Taxotere (Docetaxel) is a plant alkaloid class chemotherapy drug derived from actual plants. Ingredients in Taxotere include the Periwinkle plant, Pacific Yew tree, May Apple plant and the Asian “Happy Tree”. These plants contain toxic alkaloids that, when formulated, disrupt the division of cancerous cells.
Taxotere is used to treat various types of cancer in both men and women, including:
- Breast cancer
- Non-small cell lung cancer
- Advanced stomach cancer
- Head and neck cancer
- Metastatic prostate cancer
Taxotere has many side effects, in addition to the recent discovery that the drug may also cause permanent alopecia (hair loss) in patients. This information was not disclosed by the manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis, who charges $2,500 per four milliliter dose for the potentially life-saving drug.
Why do people use Taxotere?
Close to 20% of women will develop some form of breast cancer in their lives. Once diagnosed, these women then face a life or death decision to either take a chemotherapy drug, or to try and fight the cancer on their own. For most, the answer seems obvious– accept help in any form available.
The problem with Taxotere, as many victims claim, is that the drug’s manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, did not properly warn patients about the risk of permanent hair loss (alopecia) associated with the drug. Taxotere was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1996 and has been on the market ever since.
Taxotere is not the only product available for cancer patients.
Taxorere and Alopecia
The use of Taxotere comes with risks which include the risk of permanent hair loss (alopecia).
Persistent Significant Alopecia (PSA) is the medical name for a specific type of permanent hair loss. This type of hair loss happens when a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks the follicles that allow hair on the scalp to grow naturally. Several recent studies have linked Taxotere (Docetaxel) to PSA.
Alopecia can present itself in a variety of physical and psychological ways. If you have any of these symptoms, schedule a screening with your doctor:
- Patchy hair loss
- “Exclamation mark” hairs (hairs narrow in width towards root, like an exclamation mark)
- Widespread hair loss
- Nail problems (dents of change in texture)
- Extreme nervousness or anxiety
A number of clinical studies have linked Taxotere to permanent hair loss (alopecia). In a study conducted by The Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, it was determined that, “All patients [studied] had moderate to very severe hair thinning.”
The study went on to state that, healthcare physicians should be notably aware of this condition.
In a separate study published by Oxford Academic Annals of Oncology, doctors researched a possible link between permanent alopecia and Taxotere treatment for breast cancer. Results stated, “Hair loss presented with a moderate or intense androgenetic-like pattern of scalp alopecia… Treatment including vitamins, minoxidil, psoralen and ultraviolet A therapy and spironolactone proved to be ineffective.” Leading to the conclusion that, “Permanent and severe alopecia is a newly reported complication of the FEC 100–docetaxel breast cancer regimen.”
To date, Taxotere is still being prescribed to patients around the world.
Legal Action Against Taxotere / Sanofi-Aventis
WDRB 41 Kentucky, reported that over 700 suits have been filed against Sanofil-Aventis in a multidistrict litigation (MDL). Patients prescribed Taxotere (Docetaxel), who have experienced permanent hair loss, are claiming the drug’s manufacturer Sanofil-Aventis was negligent in withholding information regarding the drug’s possible, life-altering side effects.