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Latest Taxotere Plaintiff Alleges Permanent Hair Loss

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New Orleans, LAAt first glance it may appear that 33 lawsuits does not represent a high number when compared with hundreds, if not thousands of cases pending tied to other issues of negligence. However the 33 Taxotere hair loss cases currently pending in 16 US District Courts across the country and soon to be consolidated in multidistrict litigation housed at Louisiana are significant when one considers that Taxotere is a chemotherapy drug used to treat cancer, and specifically breast cancer.

Nor, is Taxotere the only chemotherapy drug out there. There are several others. However, Taxotere (docetaxel) was touted by manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis as a superior product when it was launched in 1996. The thought is by using Taxotere – a more potent drug – cancer patients would be subjected to fewer rounds of chemotherapy than with older, less-potent chemotherapy drugs.

That was then.

Experience by many cancer patients, or so it is alleged, appears to suggest that Taxotere is no more effective at treating breast cancer, with no better outcomes, then other taxane-based cancer drugs affording less potency.

The issue remains taxotere alopecia, or hair loss. Patients allege in taxotere hair loss lawsuits that they were told hair lost to chemotherapy (a common occurrence) would grow back – as it does with other drugs once chemotherapy treatments are complete.

However, at least 33 plaintiffs in 16 jurisdictions allege this has not been the case – that Docetaxel hair loss is permanent.

Plaintiff Iris Guidry alleges just that in her Docetaxel side effects lawsuit filed earlier this fall in Louisiana. Guidry, in her lawsuit, claims that hair lost when she went through chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer in 2011, has not grown back. For Guidry, her taxotere hair loss appears to be permanent.

Plaintiffs allege that Taxotere was billed as a superior alternative to other taxane-based cancer drugs on the marker, with no increased side effects beyond what is usually encountered immediately after chemotherapy. Loss of hair would be expected, but hair would be expected to grow back.

That hasn’t happened for an increasing number of plaintiffs, who allege not only is Taxotere inferior with more grievous side effects, but that the manufacturer attempted to hide that fact from US cancer patients. Taxotere alopecia lawsuits allege that while Sanofi-Aventis issued hair loss warnings to other jurisdictions around the world including Canada, similar warnings were not issued in the US.

Various studies have suggested a ten percent risk for permanent hair loss when Taxotere is employed in chemotherapy – and that ten percent of all Taxotere patients suffer hair loss found to last up to ten years or longer following chemotherapy.

In October, Taxotere lawsuits were consolidated US District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, New Orleans.

The MDL is IN RE: Taxotere (Docetaxel) Products Liability Litigation LAE/ Engelhardt, Kurt D. 2:16-md-2740.


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