Chemo Drug Taxotere Adds More Anguish

A side effect of Taxotere is alopecia, adding even more suffering to cancer patients.

After enduring the physical and emotional challenge of chemotherapy battling cancer, many are now learning that their hair will never grow back – ever. A side effect of Taxotere, a chemotherapy drug, is alopecia, permanent hair loss.

Taxotere, an anti-cancer chemotherapy drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996, which is given intravenously, is approved for the treatment of breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, advanced stomach cancer, head and neck cancer and metastatic prostate cancer and is being researched for the treatment of small cell lung, ovarian, bladder, and pancreatic cancers, soft tissue sarcoma, and melanoma.

A lawsuit against Sanofi-Aventis, the manufacturer of Taxotere, claims that the company didn’t warn patients and physicians about the increased risks of alopecia from the drug. If Sanofi-Aventis had properly warned of the risks, patients would have been prescribed a different chemotherapy drug – Taxol – that does not result in permanent hair loss.

Taxotere isn’t just any drug. In 2004, Taxotere generated $1.4 billion in sales. Taxotere’s safety labeling has been changed and now includes, “Causes of permanent alopecia have been reported.”

Hattie Carson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and was treated with Taxotere. Six months after the conclusion of her treatment, her hair was still not beginning to grow back. Subsequently, she was diagnosed with Taxotere alopecia, which is permanent hair loss.  She has launched a lawsuit in US District Court, Northern District of Ohio. “Although alopecia is a common side effect related to chemotherapy drugs, permanent alopecia is not,” states her lawsuit. “Defendants, through its publications and marketing material, misled Plaintiff, the public, and the medical community to believe that, as with other chemotherapy drugs that cause alopecia, patients’ hair would grow back.”

The numbers are staggering. Nearly 3 million women have a history of breast cancer in the U.S. Of these women, about 75% were prescribed Taxotere.

If you or someone you care about has survived breast cancer, but now suffers from permanent baldness, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Rosenberg & Gluck today for a free, confidential legal consultation to learn more about your options.

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