Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one developed alopecia after undergoing treatment with Taxotere, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer and our lawyers can help.
Update: Louisiana Court Orders Taxotere Bellwether Trials
June 1, 2017 – A Pretrial Order issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana has directed the litigation parties to submit an order pertaining to discovery and dates for bellwether trials. Bellwethers are common in complex pharmaceutical litigation in which multiple lawsuits are filed against a defendant or defendants alleging similar damages.
Taxotere is an anti-cancer (“antineoplastic” or “cytotoxic”) drug approved to treat breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, stomach cancer, head / neck cancer and metastatic prostate cancer. The medication is administered intravenously (IV), and works by slowing cell growth. Taxotere is made by Sanofi-Aventis, and was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) on October 17, 2006.
What’s the Problem?
Taxotere has been linked to permanent hair loss (alopecia) in cancer patients, particularly in women being treated for breast cancer. While the medication has demonstrated considerable effectiveness as a chemotherapy drug, it has left many patients either partially or completely bald, which significantly impacts their self-image and quality of life.
Taxotere Hair Loss Studies
- A 2012 study published in the Annals of Oncology looked at 20 Caucasian breast cancer patients who used Taxotere and experienced hair loss with androgenetic-like pattern of scalp alopecia. Laboratory tests ruled out iron or zinc deficiency and thyroid disorders, and confirmed hormonal menopause without hyperandrogenism. The patients’ overall mean Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) score reflected the distressing psychological consequences of their condition. No spontaneous regrowth of scalp hair was noted, and all treatments proved ineffective. This was the first study to identify permanent and severe alopecia as a potential complication of Taxotere.
- A study presented at the 2014 NCRI Cancer Conference found that long-term scalp alopecia (lasting up to 3.5 years following completion of chemotherapy treatment) may affect 10-15% of patients treated with Taxotere. The researchers noted that permanent hair loss has a significant impact on quality of life, and called for additional studies to determine the incidence and identify effective preventive and management strategies. The alopecia risk should be discussed with all patients prior to undergoing docetaxel as a component of early breast cancer (EBC) treatment, according to the study’s authors.
- Sanofi-Aventis has stated that up to 3% of patients treated with Taxotere could experience long-term alopecia. This figure could double when administered in combination with Adriamycin (doxorubicin) and Cyclophosphamide, according to a study by the Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers in Colorado.
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
Can Alopecia be Cured?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for alopecia. However, in some cases it can be treated and hair may grow back. Treatment options include corticosteroids, topical contact allergens/sensitizers (if hair loss is widespread or recurrent), and Rogaine (minoxidil). Other products that have been used to treat alopecia with varying degrees of effectiveness include psoriasis and autoimmune disorder medications.
Taxotere Side Effects
In addition to increasing the risk of permanent alopecia and baldness, Taxotere may cause the following side effects in certain users:
- Injection site reactions (pain, redness, or swelling)
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling weak or tired
- Muscle pain
- Missed menstrual periods
- Temporary hair loss
- Fingernail / toenail changes
Lawsuits filed against Sanofi-Aventis accuse the company of failing to warn doctors and patients of the increased risk of permanent alopecia associated with Taxotere. The complaints state that had Sanofi adequately warned of this risk, patients would have opted to undergo treatment with Taxol, an equally or more effective chemotherapy drug that has not been linked to permanent hair loss.
Do I Have a Taxotere Alopecia 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 were injured by Taxotere side effects, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.