Although temporary hair loss is a common side effect related to chemotherapy drugs, permanent hair loss is not. Women undergoing cancer treatment are told that their hair will grow back a few months after therapy is completed and they expect to be told of side effects any drug presents so that they can make an informed health care decision on whether or not they want to take the drug. Unfortunately, this did not happen with the drug Taxotere.
Breast cancer survivors who were prescribed Taxotere and suffered permanent alopecia, as a result, may be eligible for compensation through a Taxotere lawsuit.
What is Taxotere?
Taxotere is the brand name for the drug Docetaxel and has been on the market since 1996 when it was approved for breast cancer. The injection drug is used as a “last resort” medication for women with advanced breast cancer after other treatments have failed.
Taxotere can be used alone or in combination with other medications to treat certain types of cancer. It is very powerful in working to stop the growth and spread of cancer cells but, it is also very toxic.
Taxotere linked to alopecia
Chemotherapy medications destroy all rapidly-growing cells including hair follicles, causing temporary hair loss. Hair typically grows back within three to six months after starting treatment, but this is not always true for those patients who have taken Taxotere.
A “Black Box” warning, the FDA’s most serious type of warning, was added to Taxotere packaging that highlights severe side effects including:
- Toxic deaths (sepsis)
- Hepatotoxicity (liver)
- Neutropenia (abnormally low white blood cell count)
- Hypersensitivity reactions (allergic reactions)
- Fluid retention
Psychological impact in women
One very specific thing women look forward to after treatment is the return of their hair. Hair plays such a large part in self-image, especially for women. Losing hair is more troubling and emotionally impacting for women because society paints the picture that “long, flowing hair” is beautiful, leaving baldness to be seen as unattractive. For many women, hair is a way to associate with their identity. Women affected by Taxotere’s risk of permanent hair loss may feel they are being robbed of their femininity.
Studies have shown hair loss causes serious psychological effects negatively impacting a person’s self-esteem, body image and self-confidence. Baldness in a female is so crushing that it may lead to intense emotional suffering and societal problems causing depression, low self-esteem, changed self-image and a lower quality of life.
Was the manufacturing company aware of the alopecia risk?
Plaintiffs are alleging Sanofi-Aventis, the drug’s manufacturer knowingly exposed breast cancer patients to an unnecessary risk of permanent alopecia.
Sanofi-Aventis sponsored a study in the 1990’s to evaluate Taxotere in combination with other drugs for the treatment of breast cancer. By 2005, 9.2 percent of patients treated with Taxotere were found to have experienced prolonged or permanent hair loss. Although the manufacturer was fully aware, they did not disclose this permanent hair loss risk until December of 2015. More than 2 million women have been prescribed Taxotere.
The prescribing information previously read “hair generally grows back” after completion of treatment. However, after Sanofi-Aventis was accused of downplaying the risk, and misleading patients and the medical community about alopecia being a potential risk, the FDA updated the label to include warnings about permanent alopecia due to dozens of women not regrowing their hair.
A Taxotere lawsuit will set forth the following claims against the defendants:
- Failure to warn
- Fraudulent misrepresentation
- Design and manufacturing defects
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
- Violation of consumer protection laws
You may be eligible for compensation through a Taxotere lawsuit if you:
- Took Taxotere
- Developed permanent alopecia (hair loss)
Taxotere damages you may recover
- Medical expenses
- Cost of hairdresser, wigs, and extensions
- Lost wages
- Decreased earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- And other losses
Drug companies have the responsibility to notify the public if a drug may cause harmful side effects. Patients who have suffered severe side effects, including permanent hair loss, after taking Taxotere are encouraged to learn more about their rights and remedies by seeking the advice of a Taxotere lawsuit attorney.
How The Carlson Law Firm can help
If you or a loved one took Taxotere and suffered permanent alopecia, let us help. Here at The Carlson Law Firm, we have extensive experience with product liability cases. We understand the significance of your experience as well as the importance of your story and will be with you every step of the way.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We care, we can help.