Allegations Chemo Drug Taxotere Causes Permanent Hair Loss

The chemotherapy drug Taxotere has been touted as a powerful cancer fighter for many years, helping those with some types of cancer find effective treatment for their illness.

However, one of the potential side effects related to Taxotere, permanent hair loss, has not been widely publicized by the drug’s manufacturer, Sanofi. Patients who have not been warned about this potential side effect may be diagnosed with permanent alopecia after their cancer treatments.

Now, some of those patients are considering legal action against Sanofi, claiming lack of adequate warnings left them at a distinct disadvantage when choosing their cancer treatment.

What is Taxotere?

Taxotere is a chemotherapy drug prescribed to treat some types of breast, lung, stomach, prostate, and head and neck cancers. It is also currently under investigation for the treatment of additional cancers, including ovarian, bladder and pancreatic cancers. The drug is given intravenously and dosing depends on the type of cancer and the patient’s height, weight and overall health.

Taxotere and hair loss

Taxotere is linked to numerous side effects common with other chemotherapy medications, including nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, weakness, and hair loss. However, while temporary hair loss is a common byproduct of some chemotherapy treatments, permanent hair loss is not typical. In fact, Taxotere is the only medication at this time that has been linked to reports of permanent hair loss among some cancer patients.

No warning of permanent alopecia

To date, the warning label for Taxotere in the US has not indicated the drug could cause permanent alopecia or hair loss. This has left some chemotherapy patients vulnerable to permanent disfigurement without knowledge that they were putting themselves at risk. Even more troubling is the fact that other chemotherapy medications that are just as effective as Taxotere are not linked to permanent hair loss.

Despite the lack of a proper warning, studies have indicated permanent alopecia may be a risk with Taxotere for some time. According to a recent product liability lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in California, a 2005 study known as the GEICAM 9805 demonstrated that nearly 10 percent of the test patients that took Taxotere in this study suffered persistent alopecia that lasted at least 10 years and five months. In 2006, a Colorado oncologist noted that more than six percent of the patients he treated with Taxotere continued to suffer with hair loss for many years after their treatments.

In December 2015, the FDA acknowledged there have been reports of permanent hair loss in some patients using Taxotere. That announcement by the FDA preceded a label change for the product, noting the possibility of permanent hair loss.

Seeking legal action

Now, individuals like the plaintiff in California are filing lawsuits against Sanofi, alleging the company did not provide adequate warnings about alopecia risks. Those plaintiffs are seeking damages for their permanent disfigurement, asserting that if they had known about this risk with Taxotere, they would have chosen a different chemo drug.

The plaintiff in California is seeking damages in excess of $75,000, which necessitated the lawsuit filing in federal court. This plaintiff, like others now pending in courts across the country, states in her complaint that Taxotere use left her with “severe and permanent injuries that are lasting in nature.”

Product liability lawyers at The Sanders Firm are are currently reviewing cases involving Taxotere hair loss. For a free evaluation of your case, contact our offices today at 1-800-FAIR-PLAY. Resources

  1. FDA, Taxotere (Docetaxel) Injection Concentrate,
  2. Chemocare, Taxotere,
  3. Ring of Fire, Taxotere Medical and Lawsuit Issues: Current Facts and Assistance,