Taxotere Hair Loss: Why Are Cancer Survivors Complaining? • (2023)

3. November 2021/ Erica Davis / Generally / 0 comments

For many people, hair loss can be devastating. It can lead to a loss of self-esteem and ultimately cause anxiety, depression, and other emotional problems.

However, this stress can be even more traumatic for a cancer patient. Like many others, they feel that their hair is a big part of who they are. Women with breast cancer even identified hair loss as one of the most feared side effects of breast cancer treatment.

In most cases, a patient's hair will grow back after the full treatment is complete. But that's not the case for everyone. Some may also experience permanent hair loss or thinning hair as a result of treatment.

For example, Taxotere, an intravenous chemotherapy drug used primarily to treat breast cancer, has been linked to several cases of permanent hair loss, also known medically as alopecia.

However, the drug has caused a lot of controversy in recent years and up to now because the manufacturer of the drug did not mention the side effect of permanent alopecia. This prompted thousands of plaintiffs to file a lawsuittaxotere claimthrough the United States.

What is Taxotere used for?

Taxotere, also known by its chemical name docetaxel, is approved for the treatment of breast cancer and has been used for that purpose for more than twenty years.

However, the drug can also be used to treat other types of cancer, including lung, stomach, prostate, and head and neck cancer. Taxotere is administered to a patient through a vein as there is no pill form of the drug.

Taxotere is one of the anti-cancer drugs known as taxanes. Another chemotherapy drug included in this class is taxol (paclitaxel). Patients may choose Taxotere over Taxol as the former is administered once every three weeks while the latter is administered weekly.

What many patients don't realize, however, is the risk of permanent hair loss as a result of treatment with Taxotere. Few patients are aware of this danger, which does not exist with other alternatives or docetaxel-like drugs.

How does Taxotere cause hair loss?

Like any other chemotherapy, Taxotere works by attacking cancer cells in the body. But different cancer drugs target cancer cells in different ways.

In the case of Taxotere, it works by attacking the cytoskeleton, which is a support structure of each cell that helps it maintain its shape and internal organization. Damage to the cystoskeleton can impede cell growth or reproduction.

Taxotere makes this support structure very rigid in some cancer cells, allowing those cells to stop growing. However, while chemotherapy drugs only target malignant cancer cells, they also tend to target other rapidly dividing cells, including hair follicles.

Hair follicles are the skin structures from which hair grows. They also contain some of the fastest growing cells in the body. In people not undergoing cancer treatment, hair follicles divide every 23 to 72 hours.

However, because hair follicle cells are also damaged when Taxotere attacks cancer cells, patients may lose some or all of their hair. This can happen gradually or quickly. In most cases, however, this negative effect on hair follicle cells can be temporary, and many patients experience new hair growth several months after completing treatment.

However, this may not always be the case in people being treated with Taxotere. In fact, permanent damage to hair follicles has been found in up to six percent of patients using the drug.

Why is there a lawsuit?

A Taxotere hair loss lawsuit includes a claim called "non-warning." The absence of adequate warnings is considered a product defect in a strict liability case.

The plaintiffs who have filed a lawsuit against Taxotere allege that Sanofi-Aventis, the maker of the chemotherapy drug, failed to warn patients that they could experience permanent hair loss as a result of taking Taxotere.

The original prescribing information for the claimed drug:

“Hair loss occurs in the majority of patients taking Taxotere (including scalp hair, armpit hair, pubic hair, eyebrows and eyelashes). Hair loss begins after the first few treatments and varies from patient to patient. Once you've completed all your treatments, the hair usually grows back."

However, since 2005 there has been increasing evidence of the association of Taxotere with permanent alopecia through the medical literature examining this association. But it wasn't until 2015 that Sanofi-Aventis updated the chemotherapy drug's label to include the risks of permanent hair loss or alopecia.

To date, 10,000 breast cancer survivors and their families across the country have filed lawsuits against Taxotere. And lawsuits are expected to increase as more patients become aware of their rights to seek compensation.

How common is permanent hair loss in Taxotere?

