Paclitaxel, sold under the brand name Taxol, and Docetaxel, sold under the brand name Taxotere are both taxane chemotherapy drugs used to treat advanced and metastatic breast cancer. They are also used in the treatment of prostate cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, melanoma, and bladder and ovarian cancers.Unfortunately, according to current litigation filed by Taxotere alopecia lawyers, these drugs may have serious side effects.
These drugs target tubulin, a critical component of the cancer cell cytoskeleton which gives the cell shape and allows it to move. These drugs also inhibit the cell’s ability to divide, replicate, and spread. The drugs also affect healthy cells such as those found in the blood, the hair, and the immune system.
Because of the toxicity level of these drugs, patients must have their medication levels monitored closely. Some of the most common side effects that you can expect with either medication is low white cell counts, infections, anemia and weight loss, hair loss, and diarrhea.
Probably one of the biggest differences between the two medication is that Taxotere is more potent, therefore it is administered in three or four week cycles as opposed to the weekly cycles of Taxol.
Differences Between Taxol and Taxotere
Both drugs can cause serious effects, however the effects may be quite different. Take for example nadir, which is the point in between cycles when your blood counts drop to their lowest. For Taxotere, nadir is 5 to 9 days with recovery at 21 days, while nadir occurs at 15 to 21 days with Taxol.
Other Taxotere side effects include these that occur in more than 30 percent of those who receive treatment –
- fluid retention is the abdomen or ankles
- numbness in your toes and in your fingers which should reported to your doctor
- sores in the mouth
- loss of hair
- changes to the color of your fingernails and toenails, or the nails may fall off
Less common Taxotere side effects include:
- Muscle and bone pain
- Low platelet counts
Some patients have experienced permanent hair loss after receiving treatment, including loss of hair on the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, and anywhere else that normally grows hair. Some of these patients are seeking the help of a Taxotere law firm because the manufacturer did not warn them this could happen.
Other Taxol side effects that are experienced by more than 30 percent of patients receiving treatment include:
- Hair loss
- Joint and bone pain that resolves
- Numbness and tingling in the feet and hands
- Mild nausea with vomiting
- Development of mouth sores
Other less common side effects include:
- Foot and ankle swelling because of fluid retention
- Low blood pressure
- Nail changes
If you experience any of the following side effects while on either Taxotere or Taxol, contact your physician within 24 hours:
- Nausea that doesn’t respond to medication and is preventing you from eating
- Unusual bruising or bleeding events
- Blood in your urine or stool or black tarry stools
- Extreme fatigue that prevents you from being able to care for yourself
- Yellowing of the eyes or skin
- Weight gain or fluid retention in the stomach
- Shortness of breath
Be sure you tell your physician about any medications or supplements you are currently taking before you receive your first treatment.