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Taxotere – the cancer treatment that causes permanent hair loss

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Weldon Stanford

- Author, Drug Guardians

Every cancer patient these days expects some sort of side effect from the particularly harsh chemotherapy drugs on the market. It has become almost common place to expect that you might feel nauseous, or you will lose your hair, but what about having your hair never grow back again?

Claims have surfaced against Taxotere (docetaxel), a cancer drug manufactured by Sanofi and approved in 1996 for the treatment of breast cancer. Having been originally approved by the FDA on these grounds, the drugs treatment list has expanded to include head and neck cancer, gastric cancer, prostate cancer, and non-small cell lung cancer. Taxotere has proved to be a particularly effective cancer treatment drug, however it has also shown to be an effective cause of permanent hair loss.

Taxotere alopecia is the term given to the hair loss caused by Taxotere, a hair loss that is seemingly permanent in many cases. That’s right, not only will your hair fall out on Taxotere, but there is a very high chance it will never grow back. Hair loss is quite clearly listed as a side effect of Taxotere, yet there is no mention of the permanence of this, leading patients to file suit against Taxotere, claiming they would rather have taken a different cancer treatment if they had known.


Following the issuance of an FDA warning in December 2015, and a subsequent update to the Taxotere boxed warning with regard to the potential for permanent hair loss, Carson has launched a Taxotere side effects lawsuit in US District Court, Northern District of Ohio (Case No. 1:16-cv-00165). “Although alopecia is a common side effect related to chemotherapy drugs, permanent alopecia is not,” Carson’s lawsuit states. “Defendants, through its publications and marketing material, misled Plaintiff, the public, and the medical community to believe that, as with other chemotherapy drugs that cause alopecia, patients’ hair would grow back.”

Various lawsuits suggest that Taxotere manufacturer Sanofi’s own studies suggested three percent of cancer patients experienced persistent or permanent hair loss following treatment with docetaxel. However, an independent study in 2006 suggested that upwards of 6.3 percent of breast cancer patients succeeded in growing back less than 50 percent of their hair. Although alopecia is a common side effect related to chemotherapy drugs, permanent alopecia is not. A subsequent study published by the National Cancer Research Institute in 2013 found permanent hair loss as a side effect in 10-15 percent of patients who took Taxotere.


 

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