Sanofi-Aventis claims that persistent alopecia occurs in only about three percent of patients. This estimate differs from the results of other studies that have found an increased risk of permanent balding in Taxotere users.

A study from the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center in Colorado found that the long-term rate of alopecia was as high as 6.3 percent when Taxotere was co-administered with the drugs adriamycin (doxorubicin) and cyclophosphamide (cytophosphane).

According to a study:

"The emotionally devastating long-term toxicity of these combinations must be considered when deciding on adjuvant chemotherapy regimens in women who are likely to be cured of their breast cancer."

In addition, a study by the Clatterbridge Cancer Center in the UK found that 15.8 percent or 21 of the 134 Taxotere patients involved in the study suffered from persistent hair loss on the scalp.

The Clatterbirdge Cancer Center emphasized the importance of adequately warning patients about this risk.

“Long-term hair loss has a significant impact on survival quality. The risk should be routinely discussed (as part of the informed consent process) with all patients starting Taxotere as part of early breast cancer treatment."

The Emotional Effects of Hair Loss

Hair loss can affect many people emotionally because it is so visible. If hair does not grow back after treatment, you may still be considered sick, making you feel like your recovery is being delayed.

Most importantly, cancer survivors can view hair regrowth as a symbol of overcoming their disease. You may have to deal with this emotional aspect while trying to process the unwanted changes in your body as a result of the treatment.

However, it is important to note that you are not alone. If you're concerned about treatment-related hair loss, don't be ashamed to talk about your feelings. We all struggle with something in our lives, and it can be helpful to talk to a family member, friend, or psychologist.

What you can do

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Sanofi-Aventis two warnings against illegally marketing Taxotere. In 2002, the FDA warned the manufacturer against advertising the drug for non-small cell lung cancer.

Years later, in 2009, the regulator again warned the company about its advertising of Taxotere's use in breast and lung cancer. The FDA found that the commercials "misleadingly overstate the survival benefits of Taxotere and imply that survival depends on treatment with Taxotere, while downplaying the serious and life-threatening risks associated with the drug."

Additionally, in a 2015 lawsuit, a former Sanofi employee alleged that the company used bribes to get healthcare professionals to prescribe Taxotere.

Critics say these illegal marketing tactics led to overuse of the drug that was not based on evidence. Unsuspecting patients treated with this drug initially thought it would help them through their battle with cancer.

However, some patients were unprepared for the possibility of permanent hair loss with Taxotere. This side effect can have a detrimental effect on a woman's self-esteem and quality of life.

Most importantly, a cancer victim who has already gone through a lot to survive and thrive with their disease should not be burdened with the risk of their hair not growing back.

If you or a loved one were undergoing chemotherapy treatment with Taxotere and have experienced permanent hair loss as a result of your treatment, you can take legal action against the manufacturer. Contact us today to learn more about how to exercise your rights.

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Taxotere Hair Loss: Why Are Cancer Survivors Complaining? • (1)

Author:Erica Davis

Erica is our writer and oversees all Drugwatcher content.

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Is permanent hair loss a side effect of Taxotere? ›

Patients undergoing chemotherapy with Taxol (paclitaxel) are able to regrow their hair after their course of treatment is completed. However, with Taxotere, the hair loss can be permanent. Taxotere has been used in the treatment of breast cancer for over twenty years.

How common is permanent hair loss with Taxotere? ›

Taxotere manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, alleges that long-term alopecia–permanent hair loss–only occurs in about three percent of patients. This differs from the findings of other studies, which identified a higher risk of permanent baldness. Dr.

Is there a lawsuit against Taxotere? ›

Over the last year, a growing number of product liability lawsuits have been filed against Sanofi by women who took Taxotere for chemotherapy and suffered permanent vision damage from excessive tearing.

Is there a lawsuit against Taxotere alopecia? ›

Taxotere lawsuits claim the chemotherapy drug can cause permanent hair loss and eye damage, including vision loss. There are nearly 11,000 Taxotere lawsuits pending in Louisiana federal court as of October 2022. Litigation is ongoing and no settlements have been announced.

