In the grand scheme of things, watery eyes may seem like only a minor inconvenience when compared to the other serious side effects of chemotherapy treatment. However, persistent watery eyes may be a symptom of something much more dangerous: a condition that can permanently impact your eyesight called canalicular stenosis.
Never heard of this condition? That’s not surprising. It is a side effect of the drug Taxotere. This side effect was never disclosed by the pharmaceutical company that manufactures the drug. Taxotere is commonly used in conjuncture with chemotherapy to treat certain types of cancers. Unfortunately, doctors and the public were never made aware that Taxotere can cause serious side effects which may damage the eyes and the surrounding structures.
Lawsuits are now being filed against the maker of Taxotere, claiming that the pharmaceutical giant was aware of the dangerous side effects of its drug and failed to disclose the information to the public, thus endangering the health and safety of vulnerable cancer patients. If you have been given the drug Taxotere and are now suffering from watery eyes or have been diagnosed with canalicular stenosis, you may be entitled to compensation because of the drug maker’s negligence.
If you want more information about whether you are eligible for pursuing compensation, take this short but important Taxotere quiz. The experienced Tulsa team with Hotze Runkle PLLC wants to make sure you are aware of your rights and how you can fight back against pharmaceutical negligence.
What is Taxotere, and How Does it Fight Cancer?
Taxotere is a medication that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration to help fight certain types of cancers in 2004. Since its approval, it has been used in combination with chemotherapy treatments to help prevent the spread of cancer. The drug works by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, thereby preventing cancer from spreading to other parts of the body.
For the most part, Taxotere has been used to help treat patients suffering from breast cancer. However, it has also been used by patients suffering from stomach cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and certain other cancers involving the head and the neck.
Taxotere is a medication that must be prescribed by a physician and can only be given through an intravenous or IV line. The course of Taxotere treatment largely depends on the type and stage of cancer being treated. Some patients may be given weekly Taxotere treatments, while others may only need to use the drug once over the course of two to three weeks. A patient’s height and weight may also play into the dosage of the drug and the frequency with which it should be administered.
Hospitals in the Tulsa area that may have used the drug Taxotere to treat cancer patients may include Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the Saint Francis Health System, Oklahoma Cancer Specialists and Research Institute, and Hillcrest Medical Center, among others. These institutions have taken special care to give cancer patients the treatment options they deserve, and Taxotere may have been part of a cancer-fighting regime they prescribed.
Potential Side Effects of Taxotere
All drug manufacturers are required to provide the Food and Drug Administration with a comprehensive list of all possible and recorded side effects that have been associated with the use of a drug. Once the medication is approved for use, these side effects are listed on the product’s packaging and must be disclosed to the public. “The public” includes physicians and their patients. This packaging is intended to give doctors and their patients the information they need to make informed decisions about treatment options and health care decisions.
Taxotere is no different. Its packaging cited these possible side effects:
- Infusion site reactions
- Sore throat
- Muscle pain
- Bleeding gums
- Blood in urine or stool
- Chest pain
- Numbness in the limbs
- Irregular heartbeat
However, much to the dismay of patients and the physicians treating them, these aren’t the only side effects possible. Undisclosed side effects have been heavily documented in several medical
studies published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Annals of Oncology, and the National Center for Biotechnology Information. These studies and others have linked the use of the drug Taxotere with a serious eye condition known as canalicular stenosis. The development of this condition was never outlined in the information the drug manufacturer provided to the FDA and the public.
What is Canalicular Stenosis?
Canalicular stenosis is a disorder that impacts the tiny and complex network that delivers tears to the eye. Tears are the eye’s natural lubricant. They play a vital role in maintaining eye health as well as moisturizing the eye and keeping it clear of dust, dirt, and debris. Every time an individual blinks, they are spreading tears across the surface of the eye. These tears are delivered to the eye via a network of tubes, channels, and sacs. One of these vital pathways is called the canaliculus. Each eyelid has one canaliculus.
Canalicular stenosis is the name of the condition that impacts the canalicular channel. It is a disorder that closes off this important channel through inflammation or obstructions. If this channel is obstructed in any way, tears can’t get to where they need to be: the eye. Instead, tears may freely flow down an individual’s face or cause “watery eyes.”
Persistent watery eyes can be a serious problem. Tears that run down a person’s face are not properly being directed to the eye, leaving the eye itself without its natural system for cleansing and lubrication. Complications from canalicular stenosis may cause:
- Watery eyes
- Dry eyes
- Blurred vision
- Eye infections
- Cystoid macular edema or loss of vision
How Does Taxotere Lead to Canalicular Stenosis?
Studies have found that Taxotere can pass into a person’s bodily fluids, including tears. It is suspected that the presence of Taxotere in the tears can result in chronic inflammation and irritation of the canalicular channel. This chronic inflammation then leads to the development of the condition called canalicular stenosis.
While patients receiving weekly treatments with Taxotere had the highest instances of developing canalicular stenosis, even those receiving less frequent treatments have developed the condition. Some studies have even suggested that stopping the drug does not halt the symptoms associated with canalicular stenosis.
Treatment options for canalicular stenosis depend on the severity of the case. In mild cases of the disorder, antibiotics and a warm compress may be enough to ease the symptoms. Some stubborn cases may also be treated with a course of steroids.
In the most severe cases, however, one of the only viable treatments may be surgery. This involves a physician surgically implanting tiny glass tubes into the canalicular channels in an attempt to restore normal tear flow through the tubes.
This surgery isn’t without risk. There can be scarring, bleeding, and vision complications. There is always the chance that the body’s immune system will reject and attack the newly implanted foreign body.
Do I Have a Case, and What Is Its Value?
If you received the drug Taxotere as a part of your cancer treatment program and then subsequently suffered from severe watery eyes or have been diagnosed with canicular stenosis, you may have a viable claim against the drug’s manufacturer. Claims have been made against the drug company that they failed to disclose canicular stenosis as a possible side effect of their medication. Lawsuits have also been filed claiming that the pharmaceutical had a role in both denying and misleading the public about the safety of their drug.
The value of a pharmaceutical claim depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of a person’s condition and symptoms, their treatment options, and whether the side effect caused any permanent disfigurement or disability, such as vision loss. The courts will calculate the economic damages, like medical expenses, as well as non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering. In general, a victim may be able to recover valuable compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Pain and suffering
For more information on how much your Taxotere claim may be worth, consult with an experienced Tulsa Taxotere attorney at Hotze Runkle PLLC.
Contact an Experienced Tulsa Taxotere Lawsuit Attorney from Hotze Runkle PLLC
Important information has been kept from you and your doctor. The pharmaceutical company in charge of manufacturing and marketing the drug Taxotere was negligent because they failed to provide the public with important information about the potential risks of the drug. If you have been harmed as a result, you may be entitled to significant compensation.
How do you know if you may be able to recover compensation? Start by taking this important quiz. It can help you determine whether you can hold the makers of Taxotere accountable for their actions. You have rights, and the experienced Tulsa team with Hotze Runkle PLLC can help you protect those rights and fight for the money that you deserve.