Taxotere (Docetaxel) is an effective cancer drug initially approved for the treatment of breast cancer (its indications have since been expanded). The benefits afforded by Taxotere over other chemotherapy drugs are highlighted by the capacity to achieve full benefit in fewer treatments in less time, as Docetaxel is more robust than many of its competitors. Patients would be forgiven, therefore, to choose the more robust drug in order to achieve the benefit in less time, together with the possibility of returning to a normal lifestyle more quickly once the rigors of chemotherapy have been put behind them.
And hair loss is never an issue, as it’s a common side effect of chemotherapy. Cancer patients have come to expect some degree of hair loss, just as they expect their hair to slowly grow back once cancer treatment has concluded.
However Taxotere hair loss, according to plaintiffs, can be permanent – leaving many a plaintiff alarmed and dismayed after the time frame normally viewed as appropriate for re-growth of hair comes and goes without any result.
Plaintiffs in Docetaxel side effects lawsuits allege they were not made aware of the possibility that hair loss could be permanent. Had they been aware, they would have chosen an alternative cancer drug. Plaintiffs also claim the manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, was aware as far back as the late 1990s that there was an issue with permanent hair loss in some patients. Plaintiffs assert Sanofi was aware at the time that just over nine percent of Taxotere patients experienced Taxotere alopecia (hair loss) for up to ten years or longer.
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However, the potential for permanent Taxotere hair loss has come as a complete and unwelcome surprise to many. And while listings for Docetaxel side effects, both common and rare, can be found via many sources, reference to the potential for permanent hair loss is not as common.