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Chemotherapy and Taxotere Lawsuit

The chemotherapy drug Taxotere has been linked to reports of permanent hair loss, “alopecia” and balding. These complaints have prompted hundreds of lawsuits by breast cancer patients.

Cancer patients treated with the chemotherapy drug Taxotere (generic: docetaxel) have reported developing serious side effects including permanent hair loss (alopecia) and baldness.

Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one suffered permanent hair loss (alopecia) or baldness after being treated with Taxotere, you should contact our law firm. You may be entitled to compensation and our lawyers can help.

Update: Dozens of Victims of Taxotere Side Effects File Suit in Cook County Circuit Court

January 22, 2018 – A number of women who claim their hair fell out and never grew back due to a side effect of Taxotere have filed a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer in Cook County Circuit Court. The complaint names several dozen plaintiffs who bring counts of alleged breach of implied warranty, design defect, and product liability against Sanofi and at least 6 other defendants.

What’s the Problem?

About 1 in 8 women in the U.S. (approximately 12% of the female population) will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their life, according to For those who elect to undergo chemotherapy treatment, Taxotere or Taxol may be used to stop cancer cells from dividing and multiplying. This kills the cancer cells and stops the disease from growing.

And while both Taxotere and Taxol have demonstrated considerable effectiveness at slowing and even stopping the growth of cancer, it should be noted that both drugs are risky and come with a potential for serious side effects; however, only Taxotere has been linked to permanent hair loss, a condition known as alopecia.

Taxotere and Alopecia

It has been estimated that about 75% of the nearly 3 million U.S. women with a history of breast cancer have been treated with Taxotere. A 2013 study published by the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) found permanent alopecia in 10-15% of cancer patients who received Taxotere.

Types of Alopecia

  • Alopecia Areata – Circular patches of hair loss
  • Alopecia Totalis – Total hair loss on the scalp
  • Alopecia Universalis – Total hair loss on the scalp and body

What is Taxol?

Taxol® (Paclitaxel) is an extremely potent chemotherapy drug, often producing a number of side effects in patients including neuropathic pain, anaphylactic reactions & death.

Taxol was originally derived from Pacific Yew tree bark, but it is now made semi-synthetically. It was approved as a chemotherapy treatment for metastatic cancer of the ovaries in 1992 and for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer in 1998. Taxol is administered intravenously. In an attempt to improve the effectiveness of the drug, researchers are now developing a new paclitaxel-based treatment, Xyotax.

Taxol Side Effects

Chemotherapy-induced toxicities are common and serious clinical problems that adversely impact both the quality of life of cancer patients and the ability of patients to continue treatment for their cancer. Side effects of Taxol / paclitaxel include (but are not limited to):

  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Infections developing from white blood cell deficiencies
  • Complete hair loss
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Irritation at the Taxol and other chemotherapy drugs injection site
  • Low red blood cell count
  • Mouth or lip sores
  • Numbness or burning in the hands and feet
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea

Taxotere vs. Taxol

Taxotere is a semi-synthetic analogue of Taxol (generic: paclitaxel), an extract from the rare Pacific yew tree Taxus brevifolia. Due to scarcity of Taxus brevifolia, extensive research was conducted which led to the development of Taxotere.

According to Wikipedia:
“Docetaxel differs from paclitaxel at two positions in its chemical structure. It has a hydroxyl functional group on carbon 10, whereas paclitaxel has an acetate ester, and a tert-butyl carbamate ester exists on the phenylpropionate side chain instead of the benzyl amide in paclitaxel. The carbon 10 functional group change causes docetaxel to be more water soluble than paclitaxel.”

Taxol Black Box Warning

Taxol carries a Black Box warning of the risk for anaphylactic reactions, some fatal. Patients who have severe reactions to Taxol may have shortness of breath, low blood pressure, skin swelling, and hives. Prior to treatment, all patients should be treated with corticosteroids, antihistamines, and H2 antagonists which treat acid indigestion.

Attorneys Ordered to Identify All Claimants for Possible Taxotere Settlement

September 18, 2017 – The Louisiana court in charge of overseeing the federal Taxotere litigation has ordered plaintiffs’ attorneys to identify all claimants in anticipation of a potential settlement in the hair loss lawsuits. The court further ordered all parties to immediately report on any new individuals with potential Taxotere lawsuits, even if the complaints have not yet been filed. Identifying and reporting all potential claims is required for participating in any settlements resulting from the litigation.

Taxotere MDL Surpasses 1,100 Alopecia Lawsuits

June 6, 2017 – The federal multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2740) for lawsuits alleging permanent hair loss or “alopecia” from Taxotere has grown from just a handful of cases less than a year ago to more than 1,100 complaints, according to a joint report issued last month. The report also indicated that at least 3 defendants had been dismissed from liability in the lawsuits.

Court Overseeing Taxotere MDL Convenes “Science Day”

March 31, 2017 – The court overseeing the Taxotere litigation in the Eastern District of Louisiana will hold a “Science Day” on May 3 to discuss medical and scientific issues related to the litigation. The event is intended to provide a sort of tutorial so that the court can learn more about the case and the science involved. Cross-examination is forbidden, and transcripts of the proceedings are not shared with the parties.

California Woman Alleges Permanent Hair Loss from Taxotere

December 1, 2016 – A breast cancer survivor in California has filed a products liability lawsuit against Sanofi-Aventis alleging that Taxotere caused her to suffer permanent alopecia. Plaintiff Mary Gardner of Los Angeles was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in 2009 and battled the disease for over 3 years, including undergoing chemo with Taxotere. Although Gardner eventually overcame her illness, she developed permanent hair loss as a result of treatment with the drug, according to the lawsuit.

MDL Requested for Taxotere Lawsuits

September 28, 2016 – A panel of judges is considering a proposal to consolidate all federal Taxotere lawsuits into a multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2740) in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey. To date, more than 50 such complaints have been filed by breast cancer survivors who allegedly suffered permanent hair loss, alopecia or baldness after undergoing chemotherapy with Taxotere.

Louisiana Woman Alleges Permanent Hair Loss from Taxotere

July 7, 2016 – A woman from Louisiana has filed a lawsuit against Sanofi-Aventis alleging that Taxotere caused her to suffer permanent hair loss. According to the suit, plaintiff was diagnosed with infiltrating ductal carcinoma in early 2010 and started chemo with Taxotere in September of that year. She underwent a total of 4 rounds of treatment with the drug, but was never told that permanent hair loss could result.

Cancer Survivor Alleges Permanent Hair Loss from Taxotere

April 27, 2016 – At the advice of her oncologist, breast cancer patient Lynett agreed to undergo chemotherapy treatment with Taxotere following a total mastectomy. The doctor assured her that her hair would grow back immediately following completing treatment with the drug; however, 5 years later and she is still bald.

“I used to have a full, thick head of hair that I wore past my shoulders,” Lynett said. “I always thought it would grow back, but five years later, I had my doubts. Then I saw a TV commercial about Taxotere side effects and it clicked. Why wasn’t I offered an alternative treatment?”

Do I Have a Taxotere Lawsuit?

The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Taxotere lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently investigating potential settlements in all 50 states.

Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you had permanent hair loss (alopecia) or baldness from Taxotere, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a _______ suit and our lawyers can help.

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