When your doctor informs you that you have cancer, it can be one of the most harrowing things a person can experience. Most people in this situation accept whatever treatment their doctor recommends to eradicate the disease. Yet many forms of chemotherapy, including Taxotere and other taxanes, can cause significant side effects, including increased risk of infection.
Many cancer patients know that their decision to undergo chemo may lead to hair loss, fatigue, and nausea. Yet many of Taxotere’s side effects are much more dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Chief among these dangers is an increased risk of all types of infection.
If you have suffered severe consequences due to an increased risk of infection during or after Taxotere treatment, contact the experienced Taxotere side effects attorneys of Hotze Runkle PLLC. Our legal team will help you determine whether you might be eligible to file a compensation claim against the pharmaceutical manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis. Call us today at (800) 763-6155 or take our online quiz to assess your eligibility to file a lawsuit.
What Is Infection?
An infection occurs when harmful microorganisms such as viruses or bacteria enter your system and proliferate. We are all exposed to various pathogens every day, but the body’s immune system generally keeps these germs from replicating enough to cause a serious problem. However, Taxotere and other forms of chemotherapy can inhibit the immune system, increasing the likelihood that the presence of pathogens will develop into a harmful condition.
Symptoms of an infection may include:
- Feeling shivery (chills)
- Sore throat
- Persistent cough
- Increased need to pass urine
You should seek medical attention immediately if you are undergoing cancer treatment and develop these symptoms. The situation may be particularly urgent if your temperature rises above 99.5°F.
Untreated infections can lead to complications in those with suppressed immune systems. One such complication is sepsis (blood poisoning), which can sometimes be fatal.
How Does the Immune System Work?
Your immune system has three main components: protective layers, antibodies, and cells and organs.
The body’s first line of defense against infections is the skin, which acts as a barrier between the environment and the inner body. Mucus membranes make up an additional protective layer for parts of the body that are more exposed, such as:
- The mouth
- The nose
- The digestive system
- The urethra
- The vagina
Antibodies are proteins the body produces as another line of defense against pathogens. If harmful germs enter the body, these proteins combine chemically with the foreign substance to neutralize the threat of infection.
Cells and Organs
The principal cells that fight infection are the various white blood cells. These cells originate in the bone marrow and travel through the blood and lymphatic system to attack and destroy pathogens. The lymph nodes, thymus, and spleen also play prominent roles in the body’s immune response.
How Does Taxotere Affect the Immune System?
Taxotere and other types of chemotherapy work by targeting cells that replicate rapidly and grow quickly. Cancer cells are dangerous because their growth can overwhelm the system if unchecked. However, many other cells in the body are fast-growing, including blood cells and the cells that form mucus membranes. Taxotere can kill these cells and prevent them from regenerating quickly. Consequently, the immune system grows weaker, and the risk of infection increases.
Cancer patients face a particularly high risk of infection in the second week after receiving chemotherapy treatment. This is the point at which the body’s white blood cell count is at its lowest. If you receive another course before your white blood cell count has returned to a healthy level, your risk of infection increases even more. Your healthcare professional should measure your cell count before administering Taxotere again.
Tips for Avoiding Risk of Infection
If you have recently received Taxotere treatments, you should take proactive steps to reduce your chances of developing an infection.
Practice Good Hygiene
One of the most effective ways to stop the spread of germs is for you and everyone in your household to practice good personal hygiene. This includes washing your hands regularly, particularly:
- After going to the bathroom
- Before cooking or eating
- After working in a garden
- After playing with pets
You should also bathe daily and avoid sharing towels. Those who are receiving chemo should also avoid handling animal waste.
Monitor Contact with Others
Be careful when you are around other people. Avoid anyone who has an infection, and stay away from crowded places or public transport.
Vaccinations can reduce your risk of some infections. While your doctor may recommend vaccines to protect you from the flu and Covid-19, you will need to avoid live vaccines, including:
- Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
- Oral typhoid
- Yellow fever
These vaccines contain a small amount of the illness, which can be potentially dangerous for immunocompromised people.
Taxotere and Eye Conditions
While monitoring for possible infections, you should be vigilant about eye issues. Sanofi-Aventis has a long history of failing to disclose the potential for Taxotere recipients to develop eye problems such as epiphora, which causes excessive tearing. Epiphora can lead to canalicular stenosis, an irreversible condition involving obstructions within the tear ducts.
Speak with your doctor if you notice any eye problems, and contact an experienced Taxotere attorney who can help you understand your legal rights.
Contact Hotze Runkle PLLC Today
The battle against cancer is never easy. However, when the drug treating you causes life-threatening or permanent problems you didn’t know were potential side effects, you deserve to hold the responsible party accountable for their negligence. The dedicated Taxotere lawsuit attorneys at Hotze Runkle PLLC have spent the last several years fighting for the rights of those who have suffered negative side effects. Let us work to recover the compensation you deserve.
Contact Hotze Runkle PLLC at (800) 763-6155 today to speak to a seasoned Taxotere injury lawyer, or take our online case evaluation quiz to learn whether you might be eligible to file a lawsuit. A member of our team will be in touch.