The cancer drug Taxol® contains a solvent, cremophor, which is related to a high rate of anaphylactic reactions, including deaths
What is Taxol?
Taxol, and its generic version Paclitaxel, is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer, breast and ovarian cancers, and AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma. Taxol is classified as a “plant alkaloid,” a “taxane” and an “antimicrotubule agent.” Taxol is given as an injection or infusion into the vein (intravenous, IV). The amount of Taxol and the schedule depend on many factors, including the patient’s height and weight, general health or other health problems, and the type of cancer or condition being treated.
Side Effects of Taxol
Taxol has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials. In these studies, the most common Taxol side effects (used alone or in combination with other chemotherapy medications) included:
- Neutropenia (low levels of white blood cells called neutrophils)
- Hair loss
- Muscle pain or joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Mouth sores
- Low blood pressure
- Slow heart rate
- Signs of an allergic reaction, including unexplained rash, hives, itching, and unexplained swelling
You may experience some or none of these side effects. Unfortunately, there is no way for your healthcare provider to know beforehand if you will have side effects from a medicine that you have never tried. Therefore, make sure to let your doctor know if you develop any side effects while taking the drug or if something “just does not seem right.”