Cancer takes an extreme toll on the body. Yet sometimes, it is hard to tell the difference between the ravages of cancer and the side effects of cancer-battling treatments like chemotherapy. This is especially true when the manufacturers of drugs used in conjunction with chemotherapy treatments fail to disclose their serious side effects to both patients and physicians. Patients can easily brush off irritations as “the price of fighting cancer,” when in fact, these side effects may be symptoms of something much more dangerous.
Taxotere is one such drug. This medication is often used in connection with chemotherapy treatments. Unfortunately, new studies have come out linking the use of this drug to a serious eye condition. However, the manufacturers of this medication never mentioned that this condition was a potential side effect, even though they knew of the risk. This blatant refusal to disclose this information has put patients’ health at risk.
Lawsuits have already been filed claiming that the pharmaceutical company was aware of this serious side effect and failed to disclose it. Victims impacted by this negligence may be able to seek compensation through legal means. If you are interested in learning more and whether you potentially have a case, take this Taxotere quiz.
What is Taxotere?
Taxotere is a drug that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to help fight certain types of cancers. The drug works by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and thus helping to prevent the spread of cancerous cells throughout the body. Taxotere is primarily used in combination with chemotherapy treatments.
Although there are several different drugs that may be used to help treat cancer, Taxotere is predominantly used in the treatment of breast cancer. It can also be used to help patients battling lung cancer, stomach cancer, prostate cancer, and certain cancers of the head and neck.
Taxotere is not a pill. It is a medication that is administered through an intravenous or IV line. The dosage and how often the medication needs to be administered depends on directions from the physician. The type and stage of cancer, as well as the weight and height of the patient, can all play a role in determining how much of the medication should be prescribed.
Some patients may need to take the drug as often as once a week, others perhaps only once every three weeks. Hospitals around the Minneapolis area, such as the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, the University of Minnesota Medical Center, and Abbott Northwestern Hospital, have probably all at some point used Taxotere to help their patients battle cancer. It is a relatively common drug in the U.S.
Side Effects of Taking Taxotere
As with all medications, there is always the possibility of side effects. The Food and Drug Administration is charged with ensuring that drug manufacturers disclose all possible side effects before medication can be approved to hit the market. These side effects are typically listed on the box that the medication comes in. Physicians can then review those side effects with the patient so that the patient can make informed decisions about their health care and understand what to expect from a course of treatment.
The most commonly cited side effects associated with using the drug Taxotere include:
- Dry eyes
- Sore throat
- Muscle pain
- Bleeding gums
- Blood in urine or stool
- Chest pain
- Tingling or numbness in limbs
- Irregular heartbeat
- Infusion site reactions
Unfortunately for many patients that received Taxotere for the treatment of their cancers, these aren’t the only potential side effects. Several studies, including ones published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information and another published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, have noted a previously undisclosed side effect that was never mentioned in the literature provided by the manufacturer about the drug. The side effect is called “canalicular stenosis,” and it is a dangerous condition that impacts the eyes.
What is Canalicular Stenosis?
Our eyes stay healthy, in part, due to the constant moisture and cleaning process that tears provide. Tears keep the eye moist, clean, and free from irritants and debris. Every time a person blinks, the motion takes tears from the tear ducts and spreads them across the entire surface of the eye. Tears emerge from the tear ducts via a complicated network of tubes and sacs. One of these tubes is a channel called the canaliculus. There is one canaliculus in each eyelid.
Canalicular stenosis impacts this channel in the eye by closing it off or obstructing it. This obstruction or inflammation prevents tears from draining and flowing properly. In most cases, tears end up running down an individual’s face because of the obstruction.
Complications from Canalicular Stenosis
Canalicular stenosis is more than just “watery eyes.” Persistent watery eyes are not just an inconvenience or embarrassment. They can leave the eye without natural lubrication and a cleansing mechanism can cause severe damage to the eye itself. Left untreated, there can be significant and even permanent complications from the condition, including vision loss. Some of the most common complications that can result from canalicular stenosis may include:
- Persistent tears streaming down the face
- Dry eyes
- Blurred vision
- Cystoid macular edema or loss of vision
How Do you Treat Canalicular Stenosis?
If left untreated or if the condition isn’t caught in a reasonable about of time, the effects of canalicular stenosis can be irreversible and permanent. The sooner the symptoms are caught and the condition recognized, the better the prognosis for the victim. In mild cases of canalicular stenosis, a physician may only prescribe a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics combined with warm compresses may help ease symptoms. Steroids can be a viable treatment option in some circumstances, as well.
For more advanced cases of the condition, surgery may be the only viable option left to a patient. The surgical procedure is very complex and delicate, and it is not without its own set of risks and expenses. The Journal of American Medical Association Ophthalmology highlights the sensitive surgical procedure which seeks to restore normal tear flow by placing small glass tubes into the canaliculus channel. Some of the inherent complications with this surgery can include:
- Eye damage or blindness
- Rejection of the foreign bodies
- Sinus or nasal problems
Another consideration is the cost. Surgical procedures and medical treatment can come at a high price. A victim may already have substantial medical bills because of their cancer treatment. Add to that the unexpected cost of more medical intervention, and the financial burden can become overwhelming.
Do I Have a Case, and What is it Worth?
Study after study continues to come out linking the use of Taxotere to the development of canalicular stenosis. Although those who received the drug on a weekly basis are more prone to developing the eye condition, even those given less frequent treatments have developed canalicular stenosis.
The makers and marketers of the drug Taxotere did not disclose that canalicular stenosis was a possible side effect of their medication. Pharmaceutical companies have a duty to provide the public, both doctors and patients, with information that relates to all possible side effects of a drug or medication.
Lawsuits have already been filed on behalf of patients claiming that the pharmaceutical company had a role in ignoring, denying, and misleading the public about their drug. A victim who has been prescribed the drug Taxotere and subsequently been diagnosed with canalicular stenosis may have a legal claim against the company.
This claim may entitle the victim to substantial financial compensation in the form of both economic and non-economic damages. This may include money for:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket costs associated with the condition
- Pain and suffering
The value of your claim depends on several different factors, including the severity of your symptoms, your treatment options, the presence of a disability or disfigurement that resulted from use of the drug, and how the condition impacts your quality of life. While economic damages are determined by your measurable losses, non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, are much more subjective.
An experienced Taxotere attorney can give a victim more information on what the total value of their legal claim may be. However, Minnesota has a statute of limitations when it comes to filing lawsuits for defective drug cases. Typically, this time limit is four years. Those who have been impacted by the negative effects of the drug Taxotere must get legal advice as soon as possible, so they don’t miss out on potential compensation because the time limit has expired.
Engage an Experienced Minneapolis Taxotere Lawsuit Attorney from Hotze Runkle PLLC
As a patient, you have the right to make an informed and educated decision about your medical care and treatment. The makers of Taxotere took that right away from you when they failed to disclose the serious side effects of their medication. Their negligent disregard for your health may have cost you your eyesight or caused serious damage to your quality of life. You are battling cancer already, and now you have to deal with a serious eye condition just because a company placed their profit margins above your health and safety.
You have the power to hold this company accountable for their actions, and the attorneys with Hotze Runkle PLLC can help. If you have more questions or want to know if you are a candidate to file a lawsuit against the company in an attempt to recover valuable compensation, take this quiz. You have legal options, and the team at Hotze Runkle PLLC can help you sort through them.