Taxotere Hair Loss Lawsuit

Taxotere has treated over 1.5 million cancer patients across the world, contributing to Sanofi-Aventis’s billions of dollars in annual sales. Although the chemotherapy drug is supposed to treat cancer, in some cases it has caused adverse side effects including liver impairment, permanent hair loss, and neurological damage. As a result, thousands of patients have filed lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis for failing to disclose the more severe side effects of Taxotere.

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What Taxotere Lawsuits Are There?

Hundreds of patients have already filed Taxotere hair loss lawsuits and the company may ultimately be facing thousands of legal cases involving permanent baldness and other serious side effects. Federal hair loss lawsuits have already been consolidated into multidistrict litigation as case MDL 2740 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, but more lawsuits may have been filed in state and local courts. New cases continue to be filed in 2023 under the Eastern District of Louisiana with plaintiffs claiming the drug misrepresented the severity of side effects. Some legal claims against the drug company have been denied in the eyes of the court, while others have rightly proven the distress the side effects have caused them.

Why Did People File Taxotere Lawsuits?

Evidence shows that as far back as 1998, Sanofi-Aventis was aware of the risk of permanent hair loss. A study funded by Sanofi (GEICAM) showed that patients who used Taxotere had better outcomes for cancer but that about 9.2% experienced permanent hair loss. People who used Taxotere alone or as part of a chemo treatment regimen and experienced severe side effects such as permanent hair loss may be eligible for compensation. Those injured by Taxotere use should seek assistance from a lawyer.

What Taxotere Lawsuit Settlements Are There?

As of 2023, there are no Taxotere lawsuit settlements. These lawsuits are ongoing, so the outcome is undetermined.

What Is Taxotere?

Taxotere (docetaxel) is a chemotherapy drug and is classified as a “taxoid,” which is synthesized from plant material and works to treat cancer by inhibiting cell division. It can be used alone but is mostly given as part of a multi-drug regimen. The chemical name of the drug is docetaxel, and the medication is distributed across the United States, the United Kingdom, and the EU. It was previously marketed as a milder drug than other types of cancer treatment but may cause permanent hair loss for patients. 

Is Taxotere Available Over the Counter?

Taxotere is not available over the counter. It is typically given to patients through an injection, which requires a prescription and order from a doctor.

Who Manufactures Taxotere?

Taxotere is manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC. It was founded in 1950 in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The company is also a branch of the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi. Sanofi’s French branch was founded in 1973 and merged with Synthélabo in 1999. Sanofi has a presence in 100 countries, and in addition to manufacturing Taxotere, Sanofi-Aventis also develops:

  • Consumer healthcare
  • Vaccine development
  • Support for healthcare professionals
  • Medicine

The company Sanofi US creates drugs for ailments such as cardiovascular disease, central nervous system disorders, and metabolic disorders.

When Was Taxotere Developed?

Docetaxel, or Taxotere, was developed and approved in 1996 for cancer treatment. It has been used across the globe since its manufacturing to treat over 1.5 million patients. Sanofi-Aventis also reported in 2010 that they reached $3.1 billion in annual sales for Taxotere. Taxotere was originally available to medical professionals in a two-vial formulation: one vial containing docetaxel concentrate and the other with the diluent for the drug. As of August 2023, there is a new 1-vial announced by Sanofi US to simplify preparation by eliminating the dilution step.

How Was Taxotere Marketed?

Sanofi-Aventis US marketed Taxotere, also otherwise marketed under brand identifications such as Abraxane, as a chemical compound that is uniquely designed to fight cancer. To expand the seller market Sanofi-Aventis fought to prove that Taxotere was effective at treating several different types of cancer and sponsored a host of clinical trials. However, the side effect of hair loss was not included in their marketing campaigns. As of 2023, Taxotere is the sole drug formulation commercially available for the chemical compound of docetaxel, and there are no commercial docetaxel nanocarriers in the market.

How Does Taxotere Work?

Taxotere works by stopping harmful cell growth that causes a variety of cancers. Disrupting the microtubular networks within cells, the drug causes the bundles of microtubes to become inactive and die. When the cells are inactive, the cancer cannot spread or multiply any further. Docetaxel, or Taxotere, also has shown a reduction in the expression of the BCL2 gene. This anti-apoptotic gene is often consistently seen in cancer cells. With Taxotere downregulating the BCL2 gene, tumor cells more easily undergo apoptosis in patients.

What Does Taxotere Treat?

Taxotere was developed to treat several different kinds of cancerous conditions. The conditions include:

  • Breast cancer
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Gastric adenocarcinoma
  • Head and neck cancer

What Is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is a common form of cancer seen in both women and men. It occurs when the cells in the breast tissue mutate and spread, becoming lumps or tumors. Breast cancer can be treated effectively if detected early enough through routine mammograms. 

What Are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

The most common symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • Dimpling of the breasts
  • Scaling or roughness around the breast
  • A lump in the breast or under the armpit
  • Thickening of the breast tissue

What Is Non-Small Lung Cell Cancer?

Non-small lung cell cancer is a type of lung cancer that routinely affects smokers. In some cases, it can also affect non-smokers. It is the most common kind of lung cancer and usually requires a combination of treatment protocols such as medication, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. 

What Are the Symptoms of Non-Small Lung Cell Cancer?

The most common symptoms of non-small cell lung cancer include:

  • Chest pain
  • Persistent cough
  • Fatigue
  • Wheezing

What Is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer occurs when there is a growth of cancer cell mutations present in the walnut-sized gland that produces seminal fluid. Once cancer cells form, they feed on androgen hormone cells and continue to grow and multiply. Prostate cancer is serious and should always be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional.

What Are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?

