If you or a loved one was given the chemotherapy drug, Taxotere (docetaxel), and are now suffering from side effects, such as severely watery eyes, Hotze Runkle PLLC wants you to know there is hope. The Orlando Taxotere attorneys have the necessary experience and courage to face-off against drug manufacturers who knowingly misled oncologists and cancer patients and are ready to go to work for you.
Taxotere is a common chemotherapy drug given to breast, lung, and other types of cancer patients. Unfortunately, taking Taxotere can result in a number of side effects, including a permanent eye condition called canalicular stenosis. Canalicular stenosis can have a severe and lasting impact on your life, causing vision impairment and emotional distress.
Taxotere’s side effects were well documented in dozens of medical journals. However, the drug’s manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, marketed the drug for almost 15 years without disclosing its side effects, thereby preventing doctors and patients from making more informed medical decisions or seeking appropriate ophthalmological care during treatment.
Sadly, canalicular stenosis is completely preventable as long as the first signs of the disease are treated, so the condition doesn’t worsen. Doctors and patients didn’t know to watch for those early symptoms, however, because they weren’t properly informed about the risks.
The Orlando Taxotere lawsuit lawyers at Hotze Runkle PLLC are currently representing breast and other cancer survivors all over the country in lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis. We can help you join the thousands of other cases against this negligent pharmaceutical company, so don’t wait.
If you or someone you know received Taxotere as part of your chemotherapy treatment for breast or other cancer types and developed excessive tearing and watery eyes, take this quiz and find if you have a case.
Why You Need a Taxotere Lawyer
If you are a cancer patient who has taken Taxotere as part of your chemotherapy regimen at AdventHealth Orlando or other cancer hospitals and are now suffering serious side effects, Hotze Runkle PLLC wants you to know that you have legal options. Unlike a personal injury lawsuit against a single individual, instances involving harmful drugs that impacted a large number of people fall under the category of mass tort cases. These are instances where a single negligent or wrongful act inflicts widespread harm on people across a number of jurisdictions and requires a skilled attorney who has experience dealing with this area of the law.
In addition, harmful drug cases are incredibly complex and require the courage and skillset to go up against billion-dollar corporations with large, high-powered legal teams of their own. Simply put, this is something you cannot do alone. You need a qualified and aggressive mass tort attorney who knows the ins and outs of the legal process and who takes on pharmaceutical companies on a regular basis.
The Orlando Taxotere lawyers know how delicate these cases are and empathize with cancer survivors’ pain and suffering. If we take your case, we will treat you and your family with the care and sensitivity you deserve, and we will do everything in our power to hold Sanofi-Aventis accountable.
What Is Taxotere?
Manufactured by the multinational pharmaceutical company, Sanofi-Aventis, Taxotere (docetaxel) is a common and effective first or second-time antineoplastic agent used in chemotherapy treatment to treat a variety of cancers by slowing the growth and spread of cancer cells.
Taxotere came to market in 1996, but a connection between the drug and canalicular stenosis was identified as early as 2000. Still, Sanofi did nothing to warn doctors or patients about these serious side effects and continued to market the drug and harm thousands of people in the process.
Oncologists use Taxotere to treat many types of cancer, including the following:
- Breast cancer – When earlier chemotherapy treatments have failed, it can treat early-stage breast cancer, operable node-positive breast cancer, and metastatic breast cancer.
- Lung cancer – A first or second-line treatment for locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
- Prostate cancer – For patients suffering from metastatic prostate cancer
- Stomach cancer – For patients with advanced gastric adenocarcinoma
- Head and neck cancer – A treatment option for patients suffering from squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck (SCCHN).
Classified as a “plant alkaloid,” Taxotere attacks cancer cells, damaging the cell skeleton by making it rigid and unable to grow. Approved by the FDA over twenty years ago for treating metastatic breast cancer, it has been linked to a number of long-term side effects that greatly impact a person’s physical appearance and mental health, including epiphora (watery eyes) and permanent hair loss (alopecia).
