Canalicular Stenosis from Taxotere
Many chemotherapy patients have developed canalicular stenosis from Taxotere, a commonly prescribed chemotherapy drug. Canalicular stenosis is a permanent, irreversible eye condition.
The Taxotere lawsuit attorneys at Hotze Runkle PLLC have represented many cancer patients suffering from this debilitating eye condition after taking Taxotere. We are determined to hold the manufacturer, Sanofi, accountable for inflicting this dangerous drug and its potential side effects on unsuspecting victims. We believe you deserve compensation for your physical, financial, and emotional pain and suffering.
What Is Taxotere and How Does It Work?
Taxotere is a medication to treat various forms of cancer, including breast, prostate, stomach, lung, head, and neck cancers. Also known by the generic name docetaxel, Taxotere is manufactured by the company Sanofi.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which approved the drug in 1996, Taxotere attacks the skeletal structure of cancer cells so they can no longer grow and proliferate.
Taxotere is typically administered through an infusion into a patient’s veins. A course of treatment will take approximately one hour. A doctor will determine the amount of Taxotere and frequency of injections, but most patients receive an infusion once every three weeks.
What Is Canalicular Stenosis and How Is It Connected to Taxotere?
An advanced case of canalicular stenosis is a permanent, irreversible eye condition in which the canaliculus, a short channel near the inner corner of the eyelid through which tears drain into the tear sac, is obstructed. When an obstruction occurs, tears well up in the eyes and run down the face.
Tears keep the eye moist and protected from external irritants in a normal eye. Tears travel through the canaliculus, into the tear sac, and down into the nasolacrimal duct. If there is an obstruction in the canaliculus, tears are bottled up in the eye with nowhere to go.
Numerous studies have shown a clear connection between canalicular stenosis and Taxotere. When a patient is administered Taxotere, it passes through their bodily fluids, including their blood, urine, feces, vomit, and tears. Indeed, researchers detected Taxotere in samples of tears from patients taking the drug. They hypothesize that canalicular stenosis is likely caused by Taxotere contaminating tears. The contamination causes damage to the canaliculus.
Between 1998 and 2014, Sanofi failed to warn patients and their doctors about these concerning side effects, delaying possible treatment and putting patients at risk of permanent damage.
Signs and Symptoms of Canicular Stenosis
Signs and symptoms of canalicular stenosis can develop soon after a patient starts infusions of Taxotere. Unfortunately, discontinuation of the drug did not lead to an improvement in symptoms.
Symptoms of canalicular stenosis include the following:
- Eye discomfort
- Overproduction of tears
- Overflow of tears
- Blurred vision
- Swollen eyelids
- Chronic eye infections
- Light sensitivity
- Vision loss
Treatments for Canalicular Stenosis
If caught early enough, patients who develop a canalicular obstruction may be able to prevent permanent damage with temporary stents. However, if untreated, canalicular obstruction can become a permanent condition called canalicular stenosis.
Because of Sanofi’s failure to adequately warn doctors and patients about the risks associated with Taxotere, many physicians might be unaware of the connection between canalicular stenosis and the drug. Therefore, they recommend treatments that only address the symptoms rather than the underlying problem. For example, topical steroids are frequently prescribed to treat watery eyes, which works if an underlying permanent obstruction is not causing the watery eyes.
Once canalicular stenosis has set in, patients should explore potential treatment options with their doctor. However, these treatments carry their own risks and may not be advised for all patients.
Current treatment options include the following:
- Dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) – DCR is a surgical procedure that creates a new path between your eye and nose for tears to drain, bypassing the obstruction. This procedure can be done externally via an incision in the skin or endoscopically via the nasal passage. Either way, the surgeon places a small tube as a new drainage pathway. Risks of DCR include the following:
- Never and tissue damage
- Facial scarring
- Sinus infection
Furthermore, DCR may fail to improve the original problem. Patients may find the risks outweigh the potential benefit, especially if that benefit is not a foregone conclusion.
- Conjunctivodacryocystorhinostomy (CDCR) – CDCR is a surgical procedure in which a glass tube is inserted to replace the canaliculus to help drain tears. This procedure is recommended for patients whose canaliculi are so damaged that a surgeon cannot use them to reconstruct a passageway. CDCR can be performed externally via an incision in the skin or endoscopically. This procedure also carries significant risks, including:
- Tube misposition, obstruction, or rejection
- Severe bleeding
- Facial scarring
- Tissue damage
Again, CDCR may ultimately be ineffective in some patients, significantly diminishing its potential benefits.
What to Do If You Develop Canalicular Stenosis After Taking Taxotere
If you developed canalicular stenosis after taking Taxotere, Hotze Runkle PLLC recommends you take the following actions to protect your rights:
- Consult your doctor – Tell your doctor about your symptoms and ask if they are aware of the research on Taxotere and canalicular stenosis. If caught early, you may be able to mitigate the harmful effects of Taxotere. Hotze Runkle PLLC can refer you to a physician if need be.
- Consult a lawyer – To pursue a powerful pharmaceutical company like Sanofi, you need an aggressive legal advocate on your side. We strongly advise you to find an attorney with experience handling dangerous drug cases and a successful track record of securing compensation for victims.
- Gather evidence – Your lawyer will gather essential evidence to prove the harm you have suffered by Sanofi’s negligence. For example, your attorney may consult with medical experts about your condition, including the long-term consequences on your health, livelihood, and happiness.
- Be prepared for a lengthy battle – No two cases are the same, so it is difficult to say how long it may take for your case against Sanofi to resolve. Our attorneys will do everything possible to arrive at an acceptable resolution soon because we know you are hurting. However, we strongly advise you to stick it out for a fair settlement. You may live with canalicular stenosis for the rest of your life, and this may be your only opportunity to secure the resources you need to take care of yourself.
Contact Hotze Runkle PLLC Today to Speak with an Attorney about Your Legal Options
If you develop canalicular stenosis after taking Taxotere, Hotze Runkle PLLC wants you to know you are not alone. Our dedicated Taxotere lawsuit attorneys have been fighting for clients who have suffered from negative side effects from taking Taxotere for several years. We are determined to hold the drug maker Sanofi accountable for their negligence.