Does everyone lose their hair on Taxotere? ›

Most people will lose all their hair, including eyebrows, eyelashes and body hair. You may begin to lose your hair about two weeks after the first treatment, but it can happen earlier.

What are the long term effects of Taxotere? ›

The most common long-term side effects of docetaxel are two types of nerve damage called sensory and motor peripheral neuropathy. Although it is less common, patients have also reported hair loss that lasts for years and appears to be permanent. In extremely rare cases, patients have developed leukemia.

Did your hair grow back after Taxotere? ›

As long as the hair follicles have not been permanently destroyed by Taxotere, the hair should regrow. But up to about 6% of Taxotere patients have permanent hair follicle damage.

What chemo drug causes the most hair loss? ›

Chemo Drugs That Usually Cause Hair Loss
  • Cytoxan or Neosar (cyclophosphamide)
  • Ifex (ifosfamide)
  • Adriamycin or Doxil (doxorubicin)
  • Vepesid or Toposar (etoposide)
  • Camptosar (irinotecan)
  • Taxol (paclitaxel)
  • Taxotere (docetaxel)
  • Ellence (epirubicin),
May 21, 2022

Is there a chemotherapy that doesn't cause hair loss? ›

Can hair loss be prevented? No treatment exists that can guarantee your hair won't fall out during or after chemotherapy. Several treatments have been investigated as possible ways to prevent hair loss, but none has been absolutely effective, including: Scalp cooling caps (scalp hypothermia).

What does Taxotere do to your body? ›

About: Docetaxel (Taxotere)

Docetaxel works by disrupting the microtubular network in cells, which is essential for cell division and other normal cellular functions. Docetaxel interferes with the function of microtubules, resulting in inactive microtubule bundles, causing cells to die.

Is there an alternative to Taxotere? ›

Taxol (Paclitaxel)

Like Taxotere, Taxol is a member of the taxane family of medicines. It is designed to stop cancer cells from repairing themselves and inhibit the growth of new ones. Both drugs operate the same way and there is no drop-off in quality when choosing Taxol.

Is Taxotere still on the market? ›

Has Taxotere Been Recalled? With the side effects of Taxotere, you may want to know if the authorities have recalled it. The U.S. FDA has not pulled the drug from the market. However, that Taxotere is still legally circulating doesn't affect your lawsuit against the manufacturer.

What are the most common side effects of Taxotere? ›

Pain or swelling at the injection site, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive tearing, fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness, feeling drunk, constipation, and loss of appetite may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting.

Is drug induced alopecia reversible? ›

Drug-induced hair loss is usually completely reversible and is, in most cases, a consequence of a toxic effect of the drug on the hair follicle matrix. In rare cases alopecia may be permanent.

Which is worse Taxol or Taxotere? ›

Early studies indicated that Taxotere might be more aggressive and successful at eliminating cancerous cells in the body because the drug could infiltrate the cell at higher levels than Taxol.

What are the worst days on Taxotere? ›

It was neoadjuvant chemotherapy, including Taxanes (Taxotere), Carboplatin, and Trastuzumab (Herceptin). Days 4 and 5 were the hardest: nausea or just energy, emotions. Got better on Day 6 and got better on Day 7.

How to stimulate hair growth? ›

Eating more protein, using products made with caffeine, avoiding permanent dye, and reducing your stress are just a few things you can do to promote healthier and faster hair growth.
These nutrients can include:
  1. biotin.
  2. vitamin C.
  3. vitamin D.
  4. vitamin E.
  5. zinc.
  6. iron.
  7. omega-3 and omega-6.
Jun 18, 2020

Why is prednisone given with Taxotere? ›

Background: Prednisone and other corticosteroids can provide palliation and tumor responses in patients with prostate cancer. The combination of docetaxel and prednisone was the first treatment shown to prolong survival in men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC).

