Taxotere (Generic name: Docetaxel) is an intravenous chemotherapy drug that is manufactured and marketed by Sanofi-Aventi. Its use, for the treatment of breast cancer, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1996. It was also eventually approved by the FDA to treat other types of cancer, including non-small cell lung cancer, prostate cancer, gastric cancer, and head and neck cancer.
For women who have, or formerly had, breast cancer and had chemotherapy treatments, the most common symptom is hair loss. This, however, is just a temporary effect of chemotherapy as patients are assured that their hair will grow back from three to six months after treatment (chemotherapy targets all rapidly dividing cells – both healthy cells and cancer cells. Hair follicles, which are filled with tiny blood vessels that make hair, are among the fastest-growing cells inside the human body). However, for breast cancer patients, who have been treated with the drug Taxotere, loss of hair seems to be a permanent effect, as some have complained of no hair growth for as long as 10 years and some even longer. Worse than permanent hair loss or permanent alopecia, though is “alopecia universalis,” which is total hair loss on the scalp and on different parts of the body, including the eyebrows, eyelashes, under arms and around the genital area.
Different studies that revolved around the circumstances which affect women with breast cancer have consistently revealed that the most stressful side effect of cancer treatment is hair loss, more specifically, permanent hair loss, which results from the use of Taxotere. Breast cancer patients claim that permanent hair loss has profoundly impacted their well-being and quality of life.
Unlike women outside of the U.S. who were warned as early as 2005 of the permanent hair loss that results from the use of Taxotere, women in the U.S. were never made aware until December of 2015, after the FDA mandated Sanofi-Aventis to issue a warning about Taxotere use. Due to this concealment of information, patients were never allowed to make an an informed choice, of choosing the equally effective Paclitaxel, which did not have the same side effect.
A breast cancer drug alopecia lawsuit, which accuses Sanofi-Aventis of selling Taxotere without disclosing its dangers or risks and concealment of information from the public, is just one of the legal actions filed against the drug’s manufacturers. For women, who now suffer the damaging condition that has resulted from Taxotere use, permanent alopecia will make them look like cancer patients for the rest of their lives.