Maker of Breast Cancer Drug Taxotere May Not Have Adequately Warned of Side Effects

Gabriel A. Assaad
Partner Gabriel Assaad represents victims of negligence and medical malpractice nationwide.

Cancer is one of the most difficult conditions for doctors to treat, and patients and their care providers have to work together to choose the right combination of treatments. Many times, that means weighing the risks and benefits of a number of different chemotherapy drugs, all of which are extremely toxic and take a serious toll on the body as they fight cancer. Taxotere, one of these chemotherapy drugs, is a potential option for some patients, and it has been widely prescribed. However, in recent years, the drug has been associated with lifelong side effects that weren’t included in the drug’s warnings. If you have been treated with Taxotere and suffered permanent hair loss or other unexpected symptoms, here are some things you should know.      

What Is Taxotere?

Taxotere, a brand name for the generic drug docetaxel, is a newer chemotherapy drug produced by Sanofi-Aventis. It is usually given through infusion or injection in a doctor’s office or hospital, and it is used to treat breast cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, cancers of the head and neck, and some types of lung cancer. In some cases, it is a good choice because the patient may require fewer chemotherapy treatments than with other drugs. Unfortunately, it has also been associated with a higher risk of certain side effects that were not previously communicated to the public or included in its labeling.

Why Is the Manufacturer of Taxotere Being Investigated?

Alopecia, or hair loss, is something that most patients undergoing chemotherapy expect. However, as the label on Taxotere previously stated, “hair generally grows back” after treatment. Unfortunately, some patients treated with the drug have reported permanent hair loss that persists for years after treatment. Although more investigation is needed, some studies have placed the Back View of  Bald Man's Head on a White Backgroundnumber of patients affected between three and six percent of all patients treated with Taxotere. While side effects are sometimes a surprise despite adequate testing of a drug, there is a concern that Sanofi-Aventis knew about the risk of permanent baldness with Taxotere long before labeling changes were made to inform the public.

Patients should also be aware that alopecia isn’t the only potential risk of Taxotere. In the past, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also approved labeling changes for Taxotere that adds warnings related to the drug’s alcohol content and the potential for respiratory and vision issues.

Treating cancer is complicated, and every patient’s case is unique. In some cases, the potential benefits of a cancer drug might outweigh its risks, but the important thing is that doctors and patients are aware of what those risks truly are. When a drug manufacturer fails to warn patients of all the risks of a treatment option, it means that those patients are unable to make informed decisions about their health, treatment, and wellbeing—and could unknowingly put themselves at risk.

What Are My Rights If I’ve Suffered Permanent Hair Loss or Lasting Side Effects After Taxotere Treatment?

Drug companies have a responsibility to make sure their drugs are reasonably safe and to warn the public of the potential side effects. When a pharmaceutical company has evidence of a significant side effect and fails to include that information in its labeling, the patients who suffered from risks they didn’t know about may be able to take legal action. Although a lot depends on the circumstances of the case, the law generally allows victims of a dangerous or mislabeled drug to seek financial compensation for their losses.

Permanent hair loss can affect many aspects of life for cancer survivors, especially women who are already struggling to regain a normal life and self-image after breast cancer. If you or a loved one has become permanently bald after Taxotere treatment, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney who has handled these kinds of cases in the past and is ready to investigate your concerns.

Why Should I Contact an Attorney About Unexpected Taxotere Side Effects?

There are many kinds of legal situations that victims can sometimes handle on their own. However, cases of potentially negligent drug companies can be very difficult without the help of an experienced professional. Talking to an attorney is important because he or she can help you:

  • Investigate the concerns
  • Get clear answers about your rights
  • Navigate the complexity of class-action lawsuit
  • Protect your rights and work on your behalf throughout the process
  • Even the playing field between you and large, multi-national pharmaceutical companies

The Law Firm of Kennedy Hodges, LLP, is currently investigating Taxotere cases, and we are dedicated to helping the victims of potentially negligent pharmaceutical companies get answers. If you have questions about something that happened to you or a loved one while taking Taxotere, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced attorneys at 855-947-0707 for a free case review.