Taxotere & Alopecia: The Link Between the Two

The A&M TeamDangerous Drugs

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We recently told you about the dangerous side effects associated with the breast cancer chemotherapy drug, Taxotere, and that it may be linked to alopecia (permanent hair loss) in certain patients. Manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis, Taxotere has the potential to leave patients with permanent, devastating hair loss following chemotherapy treatment for cancer. In the past, doctors and other medical professionals were under the impression that Taxotere was the number one choice – the only choice, really – for patients with breast cancer who require chemotherapy treatment. However, it has been uncovered that there is in fact another drug (Taxol) on the market that will treat patients with advanced or metastatic breast cancer that does not result in permanent hair loss.

In recent months we have seen a rise in the number of lawsuits brought against the manufacturer of Taxotere, as patients and doctors alike are realizing the connection between the chemotherapy drug and alopecia. These lawsuits claim that the manufacturer of the drug failed to warn patients and doctors about the increased risks of alopecia through the use of Taxotere during chemotherapy. Furthermore, plaintiffs are stating that, if the manufacturer would have stated the risks of using Taxotere, they would have been prescribed Taxol, which is said to be just as effective, without the side effects. Today we are going to look at the connection between Taxotere and alopecia to provide you with a deeper understanding of why these lawsuits are so serious.

What is Alopecia?

While it is true that many chemotherapy patients experience some form of hair loss, it is usually temporary. However, those who have been prescribed Taxotere are at risk of experiencing permanent hair loss, or alopecia. Alopecia is a serious condition that can occur anywhere on the body, from the head all the way down to the legs and feet. Those with alopecia may experience hair loss either gradually, in sections, or all at once. Some patients have reported their hair becoming thin and duller or dryer before falling out.

Understanding the Different Types of Alopecia

In order to better understand the connection between Taxotere and alopecia, let’s look at the various types of alopecia:

  • Alopecia Areata – This is the most common type of the disease and is usually characterized by hair loss followed by round, smooth patches in a wide range of sizes
  • Alopecia Totalis – This is when a patient experiences hair loss on the scalp
  • Alopecia Universalis – This is the rarest form of the disease and occurs when the patient loses their hair over the scalp and entire body

Patients who have been prescribed Taxotere may be at risk for experiencing any of the above types of alopecia. In many cases, hair loss is far more than a change in physical appearance, but it can lead to depression and can be emotionally damaging. If you or a loved one has been prescribed Taxotere and has experienced alopecia or any of the other side effects, please contact Atkins & Markoff today. Our knowledgeable Oklahoma personal injury attorneys understand how serious these types of cases are and will do everything in our power to ensure justice is served.