Taxotere is a chemotherapy drug that treats patients by killing cancer cells, especially those of the breast, lungs, stomach, prostate, neck, and head. In addition to killing cancer cells, chemotherapy drugs also kill hair follicles. As such, hair loss is a well-known side effect of chemotherapy treatment. However, with most cancer-killing drugs, the expectation is that the hair will grow back once treatment has stopped. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case for many patients who have used Taxotere. In one recent study, researchers found that permanent hair loss has occurred in 9.2 percent of women using Taxotere. The manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, had different results, claiming that only 3 percent of patients experience permanent hair loss. Women being treated for breast cancer account for the majority of the permanent hair loss cases linked to Taxotere.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added warnings about permanent alopecia (hair loss) to the drug’s label in 2015.
Failure to Warn
There are more than 2.8 million women who have, or have had, breast cancer currently living in the United States. Recent estimates reveal that about 75 percent of those women may have been given a prescription for Taxotere. Fighting cancer can take a serious emotional and physical toll on a woman’s body. Adding permanent hair loss to an already difficult and painful situation can be devastating. Taxotere is currently under investigation for its failure to warn physicians and patients about the link to permanent hair loss. Living with permanent hair loss after battling cancer can be a constant reminder of something you just want to forget. If you have suffered chemo-induced alopecia after taking Taxotere, contact a Boston drug injury lawyer today.
Earlier this year, all Taxotere lawsuits alleging permanent alopecia were ordered to be consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Eastern District of Louisiana. There are currently at least 33 pending federal complaints that accuse Sanofi-Aventis of continuing to market Taxotere as a superior alternative to other chemotherapy medications, despite knowing that the drug was linked to permanent hair loss.
In 2014, researchers at the National Cancer Conference made the following statement: “Long term significant scalp alopecia (here lasting for up to 3.5 years following completion of chemotherapy) may affect 10-15% of patients following docetaxel for EBC [early breast cancer]. This appears to be unrelated to other patient and treatment characteristics.” With 9.2 percent of women experiencing permanent hair loss, and up to 15 percent experiencing long-term significant hair loss, there is obvious cause for concern. If you have suffered hair loss after taking Taxotere, contact a Boston injury lawyer today. Continue reading