The symptoms of prostate cancer can include the following:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Pain while urinating
  • Trouble urinating
  • Blood in the urine
  • Weight loss

What Is Gastric Adenocarcinoma?

Gastric Adenocarcinoma, or stomach cancer, occurs when the growth of cancer cells begins in the stomach region. More specifically, the cells tend to grow in the gastroesophageal junction where food travels in the digestive tract. Stomach cancer as a whole is easier to treat than some other forms of cancer, but it still has the potential to spread to other parts of the body if not treated promptly.

What Are the Symptoms of Gastric Adenocarcinoma?

The symptoms of gastric adenocarcinoma can include the following:

  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Black stools
  • Loss of appetite

What Is Head and Neck Cancer?

Head and neck cancer is characterized by cancer that grows in the mouth, throat, voice box, salivary gland, oral cavity, sinus, or nerves of the neck and head. These cells that grow in head and neck cancer are called squamous cells that can line mucosal surfaces. Some viruses such as HPV can cause head and neck cancer, or it can be caused by other lifestyle factors such as excess tobacco or alcohol usage.

What Are the Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer?

The symptoms of head and neck cancer can include the following:

  • Pain when swallowing
  • Bleeding gums
  • Ear pain
  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Swelling under the chin
  • Headaches

What Are the Side Effects of Taxotere?

The most common side effects of taking Taxotere are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Skin inflammation
  • Mucous membrane inflammation
  • Unusual or loss of sensations
  • Muscle pain
  • Anemias
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Fluid retention
  • Infections
  • Hair loss

Some side effects caused by Taxotere may be treatable with other medications.

What Are the Serious Side Effects of Taxotere?

Some more serious side effects can occur when taking Taxotere for cancer treatment. Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms should contact a medical professional.

What Is Liver Impairment?

Liver impairment, or liver damage, can have many causes that range from an unhealthy lifestyle to a person’s genetic history. The liver is essential to detoxifying harmful substances from the body and helping with the digestion of important nutrients. Therefore, a liver that is not functioning properly can be dangerous.

What Are the Symptoms of Liver Impairment?

The symptoms of liver impairment can include darkening of the urine, abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin and eyes, or frequent bruising. If you have any of these symptoms consistently, always consult with a professional for next steps.

What Is Liver Neurologic Damage?

Neurological damage, or a neurological disorder, stems from the nervous system. The damage incurred in the brain or nervous system can occur from a traumatic brain injury, cancer, genetic disorder, or stroke.

What Are the Symptoms of Neurologic Damage?

The symptoms of neurologic damage may include memory loss, migraines, blurry vision, pupil changes, or behavior changes. Neurological damage requires specialized treatment from a brain and spinal cord center.

What Is an Eye Disorder?

An eye disorder is a disease that leads to vision problems or permanent blindness. Some common eye disorders include cataracts, glaucoma, or vision degeneration that comes with age.

What Are the Symptoms of an Eye Disorder?

The most frequent symptoms detected with an eye disorder are vision loss, pain or discomfort when trying to open your eyes or read, “lazy eye”, or vision blurriness. Eye disorders can sometimes be helped with glass or contact lenses but often require surgery or other treatment.

What Is Enterocolitis?

Enterocolitis is when there is damage present in the colon or intestines. The inflammation within the digestive tract affects the mucosa, which makes it more challenging to produce stool. Enterocolitis is usually caused by a weakened immune system or exposure to a harmful virus or bacteria.

What Are the Symptoms of Enterocolitis?

The symptoms of enterocolitis can include a high fever, abdominal pain, appetite changes, diarrhea, cramps, and swelling. In some cases, the illness may also cause prolonged tiredness and fatigue.  

What Is a Hematologic Effect?

A hematologic effect is often used interchangeably throughout medicine in discussions about blood disorders. Hematologic effects occur frequently in cancer patients but can occur in patients due to a lack of healthy nutrition, or genes, or as a side effect of a medication. When a hematologic effect is present, patients may be diagnosed with conditions such as anemia or hemophilia.

What Are the Symptoms of Hematologic Effect?

Common symptoms of a blood disorder or hematologic effect are dizziness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or whole-body weakness. To determine the cause of a hematologic effect a physician will need to study your current medications, patient history, and order of symptom occurrence. 

What Is Leukemia?

Leukemia is a bone marrow cancer that is most common in children. However, adult versions of leukemia also exist. With leukemia, white blood cells start to grow at an unsustainable rate and make it harder for other healthy cells to function properly. Leukemia is commonly treated with cancer interventions such as radiation or chemotherapy.

What Are the Symptoms of Leukemia?

There are many signs and symptoms of leukemia. Oftentimes, leukemia can be confused with other illnesses due to the variance in the symptoms. However, common symptoms seen in the disease include chronic infections, tiredness, easy bruising, and breathlessness.

What Kind of Psychological Problems Can Taxotere Contribute To?

Six to nine percent of patients using Taxotere may have experienced permanent baldness or alopecia which may be partial or total hair loss and may contribute to psychological problems. Some of the psychological problems reported include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Loss of identity
  • Poor body image
  • Difficulty resuming normal life

What Warnings Has the FDA Issued for Taxotere?

The FDA issued a warning in 2015 about Taxotere (docetaxel) intravenous injections for cancer patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that Taxotere include a “black box” warning on all prescribing information. A black box or boxed statement warning is the most severe safety alert that can be issued and must be printed at the top of prescribing information or labeling.

Taxotere also carries warning labels for the following:

  • Hypersensitivity reactions
  • Liver toxicity
  • Low white blood cell counts
  • Severe fluid retention
  • Toxic death

Patients who receive higher doses, who have abnormal liver functions, or who have been treated more than once are more likely to experience a fatal reaction.

Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA.