The lawsuits involving Taxotere claim that the manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, didn’t warn patients and medical professionals about the increased risk of permanent alopecia, (hair loss).
What Does Taxotere Do?
Taxotere, also known as docetaxel, is a drug used for chemotherapy to treat:
- Breast cancer
- Non-small cell lung cancer
- Advanced stomach cancer
- Neck and head cancer
- Metastatic prostate cancer.
Taxotere is given to the patient intravenously through your veins and is part of a group of drugs called taxanes.
Taxotere is used to prevent cancer cells from dividing and growing. Use is generally as part of a group of drugs such as:
These drugs typically help fight off cancer. It’s also generally given during one hour-long infusion cycles that repeat every 3-4 weeks.
What Are the Possible Side Effects and Injuries Caused by Taxotere?
One of the most severe side effects from the use of Taxotere is Neutropenic Enterocolitis. Neutropenic Enterocolitis is the inflammation of a small pouch at the head of your large intestine. While this condition is rare, it can be fatal.
Other possible side effects of Taxotere are:
- Permanent hair loss
- Joint, muscle, and bone pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- The retention of fluid that can cause weight gain, swelling of your abdominal area, and swelling of the ankles
- Anemia – low red blood cell count
- Low white cell counts
- Throat and mouth sores
- Changes in your nails -such as color changes to fingernails and toenails
- Numbness in your toes and fingers
- Changes in how foods taste
Taxotere Lawsuits: What Do We Know?
Women are filing claims against Sanofi-Aventis because they’ve suffered permanent hair loss because of Taxotere. The attorneys for these women claim that if Sanofi-Aventis correctly warned doctors and their patients of the risks involved, they would have been prescribed a different drug, Taxol. Taxol is more effective than Taxotere and doesn’t have the chance of permanent hair loss.
As of May 2018, over 8500 lawsuits exist against Sanofi-Aventis, the manufacturer of Taxotere. The Louisiana Taxotere multidistrict lawsuits began in the Eastern District of Louisiana with just a couple dozen lawsuit filed in 2016.
What Do the Lawsuits Against Taxotere Claim?
Besides permanent hair loss, the Taxotere lawsuits allege that:
- Sanofi-Aventis engaged in deception by overstating the benefits of Taxotere. Even when being compared to other medications and failed to warn medical professionals and patients of the risk of permanent hair loss.
- As a result of Sanofi-Aventis’ deception, patients weren’t allowed to make informed decisions as to whether using Taxotere outweighed the risks that were involved.
Many of the lawsuits also claim that women suffered permanent hair loss as a result of using Taxotere. The claims also allege that Sanofi-Aventis failed to warn doctors and their patients about the risks.
The lawsuits say that if the patients had known, another chemotherapy drug, such as Taxol would probably have been prescribed. The fact that the cancer patients lived longer is what brought on the effects of Taxotere, in combination with other drugs. Taxol is believed to be more effective than Taxotere, and it does not cause permanent hair loss.
Taxotere Lawsuits Abroad
Additionally, the warning about Taxotere was provided to patients and their doctors in Europe in 2005, and Canada in 2012. However, it wasn’t until December of 2015 that the Food and Drug Administration issued a safety warning on Taxotere that included the risk of permanent hair loss.
At a recent NCRI Cancer Conference, a report was given that showed long term significant scalp alopecia, (hair loss) that could last for up to 3.5 years following the completion of chemotherapy in patients that received Taxotere (docetaxel) chemotherapy treatment. They also stated that 10-15 percent of patients might be affected. The report also said that long term hair loss had a significant impact on the quality of the survival of these patients. They recommended that further studies be conducted to identify an effective prevention and management strategy.
The report at the NCRI Cancer Conference also recommended that the risks should be discussed with all patients who are planning on using Taxotere in their treatment plan.
Keep in mind that according to the manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, Taxotere may cause 3 percent of patients to experience long-term or permanent hair loss.
This could go as high as 6.3 percent when Taxotere is given in combination with other drugs such as Adriamycin, Cyclophosphamide, according to a study by the Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers in Colorado.
Call The Jeffcoat Firm Today
If you were given Taxotere and suffered permanent hair loss, as a result, you should contact the South Carolina attorneys at The Jeffocoat Firm who can advise you of your rights and see if you qualify to file a lawsuit against the manufacturers of Taxotere.