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Potential for Permanent Taxotere Hair Loss Not Widely Promoted

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New Orleans, LAAs important as it is to be aware of any, and all side effects associated with a drug such as Taxotere, patients in need of the chemotherapy drug are already coming from a position of significant physical and emotional challenge: the fallout from a cancer diagnosis. And while most cancer patients are aware that hair loss is a common byproduct of chemotherapy and cancer treatments, many would not be cognizant about the potential for Taxotere hair loss to be permanent.

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.

An exhaustive listing of drug interactions and side effects related to Taxotere and posted by (and thus, accessible to the general public), includes the potential for Taxotere alopecia. The latter is listed under Dermatologic Docetaxel side effects as ‘very common’ (ten percent of patients or greater) with the potential of Taxotere alopecia pegged at up to 98 percent. Again, most cancer patients would not quibble with regard to the possibility – indeed the expectation – of Taxotere hair loss given that it’s a common byproduct of chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

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.


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