The lawsuit involving the chemotherapy drug Taxotere states the manufacturer of Taxotere (Sanofi-Aventis) failed to warn patients and physicians of the increased risks of permanent alopecia (loss of hair).
Why Are Taxotere Lawsuits Being Filed
Claims are being filed against Sanofi-Aventis by women who have suffered permanent hair loss as a result of being prescribed Taxotere. Attorneys state that if the manufacturer had properly warned of the risks, patients would have been prescribed a different chemotherapy drug called Taxol, which is more effective than Taxotere, and does not result in permanent hair loss.
What are the Allegations in the Taxotere Litigation
- Taxotere is defective and unreasonably dangerous;
- Sanofi-Aventis was negligent in the manufacturing of Taxotere;
- Sanofi-Aventis failed to properly test Taxotere, and failed to warn doctors and patients of the potential for alopecia; and
- Sanofi-Aventis concealed evidence of the dangers of Taxotere, and misrepresented the effectiveness and safety of it in its marketing material.
What is the Purpose of Taxotere
Taxotere (docetaxel) is a chemotherapy drug approved in the treatment of breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, advanced stomach cancer, head and neck cancer and metastatic prostate cancer. It is administered intravenously through a vein, and is member of a family of drugs called taxanes. It is used to try to prevent cancer cells from growing and dividing.
Taxotere is normally used in combination with other drugs such as capecitabine, cisplatin, fluorouracil, doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide to fight off cancer and provide patients with better survival rates. It acts as an anti-mitotic agent, meaning that it disrupts cellular division. It is usually administered intravenously during one hour-long infusion cycles that are then repeated every 3-4 weeks.
Taxotere Injuries & Side Effects
One of the most serious and devastating potential side effects, problems and risks caused through the use of Taxotere is permanent alopecia (loss of hair).
|Additional Side Effects|
|Bone, muscle or joint pain|
|Fatigue and weakness|
|Fluid retention with weight gain, swelling of the ankles or abdominal area|
|Low red blood cell count (anemia)|
|Low white blood cell count|
|Mouth or throat sores|
|Nail changes (color changes to your fingernails or toenails)|
|Peripheral neuropathy (numbness in your fingers and toes)|
When Sanofi-Aventis began marketing Taxotere, it advertised the drug as more effective than its competitor drug Paclitaxel (known as, Taxol and Onxol). However, Taxotere is significantly more dangerous and linked to a greater number of potential side effects.
Additionally, Paclitaxel can be used at lower doses with similar effects, leading to less severe adverse reactions, and is cheaper than Taxotere.
A study published in Cancer Treatment Reviews compared the safety and effectiveness of Taxotere and Paclitaxel. Taxotere produced no greater benefits over Paclitaxel, and often led to drug resistance, requiring the treating physicians to prescribe higher, more toxic doses.
Taxotere Lawsuit News
The basic story is this, you got two drugs, two choices. One is naturally occurring through Bristol Myers Squibb, it’s called Taxol. Sanofi, the French company, the ugly company that’s been convicted of all the Qui Tam violations, paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines, ugly conduct, said, “Well, we can do better.” They made a synthetic version. It’s poison. It’s toxic. It’s twice as strong. It’s the same molecule, but they made it twice as strong, so they could try to beat Bristol Myers and they could get that market share. To read more, click Drug Safety NewsTaxotere: A Chemo Drug Bringing More Suffering to Women’s Lives:
Taxotere is an unnecessary chemo drug that is adding even more suffering to women’s lives. America’s Lawyer, Mike Papantonio, and attorney Ben Gordon discuss this. To read more, click The Ring of Fire
My oncologist prescribed me a cocktail of chemotherapy drugs, one of which, Taxotere, can cause permanent baldness in some women who have the treatment. That wasn’t explained to me fully at the time. If I had known the side effects, would I have refused the drug? Absolutely. There is another drug, Taxol, which is as effective and the risk of permanent hair loss is negligible. Instead, today, I am almost bald. To read more, click The MirrorI survived cancer - but drugs left me with permanent alopecia:
Shirley’s hair loss during chemotherapy turned out to be 'Alopecia - Persistent Significant' – and permanent. . . . The cause was a drug called Taxotere (Docetaxel), which, when combined into a “cocktail with other chemotherapy drugs”, causes "male pattern baldness". To read more, click The TelegraphWomen who took chemo drug say they weren't warned of permanent hair loss:
This lasting side effect of the chemotherapy drug Taxotere, in combination with other drugs, came to light when cancer patients began living longer. These women are now finding that survival comes at a cost. Balding women from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and France are calling themselves the Taxotears. To read more, click The Globe and Mail
For additional news stories, click Levin Law Taxotere News
Taxotere Lawsuit Videos
FDA and Scientific Studies Regarding Taxotere
Taxotere (docetaxel) injection concentrateFDA approves following language to Taxotere label: “Cases of permanent alopecia have been reported.” To read more, click FDA Drug Safety Information
Permanent scalp alopecia related to breast cancer chemotherapy: a prospective study of 20 patientsTwenty white Caucasian females were included. Hair loss presented with a moderate or intense androgenetic-like pattern of scalp alopecia. Biopsy specimen examinations were normal or displayed the androgenetic-like pattern. Laboratory explorations ruled out iron or zinc deficiency and thyroid disorders and confirmed hormonal menopause without hyperandrogenism. The overall mean DLQI score reflected the distressing psychological consequences in the patients' lives. No spontaneous regrowth of the scalp hair was noted. Treatment including vitamins, minoxidil, psoralen and ultraviolet A therapy and spironolactone proved to be ineffective. Permanent and severe alopecia is a newly reported complication of the FEC 100-docetaxel breast cancer regimen. To read more, click Annals of Oncology
Long Term Hair Loss in Patients with Early Breast Cancer Receiving Docetaxel Chemotherapy: Long term significant scalp alopecia (here lasting for up to 3.5 years following completion of chemotherapy) may affect 10-15% of patients following docetaxel for EBC. This appears to be unrelated to other patient and treatment characteristics. Long term hair loss has a significant impact on quality of survival. Further prospective study is required to confirm incidence and to identify effective preventive and management strategies. This risk should be discussed routinely (as part of the process of informed consent) with all patients embarking upon docetaxel as a component of management of EBC. To read more, click NCRI Cancer Conference
A Head of Our Time: Living with Persistent Chemo-Induced Alopecia:According to Sanofi-Aventis, manufacturer of the chemotherapy drug Taxotere—used to treat breast, lung, gastric, head and neck and prostate cancer—3% of patients administered the drug could experience long-term alopecia. This figure could rise to as high as 6.3% when given in combination with the drugs Adriamycin (doxorubicin) and Cyclophosphamide, according to a study by the Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers in Colorado. To read more, click A Head of Our Time
Taxotere Recall Information
As of this time, there has not been a recall of Taxotere related to alopecia. However, the investigation into this drug, from a legal standpoint, is still at its early stages. It often takes many years; tens of thousands of hours of attorney time; and the expense of many millions of dollars before all the facts come out that will lead to a recall. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2015 did acknowledge that Taxotere can result in permanent hair loss, and this warning will now be placed on the Taxotere label.
Taxotere Settlement Information
As of this time, there have been no large group settlements involving Taxotere and the potential link to permanent hair loss. Litigation likes this takes many years to resolve, with teams of lawyers spending millions of dollars trying to determine exactly what occurred, and how it could have been prevented. Generally, large groups of settlements do not occur until such time as a few cases are tried before a jury, and the manufacturer is able to more thoroughly understand its financial risk.