A cancer diagnosis is devastating. Patients have to deal with fighting the illness, nausea, hair loss, and other complications. Hair loss during chemotherapy can be emotionally challenging, especially for women, but knowing that the hair will grow back often helps make the process slightly more bearable. However, if your oncologist gave you docetaxel – marketed under the brand name Taxotere – your hair may not have grown back. If this is the case, you may be eligible to participate in a lawsuit against the drug’s manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis. According to the lawsuit, the drug company lied to patients regarding the risks of permanent hair loss. Contact a Nationwide Drug Injury Lawyer Today.
Taxotere is prescribed most often for breast cancer, but these are not the only cancer patients who may have received the drug. It is also given to people diagnosed with:
- Head and neck cancer
- Advanced prostate cancer
- Gastric cancer
- Non-small cell lung cancer.
Long-term Hair Loss
Long-term hair loss, formally known as alopecia, affects approximately three percent of patients who are treated with Taxotere, according to Sanofi-Aventis. The percentages more than double when patients also receive the chemotherapy drugs Adriamycin and Cyclophosphamide. That’s according to a study by Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers. However, patients were not informed of these statistics and risk factors prior to receiving chemotherapy. A study conducted by the Clatterbridge Cancer Center in the United Kingdom and published in 2014 found much higher rates of long-term alopecia in women who were given the drug for early breast cancer treatment: 15.8 percent. In addition to scalp hair loss, many women never had eyebrow or eyelash regrowth.
In December, 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered safety label changes for Taxotere relating to reports of permanent alopecia. Sanofi-Aventis updated such warnings on Taxotere sold in Canada and Europe in 2005 and 2012, respectively, but did not do so in the U.S. To date, the drug has not been recalled.
Other Side Effects
Alopecia isn’t the only long-term side effect resulting from Taxotere. Others include:
- Joint and muscle pain
- Cystoid Macular Edema – an eye disorder resulting in vision impairment
- Edema – fluid retention
- Frequent infections
- Gum, throat and mouth sores
- Changes in nail color
- Numbness in the extremities – peripheral neuropathy
The lawsuit states that Sanofi-Aventis failed to warn doctors and patients about the link between permanent hair loss and taxotere. Had the manufacturer given such a warning, physicians and patients could have chosen another chemotherapy drug. Taxol is one such alternative, and it does not cause permanent hair loss. Taxol is just as effective as Taxotere, if not more so.
The Goldwater Law Firm – Nationwide Drug Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one received Taxotere during chemotherapy and it resulted in permanent alopecia or another long-term side effect, we can help. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other associated costs. Our attorneys will evaluate your case and ensure that you understand your rights and options before moving forward. Contact the Goldwater Law Firm for a free consultation today.