Many women have filed lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis, the manufacturer of the drug Taxotere. The lawsuits allege that Sanofi-Aventis didn’t warn doctors or their patients that the use of Taxotere could lead to permanent hair loss.
What is Taxotere?
Taxotere (docetaxel) is a chemotherapy drug that was approved to treat many types of cancer, including:
- Breast cancer
- Non-small cell lung cancer
- Advanced stomach cancer
- Head and neck cancer
- Metastatic prostate cancer
Taxotere is given intravenously in one of your veins, generally in a one-hour infusion repeated every 3 or 4 weeks. Doctors use it in an attempt to keep cancer cells from dividing and growing.
Usually, physicians use Taxotere in combination with other drugs to battle cancer and give patients a better rate of survival. Its primary purpose is to disrupt cellular division.
What are the Side Effects of Taxotere?
One of the most severe side effects of Taxotere is neutropenic enterocolitis, which is the inflammation of the small pouch at the head of your large intestine. Neutropenic enterocolitis is a rare side effect, but it can be fatal.
Other side effects of Taxotere include:
- Alopecia: permanent loss of hair
- Joint, bone, and muscle pain
- Fluid retention with weight gain
- Swelling in the abdominal area and ankles
- Anemia: low red blood cell count
- Low white blood cell counts
- Throat or mouth sores
- Changes to the color of your fingernails and toenails
- Numbness in fingers and toes, known as peripheral neuropathy
- Changes in taste: food may taste different than it used to
What Studies Say Regarding Taxotere
According to Sanofi-Aventis, only three percent of patients may experience long-term hair loss. However, according to a study done by the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center in Colorado, it could be six percent if a patient uses Taxotere with other drugs such as Adriamycin and Cyclophosphamide.
At the NCRI Cancer Conference, a discussion illustrated long term hair loss might last up to 3.5 years following chemotherapy. This long-term hair loss may affect 10 to 15 percent of all patients treated with docetaxel.
Additionally, this long-term hair loss has a direct impact on the quality of a cancer patient’s survival. The Conference determined that all patients should be aware of the risks before beginning treatment.
Do I Qualify to File A Taxotere Lawsuit?
There are two parts to a Taxotere lawsuit – Use and Injury.
If you had chemotherapy treatments and have experienced incomplete hair regrowth 6 months after completing your chemotherapy, you may qualify for a Taxotere lawsuit.
You can file a lawsuit against Sanofi-Aventis for Taxotere now. Your medical records should verify that you have Taxotere in your system to qualify to file a lawsuit.
Taxotere Lawsuits – What do We Know?
The Louisiana Taxotere multidistrict litigation began in the Eastern District of Louisiana in 2016 with just a few dozen Taxotere lawsuits having been filed. As of May 2018, over 8500 lawsuits have been on file.
The claims against Taxotere allege, that besides the permanent hair loss:
- Sanofi-Aventis participated in deception by overstating the benefits of Taxotere as compared to alternative medicines and failed to warn of the risk of permanent hair loss.
- Patients weren’t given the ability to make an informed decision as to whether the benefits of Taxotere outweighed the risks involved.
Most of the lawsuits filed against the manufacturer of Taxotere claim that women have suffered permanent hair loss caused by the drug. The claims also state that the manufacturer failed to warn patients and doctors about the risks.
Additionally, if the risks had been known, another chemotherapy drug such as Taxol would have been prescribed. Taxol is thought to be more effective than Taxotere and not cause permanent hair loss.
The fact that cancer patients were living longer is what brought the lasting effects of Taxotere, in combination with other drugs into the forefront. The women who have filed lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis discovered that surviving cancer came with a high price.
Bald women from France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States now refer to themselves as the Taxotears.
Furthermore, warning information about Taxotere was given to doctors and patients in Europe in 2005, and Canada in 2012. It wasn’t until December of 2015 that the Food and Drug Administration updated safety information on Taxotere to include a warning about cases of permanent hair loss.
If you were given Taxotere and suffered permanent hair loss, you should contact New York attorney Gary Falkowitz who can advise you of your rights and see if you qualify to file a lawsuit against the manufacturers of Taxotere.
Are There Any Settlements In the Taxotere Lawsuits?
As of right now, no settlements have been issued in regards to the Taxotere lawsuits. However, many plaintiff and defense attorneys have been appointed to a settlement committee.
This committee is required to hold regular meetings with the hope that some of the cases can be settled. Additionally, this committee is taxed with “establishing common understandings, potential ground rules, parts, and concepts, anticipated relief, necessary approvals, and financial details.
At the Falkowitz Law Firm, we will take all Taxotere claims if you call our office today. Our Mass Tort Attorneys can help you get justice.