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Taxotere Lawsuit

Studies have shown that 3-6% of Taxotere users experience permanent hair loss or baldness after using the medication– a risk that, until December 2015, was not even mentioned on the box label as a possible adverse reaction.

Manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis may be held accountable for failing to warn women seeking breast cancer treatment of this known side effect. Eisbrouch Marsh product liability lawyers are here to lend a sympathetic ear and help explain options for legal recourse in the form of filing a Taxotere lawsuit.

Taxotere side effects

Taxotere side effects, both common and rare, may include:

  • Low white blood cell count (99%)
  • Alopecia (up to 98%)
  • Anemia (up to 94%)
  • Amenorrhea (up to 62%)
  • Fluid retention (up to 60%)
  • Neurosensory events (up to 58%)
  • Diarrhea (up to 43%)
  • Stomatitis swelling and sores of the mouth (42%)
  • Nausea (up to 42%)
  • Nail changes (up to 41%)
  • Platelet deficiency leading to easy bruising and slow blood clotting (up to 39%)
  • Musculoskeletal pain (up to 33%)
  • Infections (up to 33%) – including severe infections, septic death, oral yeast infections (up to 10%)
  • Hypersensitivity with rashes, back pain, fever, chills, and chest tightness (10-33%)
  • Constipation (up to 25%)
  • Weight loss (up to 21%)
  • Esophagitis (up to 16%)
  • Dizziness (up to 16%)
  • Weight gain (up to 15%)
  • Insomnia (10% or more)
  • Hemorrhaging episodes (up to 10%)
  • Hypotension or hypertension (up to 10%)
  • Severe gastrointestinal cramping and pain (up to 10%)
  • Dry tear ducts and conjunctivitis (up to 11%)
  • Cough and throat pain (up to 10%)
  • Impaired hearing (up to 10%)

A July 2012 study analyzing 38 cancer drugs from 2000 to 2010 found a 40% increased risk of death from a serious side effect with users of new cancer drugs like Avastin, Taxotere, and Sutent compared to standard therapies. The results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology with the conclusion that death from chemotherapy drug complications was still extremely rare (fewer than 1%) and that the risk-benefit analysis of treatment is complicated. For some patients, the benefit of using these drugs may still outweigh the risks.

Studies link Taxotere with permanent hair loss

Prior to the December 2015 label update notifying patients that “cases of permanent alopecia have been reported,” Sanofi-Aventis stated that one’s “hair generally grows back” after completing treatment, even though internal studies suggested rates of permanent hair loss of about 3%.

In 2006, Dr. Scot Sedlacek found that 6.3% of breast cancer patients grew back less than 50% of their hair following treatment with the popular combination therapy of Taxotere, Adriamycin (docorubicin) and Cytoxan.

A 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology  warned of “an increasing number of reports of permanent chemotherapy-induced alopecia,” including cases related to Taxotere, specifically.

Taxotere-related baldness

UK Cancer Survivor 56-year-old Shirley Ledlie is one of many women whose lives have been forever changed by their use of chemotherapy drug Taxotere. “I used to be famous for my long auburn locks. I’d get complimented on my ‘stunning’ glossy mane a lot,” she told Mirror. “But in 2005, aged 46, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I didn’t just lose my beautiful hair temporarily, I lost it forever. My oncologist prescribed me a cocktail of chemotherapy drugs, one of which, Taxotere, can cause permanent baldness in some women who have the treatment. That wasn’t explained to me fully at the time.”

She adds: “If I had known the side effects, would I have refused the drug? Absolutely. There is another drug, Taxol, which is as effective and the risk of permanent hair loss is negligible. Instead, today, I am almost bald. It took me seven years to grieve for my former flame-haired self. For so long, I’d go to sleep in floods of tears and wake up feeling like a freak. Given the choice I would rather have lost my breasts than my hair.”

Support groups have been created online to help former Taxotere users cope with permanent baldness and to crusade for the company to take full accountability for its failure to warn.

Taxotere lawsuit alleges failure to warn

The first Taxotere lawsuits are being filed following the December 2015 safety labeling changes approved by the FDA. The lawsuits state that Sanofi-Aventis failed to warn patients and physicians of the increased risk of permanent alopecia (baldness) and that, had the patients been aware of the risks, they would have chosen a different chemotherapy drug like Taxol, which is just as effective but without this adverse side effect.

Women who pursue litigation may be eligible to receive substantial compensation for the emotional pain and suffering caused by their Taxotere-related baldness.

Possibility of Taxotere settlements

As of this time, there has been no group or individual settlement, nor has there been any sort of Taxotere class action lawsuit filed. Pharmacaeutical litigation often takes a few years to come together. Given the information that has recently come out about the known risks identified in the manufacturer’s own clinical trials, we expect an increase in lawsuit filings as more patients come forward with similar Taxotere side effects.

If enough lawsuits are filed that a consolidated multi-district litigation (“MDL”) is formed, the processes of discovery and investigation would be streamlined, leading to expedited Taxotere settlement negotiations and jury trials. Though it is still too early in the process to make any sort of prediction as to how the litigation will unfold over time, it is very important that anyone who believes they may have sustained permanent hair loss after using the chemotherapy drug come forward to preserve their legal rights.

Assistance filing a chemotherapy drug lawsuit

The law firm of Eisbrouch Marsh, LLC has been representing victims of drug company negligence for more than 25 years. Our attorneys have extensive experience in mass tort litigation.

If you have suffered permanent baldness after being treated with Taxotere, call 201-977-6758 for a free no-obligation consultation to explore your legal right to compensation and take the first steps toward closure.

Resources:

  1. Drugs.com – Taxotere Side Effects http://www.drugs.com/sfx/taxotere-side-effects.html
  2. Mirror - 'I'd rather have lost my breasts than my hair' - Woman devastated after cancer treatment left her bald http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/id-lost-breasts-hair-woman-6854941
  3. Journal of Clinical Oncology - The Price We Pay for Progress: A Meta-Analysis of Harms of Newly Approved Anticancer Drugs http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2012/07/16/JCO.2011.40.3824
  4. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology - Permanent chemotherapy-induced alopecia: case report and review of the literature. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20471136
  5. FDA – Taxotere safety information http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/ucm212079.htm