Unfortunately, there are approximately 3 million women in the U.S. living with breast cancer. Many go through some type of chemotherapy in their battle with the disease, and hair loss is a common side effect for most patients during cancer treatment. However, it is typically a temporary condition where the hair eventually grows back.
Taxotere (Docetaxel) is an intravenous anti-cancer (“antineoplastic” or “cytotoxic”) chemotherapy drug used to treat breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer and head/neck cancer. It is used to interfere with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. Taxotere is usually given in combination with other chemotherapy medicines after surgery and is the most widely used breast cancer drug in its class.
Alopecia / Loss of Hair Side Effect
Taxotere is known to cause one of the most serious and distressing side effects: permanent alopecia or the loss of hair/baldness. While hair loss is common during treatment with other chemotherapy drugs, it is expected that the hair will grow back.
With Taxotere, studies show an increased risk that hair will NOT grow back. A 2013 study published by the National Cancer Research Institute found permanent hair loss, or alopecia, to occur in 10-15% of patients who took Taxotere. Permanent alopecia can affect the entire body including loss of eyebrows, eyelashes and pubic hair. There is no antidote for chemo-induced alopecia.
Taxotere is a chemotherapy drug sold by Sanofi-Aventis. It has become one of the most popular drugs used to treat breast cancer. The FDA has also cleared Taxotere to treat a variety of other cancers including head and neck cancer, advanced stomach cancer and metastatic prostate cancer.
Over 10 years ago in 2005, the European Union required that the manufacturer of Taxotere place a warning of the side effect of persistent hair loss on the product. However even after being forced to include this warning in Europe, the manufacturer failed to place this warning on the product here in the United States until December 2015 when the FDA directed a label change mandating that the product label include the information that cases of permanent alopecia (hair loss) have been reported with use of Taxotere.
The Taxotere lawsuits are based upon the failure of the manufacturer of Taxotere to warn patients and physicians of the increased risks of permanent alopecia (hair loss) through the use of Taxotere during chemotherapy. The lawsuits state that if the manufacturer had properly warned of the risk, patients would have been prescribed a different chemotherapy drug called Taxol, which is more effective, and does not result in permanent hair loss.
If you have experienced either permanent hair loss or baldness after undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer, you may be entitled to compensation. Call 1800LAW1010 for a free case evaluation.
Harding Mazzotti, LLP is here to help. We have several locations across New York State and Vermont: Schenectady, NY, Albany, NY, Saratoga, NY, Plattsburgh, NY, Buffalo, NY, New York City, NY, White Plains, NY, Rochester, NY – as well as Manchester, VT and Burlington, VT.