Taxotere May Be Reason Behind Permanent Alopecia

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

Taxotere, a drug manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis, is used to combat various types of cancer such as breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, advanced stomach cancer, head and neck cancer, and metastatic prostate cancer. It is administered through the patient’s vein and is considered to belong in the taxane drug family. It aids in combatting cancer by preventing cancer cells from growing and dividing.

Taxotere’s warning labels include alopecia as an adverse reaction to the drug, but patients and studies have found over the past few years that the drug actually has a large percentage chance of permanent alopecia. Alopecia is also known as hair loss. Taxotere states that hair loss is normal during the treatments, but that issue should be resolved a few weeks after treatments are finished.

This is often not the case with patients who have used Taxotere. Ten to fifteen percent of cancer patients who used Taxotere to aid in battling cancer experience permanent alopecia. The reason behind how this drug can affect hair follicles to this extent is unknown at this point. Oncologists are said to know this permanent side effect exists. However, they oftentimes choose to not disclose this information to patients due to Taxotere’s effectiveness and high success rate.

The drug was originally approved by the FDA on May 14, 1996. Most recently, the FDA has ordered the company to update their warning labels to include that cases of permanent alopecia have been reported under Adverse Reactions.

If you or someone you know has suffered by using Taxotere call the lawyers at Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo & Plotkin LLP; 212-684-1880.

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