What are the long term side effects of Taxotere and Cytoxan? ›

They include:
  • Increased risk of infection. Increased risk of getting an infection is due to a drop in white blood cells. ...
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss. You might not feel like eating and may lose weight. ...
  • Numbness of fingers and toes. ...
  • Taste changes. ...
  • Sore mouth. ...
  • Feeling or being sick. ...
  • Skin changes.

How many years does chemo stay in your body? ›

It generally takes about 48 to 72 hours for your body to break down and/or get rid of most chemo drugs.

How long does it take for docetaxel to leave your system? ›

In general, the chemotherapy drug- Docetaxel may take 2-3 days to leave the body altogether. Precautions such as staying hydrated during the chemotherapy may help flush off the excess drug dose out of the system.

Does Taxotere prolong life? ›

three months). The SWOG trial investigators reported a 27-percent increase in disease-progression-free survival and a 55-percent increase in objective response rate in the Taxotere®-containing arm. In addition, the majority of patients had a PSA decline of more than 50 percent.

What is best for hair growth after chemo? ›

Hair growth after chemo can be stimulated to grow back faster by applying minoxidil or minoxidil alternatives. Research suggests that minoxidil (Rogaine) might speed up hair regrowth after chemo.

What is the best moisturizer for chemo scalp? ›

Try a moisturizer that contains ceramides such as CeraVe® or Curel® or organic oils such as coconut, sesame or olive oils.

How do you fight hair loss from chemo? ›

Look into cold caps and scalp cooling systems.

These devices have helped many people keep some or quite a bit of their hair during chemotherapy. Learn more about preventing hair loss with Cold Caps and Scalp Cooling Systems.

What shampoo is good for hair loss after chemo? ›

Use baby shampoo or other mild shampoo (such as Aveeno® or Vanicream™). You should also use a cream rinse or hair conditioner. Use shampoos and conditioners that have sunscreen to prevent sun damage to your scalp. Always rinse your hair well and pat it dry with a soft towel.

What supplements prevent hair loss during chemo? ›

Other vitamins and supplements that show up in claimed hair-growing products include vitamin C, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, amino acids, B vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin E. All of these are basic ingredients in most vitamin supplements (including prenatal vitamins, which many swear by to help their hair grow).

Can hair loss from chemo be permanent? ›

Chemotherapy destroys cancer cells, but it also kills healthy cells. As a result, it has some severe side effects, including possible hair loss. Many people lose some or all of their hair if they undergo chemotherapy. However, this effect is rarely permanent, and the hair should grow back once treatment is over.

What is the best oil for hair growth after chemo? ›

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are said to encourage regrowth, and many cancer patients wanting hair growth often times rub essential oils such as rosemary, ylang-ylang, bergamot and lavender into their scalp to regenerate and stimulate the cells.

Can hair grow back after thinning? ›

Thinning hair can grow back depending on what caused it to thin in the first place. People who experience thinning hair due to nutrient deficiencies, stress, pregnancy, and other nongenetic reasons could experience regrowth. If you're experiencing new hair loss or hair thinning, it's best to consult your doctor.

Why is dexamethasone given with Taxotere? ›

A small number of people who take Taxotere have severe fluid retention, which can be life- threatening. To help avoid this problem, you must take another medication such as dexamethasone (DECKS-A-METH-A-SONE) prior to each Taxotere treatment.

How strong is Taxotere? ›

Taxotere is a highly powerful chemotherapy drug. It's about two times as potent as another chemo drug called paclitaxel, and at least five times more potent against paclitaxel-resistant cells.

How good is Taxotere? ›

Taxotere has an average rating of 4.8 out of 10 from a total of 10 reviews on 33% of reviewers reported a positive experience, while 56% reported a negative experience.

Does Taxotere cause neuropathy? ›

Docetaxel (Taxotere), a semisynthetic analogue of the antitumor agent paclitaxel, inhibits tubulin depolymerization. Paclitaxel produces a peripheral neuropathy.

What class of drug is Taxotere? ›

Drug Type:

Taxotere is an anti-cancer ("antineoplastic" or "cytotoxic") chemotherapy drug. Taxotere is classified as a "plant alkaloid," a "taxane" and an "antimicrotubule agent." (For more detail, see "How Taxotere Works" section below).

