Manufacturer Failed to Warn American Patients that Taxotere can Cause Permanent Hair Loss
Did you or a loved one suffer permanent hair loss after taking Taxotere to treat cancer? Taxotere is a popular chemotherapy drug that has been shown to effectively fight various forms of cancer. Unfortunately, alopecia areata (permanent hair loss) is one of its possible side effects. Manufacturers failed to inform chemotherapy patients in United States about the possibility of permanent hair loss from Taxotere until 2015, even though this was known by at least 2005.
Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer of Taxotere for failing to warn patients about the risks of developing alopecia. Reeves and Mestayer is now investigating cases for individuals who may have suffered the physical and emotional effects of permanent hair loss (from this drug) without being informed of the risk. Call our office today at 1-855-558-2977 to discuss your legal rights and options.
What is Taxotere?
Taxotere is a prescription medication that is commonly used as part of a chemotherapy regimen. The drug was introduced in 1996 by Sanofi, a French pharmaceutical company that later merged with Aventis to form Sanofi-Aventis, which is now the fifth largest pharmaceutical company in the world.
Taxotere was approved by the FDA shortly after its release, and since then, it has been widely used by doctors to treat millions of patients throughout the world who are suffering from various types of cancer. Taxotere is commonly used to treat:
- Breast Cancer
- Stomach Cancer
- Head Cancer
- Neck Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Taxotere works by targeting microtubules, which are microscopic structures that play an essential role in dividing cells. Taxotere has been shown to be effective in killing cancer cells and preventing them from being replicated. This is accomplished by increasing the production of microtubules while at the same time keeping them from disassembling. This process essentially jams up the cellular traffic and prevents that cancer cells from dividing and spreading.
The ability to jam up these cells and stop them from the dividing before the cancer spreads too far has made Taxotere a very valuable drug in the fight against cancer, and it has been used frequently to treat patients who are both in the earlier and later stages of the disease.
Taxotere Side Effects
Like other prescription drugs, Taxotere has a wide range of common (mostly temporary) potential side effects. These include:
- Loss of Appetite
- Weakness and Fatigue
- Joint and Muscle Pain
- Nerve Pain or Tingling
- Weight Loss
- Mouth and Throat Pain
- Damage to Toenails and Fingernails
- Problems with Concentration
- Temporary Hair Loss
Taxotere has also been known to cause some more severe and permanent side effects in rarer cases, including the possibility of liver damage or even death due to the toxic qualities of the drug. However, these potential dangers were readily disclosed by the manufacturer, as is common practice with any prescription drug.
Since most of the potential side effects of Taxotere are temporary, cancer patients are usually willing to risk having to deal with them in their fight to survive this deadly disease. And as most patients realize, temporary hair loss is among the most common side effects of chemotherapy treatment.
Although it is highly unpleasant, temporary hair loss is a side effect that is generally expected and understood. What is also expected, however, is that the patient’s hair will grow back after the treatment is over. And this is where the maker of Taxotere was negligent.
Taxotere Linked to Permanent Hair Loss
It turns out that Sanofi-Aventis did not give the full story about their drug Taxotere to the general public, or at least to the general public in the United States. Multiple medical studies have shown a link between Taxotere and alopecia, and alopecia was added to the list of “very common adverse reactions” as early as 2005 on Taxotere’s European warning label. Meanwhile, the warning label for the U.S. version of the product read:
Loss of hair occurs in most patients taking Taxotere (including the hair on your head, underarm hair, pubic hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes). Hair loss will begin after the first few treatments and varies from patient to patient. Once you have completed all your treatments, hair generally grows back.
It was not until December of 2015 that Sanofi-Aventis updated its U.S. warning label to state that “cases of permanent hair loss have been reported.” The language on this warning still seems to understate the potential for permanent hair loss when you consider that in some studies, 10% to 15% of patients using Taxotere have suffered from long-term scalp alopecia.
Damages Available from Taxotere Hair Loss Lawsuits
To date, more than 11,000 lawsuits have been filed against Sanofi-Aventis by chemotherapy patients who took the drug prior to December of 2015 and experienced permanent hair loss. These lawsuits have been consolidated into multi-district litigation (MDL), which is being heard by the Eastern District Court in Louisiana. The MDL combines all the lawsuits together to help streamline the process.
The losses suffered by those who have experienced permanent hair loss after not being properly warned of that possibility are substantial. This is especially true among women who took this drug to treat breast cancer and other types of cancer.
Permanent hair loss is devastating for women, and the lawsuits seek a wide range of damages, which include:
- Medical expenses associated with diagnosing and treating the condition;
- Past and future loss of earnings because of the condition;
- The cost of counseling and therapy;
- Permanent disfigurement (from the permanent loss of hair);
- Mental anguish;
- Severe and debilitating psychological distress;
- Diminished quality of life;
- Punitive damages.
Contact Reeves & Mestayer, PLLC Today for your Free Taxotere Lawsuit Consultation
If you or someone close to you has taken Taxotere and you have not been able to grow your hair back since the treatment ended, you may be entitled to compensation. First, speak with your doctor to confirm that you have suffered permanent hair loss. Sometimes, there is a delay in the regrowth of hair after chemotherapy is completed, and your doctor will be able to run tests to determine whether your hair loss is temporary or permanent.
If your hair loss is permanent, contact Reeves & Mestayer, PLLC right away to discuss your legal options. Call our office today at 1-855-558-2977 or message us through our online contact form to schedule your free consultation and case assessment.