side effect of chemotherapy treatment, they expect the hair they lost to grow back after treatment has ended. For many patients taking Taxotere, that is not the case.
The maker of Taxotere, French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis, admits alopecia can affect up to 3% of patients, but initially insisted hair would grow back. Then in 2015, the FDA forced the drugmaker to include the risk of permanent alopecia on the drug’s label.
Patients harmed by Taxotere may be able to seek settlements in the form of a Taxotere Lawsuit.
Studies Show Risk of Permanent Alopecia with Taxotere
Permanent 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 not always permanent, but women who suffer from permanent alopecia after treatment with Taxotere may never re-grow their hair. Some women even report the loss of their eyebrows and eyelashes after taking the drug.
The makers of Taxotere estimate alopecia occurs in about 3% of patients, but some studies suggest that number is much higher.
A study conducted by the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center in Colorado in 2006 found about 6.3% of patients experienced permanent alopecia when Taxotere was used in combination with other cancer-fighting drugs.
A 2013 survey conducted by the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in the UK found 15.8% of respondents reported experiencing persistent alopecia after using the generic version of Taxotere, docetaxel.
No Warning of Permanent Hair Loss
Permanent alopecia can be an emotionally devastating side effect of the drug Taxotere. Many women who underwent chemotherapy treatment with the drug were told their hair loss would only be temporary, but that wasn’t the case for some.
The FDA approved Taxotere in 1996. The drug’s label has included the risk of hair loss since its approval, but up until 2015, the label did not include the risk of permanent hair loss.
Up until 2010, the drug’s label indicated that “hair generally grows back.” In the years between 2011 and 2015, the label listed “hair loss” as a possible side effect but the phrase “hair generally grows back” was removed.
Then in December 2015 – nearly 20 years after the drug’s approval – the FDA issued a warning about the possible risk of permanent alopecia when undergoing treatment with Taxotere and its generic docetaxel. The FDA issued the warning in response to numerous adverse event reports submitted to the agency by patients and doctors.
Many women who underwent treatment with Taxotere and suffer from permanent hair loss claim they were never warned about the possible side effect and say it is a constant reminder of their cancer. Many women also say they would have considered treatment with a different chemotherapy drug had they been aware of the risk.
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.
Taxotere’s Black Box Warning
Taxotere is an extremely potent drug used to kill cancer cells. As a result, there are numerous adverse effects associated with the drug. The FDA has issued several warnings regarding Taxotere since the drug was approved 20 years ago.
Taxotere carries a “black box” warning, the FDA’s strongest warning about a drug or medical device. Black box warnings indicate there is a serious risk of hazard or even death associated with the product.
Taxotere’s black box contains several warnings, including the risk of:
- toxic death in patients with abnormal liver function
- liver damage in patients with high bilirubin concentrations
- low white blood cell counts
- serious allergic reactions and fluid retention
The FDA has also issued numerous safety communications in the past several years regarding Taxotere. Some of those warnings include the risk of:
- renal (kidney) failure
- respiratory problems, including failure
- metabolism and nutrition disorders
- eye disorders
- permanent alopecia
Other Possible Side Effects
The risk of permanent alopecia isn’t the only side effect of Taxotere. According to its label, the most common adverse reactions of Taxotere are:
- Neutropenia (low white blood cell count)
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)
- Febrile neutropenia (development of fever with low white blood cell count)
- 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)
- Nail disorders
- Fluid retention (edema)
- Asthenia (abnormal physical weakness or lack of energy)
- Mucositis (painful inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes in the lining of the digestive tract)
- Alopecia (hair loss, possibly permament)
- Skin reactions
- Myalgia (pain in a muscle or group of muscles)
Other possible side effects of Taxotere 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
Taxotere Hair Loss Lawsuits
Breast cancer survivors have begun filing lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis alleging the company hid potential side effects, including permanent alopecia, and misrepresented the drug’s benefits. Sanofi-Aventis’ failure to warn women of the possible side effect of permanent alopecia is the basis of the Taxotere Hair Loss Lawsuit.
These lawsuits have not been consolidated into a class action or multidistrict litigation at this time. As of July 2016, no settlements have been made in any of the Taxotere Lawsuits.
National Injury Help is currently investigating cases for a potential lawsuit against Sanofi-Aventis. If you or someone you love took Taxotere and suffer from permanent alopecia, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
Not sure if you have a case? Call us today to speak with a member of our legal team. We can answer your questions and help you determine if your case qualifies for a possible lawsuit.
Call National Injury Help today at 1-800-214-1010 or use the form on the right hand side of your screen.
Taxotere Lawsuits available in these States:
Alabama (AL), Alaska (AK), Arizona (AZ), Arkansas (AR), California (CA), Colorado (CO), Connecticut (CT), Delaware (DE), Florida (FL), Georgia (GA), Hawaii (HI), Idaho (ID), Illinois (IL), Indiana (IN), Iowa (IA), Kansas (KS), Kentucky (KY), Louisiana (LA), Maine (ME), Maryland (MD), Massachusetts (MA), Michigan (MI), Minnesota (MN), Mississippi (MS), Missouri (MO), Montana (MT), Nebraska (NE), Nevada (NV), New Hampshire (NH), New Jersey (NJ), New Mexico (NM), New York (NY), North Carolina (NC), North Dakota (ND), Ohio(OH), Oklahoma (OK), Oregon (OR), Pennsylvania (PA), Rhode Island (RI), South Carolina (SC), South Dakota (SD), Tennessee (TN), Texas (TX), Utah (UT), Vermont (VT), Virginia (VI), Washington (WA), Washington DC (DC), West Virginia (WV), Wisconsin (WI), Wyoming (WY)
Taxotere Hair Loss Attorneys and lawyers page updated on April 5, 2019