Why do some American women need a Taxotere hair loss lawsuit? Because the chemotherapy drug can cause permanent baldness, and because its maker failed to warn patients of this for years.
The latter fact is obvious given this truth: Taxotere manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis, of France, issued warnings of Taxotere hair loss side effects to Europe as early as 2005, then to patients in Canada in 2012.
However, American patients were not informed of this Taxotere side effect until December of 2015. Then, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, having received many reports of permanent hair loss from the drug, ordered its maker to revise the label by adding a warning of permanent hair loss.
As for whether a Taxotere recall has been issued, it has not — at least, not for the damaging side effect of permanent hair loss, also known as permanent alopecia.
However, in March of 2001 a Taxotere recall in the United States was issued because vials containing docetaxel, the active ingredient drug in its 20mg vials, might have been labeled inadvertently as “diluent” vials. That Taxotere recall involved no adverse events and was believed to be an isolated case of inaccurate labeling.
Also, in April of 2016 a Taxotere recall in the United Kingdom was issued due to a manufacturing error which might have raised the potency of a small portion of batches. Again, that did not involve a Taxotere side effect, but rather the fact that a software failure might have let some alcohol in the drug evaporate, thus raising the concentration of Taxotere in every vial.
Despite these Taxotere recalls, no nationwide Taxotere recall has been issued in America because of the persistent and disturbing side effect of permanent hair loss. To date, only the FDA warning from late 2015 has been made to protect patients from the drug.
Even that warning is rather muted, given the alarmingly prevalent cases of permanent hair loss. Though as many as one in every 10 women receiving Taxotere breast cancer treatments suffers permanent baldness, the FDA approved only this new wording for Taxotere’s label: “Cases of permanent alopecia have been reported.”
You may be wondering why Taxotere causes hair loss. The fact is, many other drugs used for chemotherapy treatments, particularly for breast cancer treatments, do not cause permanent hair loss, but rather only temporary hair loss at most. Yet Taxotere stands apart for this damaging side effect.
Unlike Taxol, a chemotherapy drug which does not cause permanent baldness, Taxotere has twice the potency, which is to say more toxicity. That toxicity is harmful to hair follicles and, in the case of Taxotere, can cause permanent baldness.
This harmful side effect, along with its maker’s failure to warn consumers about the problem, can be the basis of Taxotere hair loss lawsuits.
Taxotere’s history in America began with its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
In 1996. The FDA first approved Taxotere for breast cancer treatment, and later approved the drug for treatment of head and neck cancer, gastric adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma of the head, non-small cell lung cancer and hormone refractory prostate cancer.
Sanofi-Aventis developed Taxotere to compete with American-made Taxol for market shares among breast cancer treatments. Indeed, Taxotere is a semi-synthetic analogue of Taxol. Yet Taxol is widely considered to be equally effective — if not more effective — in fighting breast cancer, while not leading to the side effect of permanent baldness.
Many Taxotere studies show dangers of the drug. The National Cancer Research Institute at its 2014 NCRI Cancer Conference reported on “Long Term Hair Loss in Patients with Early Breast Cancer Receiving Docetaxel Chemotherapy” (docetaxel being the active ingredient in Taxotere).
That Taxotere study concluded that “long term significant scalp alopecia” (baldness) lasting for up to 3.5 years after chemotherapy may affect 10-15 per cent of patients following docetaxel for EBC (EcoBiotics).
The study held that “Long term hair loss has a significant impact on quality of survival.”
Another Taxotere study in 2012, found in the Annals of Oncology, revealed a connection between permanent hair loss and Taxotere. It found that “severe and permanent female hair loss” was a side effect of breast cancer treatments using docetaxel (Taxotere).
Other Taxotere studies have found permanent baldness as a side effect for 6 to 9 per cent of women using chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer with Taxotere. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published a study in 2010 warning of a rising number of reports of permanent hair loss in general, and blamed Taxotere for some of them.
Even Sanofi-Aventis — the drug’s maker — sponsored a study, called GEICAM 9805, to evaluate Taxotere when used with other chemotherapy drugs to treat breast cancer. In 2005 that research showed that more than 9 per cent of approximately 500 patients in the study had persistent hair loss for a 10-year period following treatment.
Women are fighting back, not only with Taxotere hair loss lawsuits but also by forming hair loss support groups. Two of them are known as “Taxotears” and “A Head of Our Time.”
These groups enable women to provide emotional support for victims; to evaluate medical research; and to educate others, including healthcare providers, about Taxotere’s risks of permanent hair loss.
Though it’s true that a number of chemotherapy cancer treatments can lead to hair loss, customarily such baldness is temporary, and patients’ hair grows back. But that’s not true in the case of Taxotere, which often causes this side effect, compelling victims to get a Taxotere hair loss lawsuit.
In this way, they can fight back for all women in punishing the maker of this defective drug and perhaps ultimately producing a Taxotere recall. A hair loss lawsuit for Taxotere also can gain payments for victims’ injury losses, including money for the pain and suffering they’ve endured.
The Willis Law Firm stands ready and able to help victims of Taxotere permanent hair loss. Contact us today for a legal evaluation of your case that is free, confidential and with no obligation to you. Then you can tell us how you’d like to respond to your case of Taxotere permanent hair loss.