Cancer chemotherapy has been used heavily as a means to cure, control or palliate cancer in the body for decades. Unlike other cancer treatments such as surgery or radiation that can target specific areas of the body, chemotherapy is a drug treatment that can cause mild to severe side effects in some patients.
A frequent and well known side effect of cancer chemotherapy is temporary hair loss. Under normal circumstances and with most modern chemotherapy drugs, hair loss from chemotherapy is not permanent and grows back normally after treatment is finished. However, recent reports have indicated that some cancer patients who underwent treatment with Taxotere, a plant alkaloid chemotherapy drug, are unable to regrow hair months, and even years after cancer treatment was concluded.
If you have experienced these or other adverse effects, call a Taxotere lawyer to pursue a claim for compensation.
What Cancers Are Treated With Taxotere?
Taxotere (docetaxel) is a cancer chemotherapy drug that was approved by the FDA on October 17, 2006. The drug is produced by French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis. Treatment is administered intravenously for different cycles and amounts of time, depending on the type of cancer. The FDA approved the anti-cancer drug for the following types of cancer:
|Head and Neck Cancer|
|Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer|
Taxotere, like many other chemotherapy drugs, produces a wide range of side effects that can vary based on the individual.
The following symptoms are not medical emergencies, but your physician should be notified within 24 hours if any of the following occur:
|Bleeding or Bruising|
|Shortness of Breath|
The prostate is a gland that is present exclusively in males. It has to do a lot with the functions of the male reproductive system. The gland secretes fluid to add to the secretions that come out during ejaculation.
Prostate gland lies beneath the bladder and measures up to the size of a chestnut. After the age of 50 years, the gland tends to gradually enlarge. According to Patient.info, about nine in 10 men may develop an enlarged prostate gland by the time they reach 90 years old.
When cancer cells grow inside this male reproductive organ, the condition is then termed as prostate cancer. This disease, which is commonly referred to as the carcinoma of prostate, tends to grow slowly. The types that are potentially malignant may spread to involve the bones and lymph nodes, as well.
Routinely among one of the most popular breast cancer chemotherapy drugs until the expiration of its patent, Taxotere (docetaxel) was approved by the FDA in 1996, but medical professionals now claim the drug was not adequately tested.
The outrage over the testing of Sanofi-Aventis’ cancer-fighting drug is based on the findings of several studies that have shown that not only is Taxotere no more effective than comparable drugs, but unlike other drugs from its class, consumers are exposed to a heightened risk of permanent alopecia (hair loss).
Additionally, studies have discovered the following health complications as directly related to Taxotere use, many of them undisclosed at market introduction:
- 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)
- Taste changes
It’s helpful to document any adverse Taxotere effects and discuss them with your lawyer.
It’s no secret that many chemotherapy drugs can cause temporary hair loss. This is because chemotherapy drugs are extremely powerful medications, and although they attack and destroy fast spreading cancer cells, they also attack other fast growing cells in the body, such as those responsible for hair growth.
Patients who undergo chemotherapy might notice their hair beginning to fall out. Hair loss can range from mild thinning to complete baldness. Hair loss can also occur in places other than the scalp, as some patients experience hair loss in their eye brows, eye lashes, armpits or pubic areas. After the conclusion of treatment, hair will begin to grow back. At first, it might grow back with a different texture or slight change in color, but over time it should return to normal
However, recent reports have indicated that the chemotherapy drug Taxotere has been causing permanent hair loss in some patients. This condition is known as alopecia, and several women have reported that years after Taxotere treatment, their hair has still yet to grow back. For this reason, many women have filed lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis, the producers of the drug.
Permanent hair loss can have a profound effect on a woman’s life. The inability to regrow hair can cause depression and anxiety stemming from a negative body image.
For over a decade after market introduction, Sanofi-Aventis marketed Taxotere as a clearly superior drug to all other options when used to combat breast cancer.
They validated their claim as they genetically modified the base component of the drug to be more “lethal” than all other drugs of the taxane family.
While studies have since indicated that this modification does not offer an improved ability to defeat cancer than other taxanes, they have shown that the modification often leads to consumers developing permanent alopecia.
Unlike the typical dangerous drug side effect where a major health complication may only effect a minute fraction of consumers, some studies have yielded results suggesting alopecia may be present in as many as 10-15% of consumers.
The aforementioned study defines “permanent” alopecia as the condition lasting more than 3.5 years after taking the drug.
While alopecia was not present on warning labels in the United States until 2016, the warning was present within the European Union as early as 2005.
This extreme time-frame discrepancy would indicate for near certainty that U.S. officials and Sanofi-Aventis were aware of the substantial likelihood that alopecia was a prominent health risk for Taxotere users.
In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was fully aware of the fact that Taxotere was in no way superior to its competition by 2009 at the latest.
Much of the available evidence and test results that indicated this lack of superiority also identified an alopecia risk.
An abundance of evidence and acknowledgement from other agencies would indicate a strong likelihood for the alopecia risk to have been known by Sanofi-Aventis but simply nut disclosed to the American consumer.
