Medication/Drug: Taxotere (docetaxel)
Chemotherapy drug manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis, a French pharmaceutical manufacturer, used primarily for the treatment of breast cancer. It is also used to treat lung, prostate, gastric and neck cancers.
- Permanent hair loss or balding
- May include a complete and permanent loss of all body hair, including eyebrows, eyelashes, underarm and pubic hair.
Taxotere (docetaxel) Overview
Taxotere is a chemotherapy drug primarily used in breast cancer patients. It has been linked to the devastating side effect of total body permanent hair loss in an alarming percentage of patients.
The manufacturer, over the course of more than a decade, claimed Taxotere was a drug superior to others available, a claim that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration denies and has warned Sanofi-Aventis against making.
The drug is sold worldwide, but its largest market is the United States. Interestingly enough, pending lawsuits by patients who have suffered permanent hair loss (alopecia) after taking the drug Taxotere have claimed that the pharmaceutical company warned doctors and patients in Europe and Canada about the possible side effect years before the United States.
What are the potential side effects to the cancer patient?
Taxotere dramatically increases the risk of permanent hair loss, including complete loss of all body hair. In addition, a number of other side effects have occurred in patients receiving this type of chemotherapy:
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Excessive tearing.
- Loss of appetite.
- Feeling drunk.
- Pain or swelling at the injection site.
- Weight gain.
- Black or bloody stools.
- Chest pain.
- Vision changes.
- Muscle or join pain.
- Severe headache.
- Irregular heartbeat.
Taxol, an equally effective chemotherapy drug was available, a drug that caused no resulting permanent hair loss.
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TAXOTERE CASE EVALUATION
Taxotere Permanent Hair Loss Lawsuit and Patients’ Right to an Informed Choice
The investigation continues regarding Sanofi-Aventis’ marketing of the drug and details of what was known regarding the permanent hair loss side effect. The pharmaceutical manufacturer is under investigation for failure to warn the public of the risk of alopecia resulting from Taxotere. At this point, no class action lawsuit has been filed.
At the heart of the matter is whether cancer patients had accurate and full information about what was known about Taxotere and its significant potential side effect of complete, permanent hair loss in patients. Some patients may have accepted Taxotere from their physicians if the drug were presented as superior to other chemotherapy drug options available. If their doctors had advised them that other drugs offered similar success without the possibility of permanent, total hair loss, their decisions may have been different.
The lawyers at Richard Harris Personal Injury Law Firm are accepting and investigating individual cases. Richard Harris Personal Injury Law Firm is Nevada’s largest and highest rated personal injury law firm. We help clients who have been injured. Contact us at 702.444.4444 to discuss your permanent hair loss case caused by Taxotere.
What more do we know about Taxotere and its manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis?
Taxotere dramatically increases the risk of total body, permanent hair loss. In fact, one study known as the GEICAM9805 analysis calculated that almost one out of 10 Taxotere users will lose all of their body hair permanently.
The drug Taxotere was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the United States in 1996. It was initially approved only for treating breast cancer, but later won approval for other cancer treatments. Sanofi-Aventis started to claim that the drug was superior to other chemotherapy drugs on the market, and sales soared. Worldwide sales of Taxotere in 2010 surpassed $10 billion.
The problem was that the FDA found no support for any claims of drug superiority for Taxotere. In 2003, the FDA sent a warning letter to Sanofi-Aventis about misleading advertising to consumers and physicians. In 2009, warned the company again that its marketing materials “misleadingly suggest that the chemotherapy drug is superior to paclitaxel in the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer after failure of prior chemotherapy, and overstate the efficacy of Taxotere. FDA is unaware of substantial evidence to support these claims.”
In 2015, the FDA finally issued a Safety Information bulletin for Taxotere. The bulletin included reports of patients who were suffering from permanent hair loss. Sanofi-Aventis had knowledge of this side effect, and were, in fact, warning doctors and patients outside of the U.S. years earlier.
Other Legal Action
Several individual lawsuits have been filed in 2016 alone, including:
- A California case claiming the company failed to disclose that Taxotere carries the possible permanent hair loss side effect that impacts such a high percentages of patients.
- An Ohio case alleging that Sanofi-Aventis warned doctors in Europe as early as 2005 and Canadian doctors in 2012 about the alopecia side effect.
- An Illinois case outlines that other drugs at least as effective were available for the treatment of her cancer, and that these other drugs would not have carried the risk of permanent hair loss. In essence, she and her medical providers were not able to make the most informed choice regarding her treatment.