Taxotere, an anti-cancer chemotherapy medication has been linked to permanent hair loss among women treated for breast cancer.
In December 2015, the FDA announced a label change for this drug due to reports of permanent hair loss in cancer patients treated with Taxotere, As a result, lawsuits are being brought on behalf of U.S. women whose breast cancer was treated with Taxotere alleging that the manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis failed to adequately warn about the risk of baldness (alopecia).
What Is Taxotere?
Taxotere (generic name: docetaxel) has been approved to treat certain cancers including breast cancer. Classified as a "plant alkaloid", Taxotere is a semisynthetic taxane derived from the bark of the Pacific yew tree (taxus). Taxanes work by attacking the cells inhibiting their ability to divide and replicate. This in turn results in cell death. Taxotere is administered intravenously during chemotherapy treatment. The amount given will vary depending on various factors including height and weight of the patient.
In addition to the now acknowledged permanent hair loss risk, Taxotere side effects include:
While temporary hair loss is a common result of chemotherapy, permanent hair loss is NOT a common side effect.
Reports Of A Link Between Taxotere and Hair Loss
Recently the FDA issued a safety alert and drug safety labeling change for Taxotere after receiving multiple reports of permanent hair loss. The new label will reflect the warning about the risk of permanent hair loss.
Previously, the label implied that any hair loss would be temporary:
"Hair Loss - Loss of hair occurs in most patients taking Taxotere (including the hair on your head, underarm hair, pubic hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes). Hair loss will begin after the first few treatments and varies from patient to patient. Once you have completed all your treatments, hair generally grows back."
Sanofi-Aventis May Have Mis-lead Patients and Doctors In The U.S.
Studies in Europe and the U.S. show that permanent hair loss was a side effect for many cancer patients treated with Taxotere. It is alleged that Sanofi-Aventis was aware of this risk, but failed to warn U.S. doctors until January 2016 after the FDA issued a warning. This in spite of warning the European medical community in 2005 and Canadian doctors in 2010 about the permanent hair loss risk. Studies show that as many as 10% of patients taking Taxotere could experience hair loss without regrowth.
Because the manufacturer did not issue a warning in the U.S. until early 2016, many American women suffering from breast cancer were unknowingly subjected to a risk of permanent hair loss. For many women, their hair is an important part of their identity. For breast cancer survivors, permanent hair loss not only affects how they feel about themselves, it is a daily reminder of their battle against cancer.
Getting Help For Your Taxotere Lawsuit
Women that were injected with Taxotere to treat their breast cancer and now have permanent hair loss should discuss their legal options with an experienced drug liability attorney.
Lawsuits have only recently been filed in California and other states against manufacturer Sanofi alleging that their anti-cancer drug Taxotere is linked to alopecia. So far it is too early to gauge the future of any settlements however, you should not wait to hire a lawyer if you feel you may have a case. Every state has their own statute of limitations (SOL) to file a personal injury claim. You could risk losing your legal rights and any chance of a settlement if you wait to file your lawsuit. Attorneys at D. Miller and Associates are now investing these claims and can help your with your initial assessment to see if your eligible for the Taxotere lawsuit.