Our lawyers are reviewing potential lawsuits for cancer patients who went bald or suffered permanent hair loss (alopecia) after undergoing treatment with the chemotherapy drug Taxotere.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one were injured by Taxotere side effects, 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 (generic: docetaxel) is a chemotherapy medication that is administered intravenously (through an IV). The drug is classified as a taxane, and works by slowing the growth of cancer cells. Taxotere is primarily used to treat breast cancer, but is also approved for the treatment of lung cancer, prostate cancer, gastric adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma of the head, and neck cancer.
What’s the Problem?
Sanofi-Aventis, the company that makes Taxotere, is being investigated for failing to adequately warn about the risk of permanent baldness and alopecia associated with the medication. This failure to warn deprived cancer patients of the option to choose between Taxotere and Taxol (generic: paclitaxel), another chemo drug that is just as effective but does not come with the risk of permanent hair loss.
Taxotere Hair Loss May Be Permanent: FDA Warning
Taxotere warning labels originally mentioned hair loss as a potential side effect, but stated that hair “generally grows back” after chemotherapy is complete. Then in December 2015, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the drug’s labeling would be updated with information stating that cases of permanent alopecia had been reported in cancer patients treated with the drug.
It has been alleged that Sanofi knew for years that Taxotere may cause baldness and hair loss which may be permanent in some patients. In fact, the drug’s labeling was updated in Europe in 2005 and Canada in 2012, but the same warning wasn’t provided to American consumers until December 2015.
- In 2006, a study conducted by the Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers in Colorado found that 6.3% of breast cancer patients grew back less than 50% of their hair after being treated with Taxotere, especially when the drug was administered with Adriamycin (doxorubicin) and Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide).
“The one side effect possibly most dreaded by the patient is alopecia,” said Dr. Scot Sedlacek, lead author of the study. “Yet, we have always told our female patients don’t worry, [hair] will always come back. This last statement may not be true.”
- A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Dermatopathology found “increased evidence that certain chemotherapy regimens can cause dose-dependant permanent alopecia,” including Taxotere for breast cancer.
- The European Society for Medical Oncology reported in 2012 that “permanent and sever alopecia is a newly reported complication of the FEC 100-docetaxel breast cancer regimen.”
How Can Taxotere Cause Baldness?
It is still uncertain exactly why Taxotere causes permanent baldness in some cancer patients. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), dosage levels and the length of time the drug is used may be among the primary contributing factors.
However, regardless of why Taxotere causes irreversible hair loss, Sanofi is being investigated to uncover whether:
- The risk of permanent baldness was known before the drug was brought to market.
- The manufacturer failed to warn patients about the risk of permanent hair loss with Taxotere.
Is There a Cure?
Despite an abundance of products currently available that claim to stop and even reverse hair loss, there is still no reliable cure for baldness. However, there are numerous treatment options available including cosmetic wigs, medications and transplant procedures.
Additionally, researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have demonstrated that enzyme-blocking drugs called JAK inhibitors can cause significant regrowth of hair when applied to the skin. This raises the possibility that these medications might be used to restore hair growth in men and women with pattern baldness, as well as in cancer patients who have lost hair from chemotherapy treatments.
“What we’ve found is promising, though we haven’t yet shown it’s a cure for pattern baldness,” said Dr. Angela M. Christiano, associate professor of molecular dermatology at the center and lead author of the study. “More work needs to be done to test if JAK inhibitors can induce hair growth in humans using formulations specially made for the scalp.”
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.
Do I Have a Taxotere Baldness 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 or a loved one suffered permanent chemo hair loss from Taxotere, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.