While alopecia is not considered a physically life threatening condition, it has been known to have major effects on its victims emotional states.
Many women who suffer from alopecia must face an extremely difficult psychological adjustment that can negatively effect their quality of life in a substantial way.
This psychological fear is so great, that nearly 8% of women refuse to embark on chemotherapy treatment for fear of hair loss.
The additional information that sufferers could have avoided their complication had they been informed of the necessary drug information can lead to even more psychological harm to the women affected.
No known cure or 100% effective treatment method has been developed to combat alopecia. With no medical path to repair the damage alopecia causes available, the psychological struggle can be lifelong after taking Taxotere.
Will The FDA Issue A Drug Recall For Taxotere?
While the FDA has issued demands to Sanofi-Aventis regarding a required label change to all Taxotere packaging as well as a warning to halt deceptive marketing tactics, there has yet to be an official drug recall.
As of June 2016, a recall does not seem imminent, especially as the use of Taxotere decreases due to the expiration of its patent. To learn how a lack of of a recall might impact your Taxotere lawsuit, speak with an experienced lawyer at our firm.
What are the Criteria for Filing a Taxotere Lawsuit?
Taxotere (docetaxel) is a chemotherapy drug approved in the treatment of breast cancer along with other forms of cancer. It is administered intravenously through a vein, and is a member of a family of drugs called taxanes.
In 2007, manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis issued a press release touting the efficacy of Taxotere based on a clinical study. However, Sanofi-Aventis failed to inform the FDA, health care providers, and the public that permanent hair loss was observed in a number of the patients taking Taxotere. While hair loss during chemotherapy is expected, patients undergoing chemotherapy with Taxotere were not warned they could potentially experience permanent hair loss.
Sanofi updated warning labels in Canada in 2005 and Europe in 2012 to warn for this possible side effect, but did not updated U.S. labels until 2015. In December 2015, the FDA announced it had ordered Sanofi-Aventis to change Taxotere’s label to warn patients of the risk of permanent hair loss.
Permanent hair loss is an extremely debilitating condition, especially for women. We are currently investigating claims for women who suffered permanent hair loss following chemotherapy with Taxotere for breast cancer.
Several women have come forward seeking legal action against the manufacturers of the chemotherapy drug Taxotere. Some women claim that their hair has not grown back for more than a decade after treatment ended. If you or a loved one was prescribed chemotherapy with Taxotere, you may be able to recover compensation for your permanent hair loss.
Our attorneys are searching for cancer survivors who meet the following criteria for a Taxotere claim:
- Diagnosed with stage 1 or 2 breast cancer
- Underwent chemotherapy as part of treatment
- Taxotere was used in chemo
- Hair loss occurred where hair has not returned and chemo treatment was completed at least six months prior
- Must have photos of hair loss before and after
- Hair loss includes eyebrows and eyelashes
Are There Current Taxotere Lawsuits?
Ami Dodson, a California woman who underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer in 2010, was one of the first individuals to file a lawsuit claiming Taxotere caused her to suffer from permanent hair loss. Dodson’s claim goes beyond her own personal hair loss; She claims Sanofi-Aventis purposefully engaged in deceptive tactics to drive up the sales of the chemotherapy drug. The lawsuit alleges that once the drug was approved in 1996, Sanofi marketed the drug deceptively and then paid kickbacks to health care providers in an attempt to get them to use the drug for off-label uses.
The lawsuit further claims that Taxotere is not superior to any other taxane chemotherapy drugs, and that Sanofi concealed studies indicating that permanent hair loss was more prevalent in chemotherapy with the drug. They claim that the pharmaceutical company knew about results of a study, as early as in 1990s, that resulted in nearly 10% of participants unable to grow back hair for over a decade. Dodson’s lawsuit also notes that Sanofi published information in other countries about the risk of alopecia, but withheld this information when it released its product in the United States.
The lawsuit is currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
In cases where a large number of people are injured or wronged by a defective or dangerous product, class action lawsuits can be used to consolidate the claims into one large claim against the company. Other times, judges may choose to consolidate specific lawsuits that are very similar in nature in what is known as multi-district litigation.
At this time, no consolidated litigation is pending, however, experts agree that this may materialize in the near future. Our Taxotere lawyers specialize in this type of litigation and can keep you up to date and informed if an opportunity to join a lawsuit exists.
Contact a Taxotere Attorney for Legal Aid
If you or someone in your family has been unable to regrow hair after receiving chemotherapy with Taxotere or Doxetaxel, you may be able to file a lawsuit and recover compensation with the help of our Taxotere lawyers. Allegations that the makers of this medication knew about the risks of permanent hair loss but did not disclose them to the public has caused many women to file lawsuits against the company. Our legal team are experts in bad drug litigation and can help you recover settlement money for the distress and emotional damage permanent hair loss can cause.
It will cost you nothing to file a Taxotere lawsuit with us.