How long do you take Taxotere? ›

Health care providers administer Taxotere through an IV for one hour every three weeks, according to the drug's label. Depending on the type of cancer, this can continue for several cycles.

How many cycles of docetaxel can you have? ›

In a clinical trial of docetaxel for CRPC, the frequencies of PN were 32% [1] (maximum 10 cycles) and 41% (maximum 12 cycles) [17]. Considering the results of the present study, the incidence of PN with docetaxel is higher in patients with CRPC than in those with other cancers.

Is Taxol better than Taxotere? ›

"In all groups, there was a trend for Taxotere to be a better drug," Dr. Ravdin said. Taxotere recipients showed greater tumor shrinkage and tended to live longer " 15.4 months on average vs. 12.7 months for Taxol recipients.

What foods to avoid when taking DOCEtaxel? ›

DOCEtaxel food

You should preferably avoid the regular consumption of grapefruits and grapefruit juice while taking DOCEtaxel. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can significantly increase the blood levels of DOCEtaxel.

Does Taxotere cause eye problems? ›

The chemotherapy drug Taxotere, which is the brand name of docetaxel, has been linked to a range of potential eye injuries and vision problems, like teary eyes and obstructed tear ducts. Some of these eye side effects may be permanent or require surgical intervention to correct.

How long after stopping medication will hair stop falling out? ›

Once a person has ceased the medication, hair can take up to 6 months to grow back. Some people may notice hair growth within 3–6 months, but it may take 12–18 months for the hair to return to normal.

What is the new hair loss drug? ›

Baricitinib oral tablets — developed by Eli Lilly and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year — is the first systemic treatment for alopecia areata.

Does new hair grow during telogen effluvium? ›

Telogen effluvium is the name for a common cause of temporary hair loss due to the excessive shedding of resting or telogen hair after some shock to the system. New hair continues to grow. Telogen hair is also known as a club hair due to the shape of the root.

Does Taxotere cause permanent hair loss? ›

Taxotere and Pacilitaxel are equally effective, but Taxotere has the added risk of permanent hair loss. Hair loss is typical with chemotherapy, but hair growth resumes shortly after treatments have finished.

Is docetaxel hair loss permanent? ›

Conclusions: Both docetaxel and paclitaxel may cause permanent scalp hair loss, but it is significantly more prevalent with docetaxel compared with paclitaxel.

Does chemo cause long term hair loss? ›

Hair usually grows back after chemotherapy. It may be curlier, finer or a different colour. You might find that it grows unevenly or in patches. These changes are rarely permanent.

Can chemo cause permanent alopecia? ›

High-dose chemotherapy used in the setting of hematopoietic cell transplantation leads to rapid and complete alopecia [22]. Some chemotherapy agents may cause prolonged or permanent alopecia, most notably docetaxel given at doses of 75 mg/m2 or higher per cycle, and less commonly paclitaxel [23-27].

What vitamins help hair growth after chemo? ›

The best vitamin to combat hair loss from chemo and stimulate hair growth after chemo is Biotin, or vitamin B7. Biotin is the go to vitamin when talking about healthy hair, skin, and nails. Biotin stimulates the keratin production in hair and can increase the rate of follicle growth.

When will my hair grow back after docetaxel? ›

By 3 months, hair loss is often complete.

Hair regrowth after chemotherapy usually starts within 1 to 3 months after the therapy has finished.

Is there chemo that doesn't cause hair loss? ›

Chemotherapy. Most people think that chemotherapy drugs always cause hair loss. But some don't cause any hair loss at all or only slight thinning. Other types of chemotherapy may cause complete hair loss.

Why did my hair grow back thin after chemo? ›

That's because chemo targets rapidly growing cells, which damages hair follicles and makes the hair fall out. But radiation therapy can sometimes cause hair loss, too, when it's used to treat head and neck cancers. It depends on the area that's receiving radiation.

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