Taxotere is administered every week, two weeks, or three weeks, depending on a patient’s treatment schedule. And while patients who took the drug weekly have a higher chance of suffering from canalicular stenosis, studies show that some cancer patients who received the drug at all still developed these side effects.
If you have completed your Taxotere treatment or are currently receiving it as part of your chemotherapy treatment, and you are experiencing excessive tearing, you may have a case.
What Is Canalicular Stenosis? Do I Have It?
For cancer patients who have developed canalicular stenosis, one of the most tragic truths is that it was entirely preventable. While not disclosed by Sanofi-Aventis, the side effect was documented in dozens of medical journals that all concluded the same thing—if caught early on, excessive tearing can be resolved with topical steroids and repeated probing and irrigation from an ophthalmologist. Instead, many individuals experiencing eye-watering, or epiphora, developed a serious and irreversible condition called canalicular stenosis.
The human eye contains a system of ducts and sacs that all work to produce tears. The lacrimal gland’s job is to continually create tears to keep the cornea lubricated and free of any dirt and debris. Canalicular stenosis is the closure of tubes called canaliculi, thereby blocking tears from funneling into the duct and forcing them back onto the eye. The tears then well up on the eye and run down the face causing blurred vision and eye irritation, which can impact your ability to drive, read, do your job, and wear makeup.
Medical studies show that chemotherapy patients who take Taxotere develop canalicular stenosis when the drug gets secreted into the tear film, which in turn causes chronic inflammation of the canaliculi. Over time, this results in scarring, which can cause these channels to narrow and eventually close. If the symptoms are disclosed and recognized early enough, canalicular stenosis can be prevented, and patients can avoid expensive and invasive surgical procedures that may be needed to treat the condition.
Treatment of Canalicular Stenosis
If the side effect is diagnosed quickly, patients and doctors can seek ophthalmologist intervention to prevent complete closure of the canaliculi and the need for surgery. Unfortunately, epiphora can be an under-recognized side effect of chemotherapy. Additionally, some patients and doctors think that excessive tearing will end after chemotherapy ends, but oftentimes, long-term and irreversible damage has been done by then.
Available treatment options depend on the severity of the obstruction and how soon it is discovered. Patients with minor obstructions can receive temporary bicanalicular silicone stents, which help prevent permanent and complete closure of the canaliculi. This is a fairly noninvasive outpatient procedure that requires sedation and local anesthesia and won’t disrupt a patient’s planned chemotherapy treatment. An ophthalmologist will remove the stents four to six weeks after completing your Taxotere treatment.
For patients suffering from severe canalicular stenosis where the canaliculi are permanently scarred and closed, surgery may be the only treatment option. The two types of procedures are a dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR), where a surgeon will create a new hole to create a passageway for your tears, or conjunctivodacryocystorhinostomy (CDCR), where doctors insert permanent glass tubes. These tubes require daily care and are susceptible to migration, extrusion, permanent facial scarring, or further irritation.
How Can We Help
Most chemotherapy patients would have avoided the need for surgery and the accompanying emotional toll on excessive tearing if it weren’t for Sanofi-Aventis’ negligent marketing practices. On August 1, 2006, a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology concluded that early intervention and frequent visits to an ophthalmologist while using Taxotere would eliminate the need for silicone intubation or other lacrimal procedures in 80 percent of patients taking the drug every three weeks and 50 percent of patients taking it weekly.
It’s been 20 years since this permanent and life-altering side effect was discovered. There are currently 10,000 pending lawsuits against this pharmaceutical company from current and former cancer patients seeking restitution for the damage they caused. We want you to join the fight and hold Sanofi-Aventis accountable for its reckless actions.
If you are a cancer survivor or patient and are now suffering from severe eye-watering or canalicular stenosis after being treated with Taxotere, Hotze Runkle PLLC would like to talk with you about your legal options moving forward. Our team of attorneys in the Orlando area will do everything we can to help you recover financial compensation to cover the cost of medical bills, including surgeries and lifelong care costs. Don’t wait, take our quiz today, and find out if you are eligible for financial compensation.