The side effects of chemotherapy can be numerous, and it can be hard to distinguish between what is “normal” and what isn’t. For many patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment, one of the drugs doctors turn to is called Taxotere. What may not be common knowledge among patients, and even some physicians, is that Taxotere has been linked to a serious eye condition called canalicular stenosis.
One of the main symptoms of the disorder is watering eyes and tears streaming down the face. You may have experienced something like this during your course of treatment and not even realized it was a problem linked to a cancer-fighting drug. Unfortunately, if not caught and treated early, this can turn into a permanent condition that will require careful and risky surgery.
Have you or a loved one suffered from watery eyes or tears running down your face during or following chemotherapy treatment? If you’ve been given the drug Taxotere during your treatment, it is important for you to get medical and legal help as soon as possible.
Hotze Runkle PLLC can help you learn more about your legal rights, the condition of canalicular stenosis, and how the drug Taxotere and its manufacturer may be liable for damages. We have seasoned attorneys who have the resources available to hold the pharmaceutical manufacturer responsible for the dangerous side effects caused by their drug. Get started by taking this quiz.
Taxotere is an FDA approved medication that is primarily used in chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients. The drug works by interfering with the ability of cancer cells to divide and then spread throughout the body. Several different drugs can be used in chemotherapy treatments, but Taxotere, in particular, is used mainly to treat breast cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, prostate cancer, and head/neck cancer.
Taxotere is administered through an IV line during chemotherapy treatment. The dosage and how often it is administered is determined by the physician in relation to the type of cancer, body weight, and other factors. It can be given as frequently as once a week in patients.
Every drug comes with a list of possible side effects. Taxotere is no different. Every FDA approved medication needs to list the side effects that have been reported by patients. These must be listed on the box of the medication. Some of the more common side effects related to the use of Taxotere include:
Unfortunately, there is another side effect of the medication that hasn’t gotten the attention that it deserves. In fact, most people, and even some physicians, have never been made aware of this now well documented side effect. It’s called canalicular stenosis. This condition is a newly recognized side effect that has been known to cause permanent damage to the eyes. This comes on the heels of yet another side effect, permanent hair loss, that has been the result of several lawsuits.
Why are these side effects different and what can you do if you’ve been a victim? We’ll explain in a moment, but first you need to be aware of what to look for to determine if you need to see your doctor.
Canalicular stenosis is an eye condition that impacts the very complex network of tear ducts and sacs that keep the eyes moist and clean. Your eyes are always producing tears, which moisturize and lubricate your eyes. The tears themselves get to the eyes through a channel called the canaliculus and then down into your nasolacrimal duct.
Canalicular stenosis is a condition where the channel itself starts to close or becomes obstructed. With the channel blocked off, tears have nowhere to go but down the face, making it look like you are crying. If the condition is not caught and treated immediately by a doctor, it can cause blurry vision, irritated eyes, and other vision problems that may become permeant.
New studies published in the American Academy of Ophthalmology have found that the drug Taxotere can pass into a patient’s bodily fluids while they are undergoing treatment. When the drug enters these fluids, including tears, it may cause chronic inflammation in the canaliculi of the eyes. This choric irritation and resulting inflammation are thought to be responsible for the condition of canalicular stenosis.
Another study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information finds that cases of the condition were more frequent when a patient was administered weekly treatments of Taxotere. However, cases have been reported by people who were administered the drug less frequently, as well. One of the disturbing findings in the report is that discontinuing the use of Taxotere did not make the symptoms of the condition itself go away.
If you’ve been given the drug Taxotere as part of a chemotherapy regimen and have noticed watery eyes or changes in your vision, you need to seek medical help immediately. Watery eyes may not seem like a major problem in the scheme of chemotherapy treatment, but if not caught right away, the damage to your eyes can become permanent. Catching the symptoms early improves your treatment options. It is always important to discuss with your doctors any changes in your body. Speaking up could save you from painful eye surgery and treatment down the road.
Canalicular stenosis is a permanent condition, which means that once it develops, it can be irreversible. However, there are several treatment options available depending on the severity of your case. A mild case of the condition where there is not total obstruction may only require a course of antibiotics and warm compresses to ease symptoms. Some doctors may also prescribe a course of steroids to combat the effects of the condition. In more serious cases of canalicular stenosis, surgery may be the only option for relief.
Unfortunately, the surgery, as outlined in the Journal of American Medical Association, is risky and requires a very delicate hand. Tiny glass tubes must be placed in the canaliculus to restore normal tear flow. Having a foreign body implanted means that there is always the potential for infection and for the body to reject the foreign object. There is also a risk that the glass tubes could shift or become dislodged.
One of the worst parts of being diagnosed with canalicular stenosis is that this condition is preventable. You didn’t have to come down with this condition. This side effect is different from others because it was not previously disclosed by the drug manufacturer. As a result, many doctors weren’t aware that it could be harmful to a patient’s vision.
Sanofi-Aventis is a multi-billion-dollar corporation. They are responsible for the development, manufacturing, and marketing of the drug Taxotere, which means they are also responsible for informing people about the risks associated with their drug.
There have been several studies now that have documented the serious side effects of Taxotere, yet, Sanofi-Aventis has not taken a proactive approach to warn people. Why? Keeping doctors and patients in the dark means that they will continue to use the drug and the company will continue to reap the benefits. You could lose your vision so that they can gain a profit. Does that seem fair?
It is daunting to think of tackling a major pharmaceutical company. How can one person with a vision problem take on a major company? The truth of the matter is you can’t do it alone. At Hotze Runkle PLLC, we make it our mission to fight for you and beside you. Sanofi-Aventis can only deny, ignore, and mislead people about their drug so long as there is no one strong enough to stand up to them and hold them accountable. At Hotze Runkle PLLC, we have made it our mission to stand up to them for you.
If you think this is the only brush with legal action against Sanofi-Aventis, you’d be wrong. They are also in the middle of trying to defend lawsuits filed by women who claim Taxotere also caused them permanent hair loss that they were not aware of. However, the drug still makes them money and the company continues to stand by Taxotere.
While you wait and watch your medical bills piling up for the unexpected treatments you need to address your canalicular stenosis, Sanofi-Aventis continues to avoid repercussions. It’s time to stand up and fight back, and to recover the compensation you need to rebuild your health and your life. Take this easy quiz to find out more about Taxotere, and the potential case you may have against the drug manufacturer.