Most people who have chemotherapy treatment for cancer know that they may develop side effects. Some of these problems, which range from uncomfortable to temporarily debilitating, include:
- Hair loss
- Skin and nail problems
- Reduced ability to fight infections
Yet some of the side effects of Taxotere and other chemotherapy treatments are less well-known. One of the more disturbing occurrences for some people is the progressive development of liver damage during their chemotherapy treatment. This side effect can present serious health issues if untreated.
If you have suffered severe side effects or developed irreversible conditions because of Taxotere, contact the dedicated Taxotere lawsuit attorneys of Hotze Runkle PLLC. Our law firm has held the manufacturers of Taxotere accountable for years, and we are ready to help you recover the compensation you deserve for your losses. Call us today at (800) 763-6155 or take our online quiz, and a team member will contact you.
What Is the Liver?
After the skin, the liver is the body’s second-largest organ. It sits in the upper-right portion of your abdomen, underneath the diaphragm, and above the stomach and intestines. This cone-shaped organ weighs roughly three pounds and is dark red-brown. At any given moment, the liver holds about one pint of blood, more than ten percent of the body’s total supply. Each of its two lobes is made up of eight segments.
How Does the Liver Work?
The liver is responsible for regulating most of the chemicals in your bloodstream. It also produces and excretes bile fluid, which helps expel waste products.
The liver receives and processes blood from the stomach and small intestines, breaking down nutrients from your food. It is also in charge of metabolizing your drugs so the rest of the body can absorb them.
Among the more than 500 vital functions the liver performs, some of the most notable include:
- Producing proteins that help make up blood plasma
- Producing cholesterol
- Converting excess blood sugar into glycogen for storage
- Regulating amino acids in the blood
- Processing hemoglobin to store iron
- Converting ammonia into urea
- Clearing the blood of toxic substances
- Regulating blood clotting
- Resisting infections by filtering the bloodstream
Why Does Taxotere Cause Liver Damage?
Taxotere and other taxanes work by attacking fast-growing cells such as those that cause cancer. Yet other cells in the body, including those that make up much of the digestive system, also grow and proliferate quickly. This can make them susceptible to the effects of Taxotere, leading to the loss or impairment of function.
One segment of the population particularly susceptible to liver damage from chemotherapy is those with hepatitis B infections. While patients with active infections are vulnerable to these complications, even those who have apparently cleared the virus may experience a reactivation. Medical professionals should screen their patients for current or previous infections before deciding whether a chemotherapy treatment is appropriate for an individual.
Types of Liver Problems from Taxotere
Among the many liver problems that could develop as a result of some types of chemotherapy are:
- Asymptomatic increase in liver enzymes
- Increased risk of gallstones
- Enlarged liver
- Hepatitis B and C
- Nodules in the liver
- Cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver
- Fibrosis (hardening) of the liver
- Excess iron buildup in the body
Symptoms of Liver Damage from Taxotere
Depending on your problem type, symptoms of liver damage from Taxotere can vary. In some cases, liver damage is asymptomatic. Doctors might only discover the issue via a series of diagnostic tests.
Those who experience physical symptoms might notice things like:
- A yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice)
- Dark-colored urine
- Pale, clay-colored feces
- Extreme itching
- Bruising or bleeding that occurs easily
- Chronic fatigue
- Abdominal pain
- General experience of discomfort or illness (malaise)
- Loss of appetite
- Noticeably enlarged liver
- A buildup of abdominal fluid (ascites)
One of the challenges patients face when they develop liver issues from Taxotere is that many of these symptoms are also common side effects of many forms of cancer treatment. However, while other symptoms of chemotherapy tend to alleviate over time, many signs of liver damage will persist for a longer period. If your symptoms worsen or do not go away, speak to your doctor immediately.
Diagnosing Liver Damage from Taxotere
Your healthcare professionals will conduct many tests before initiating your cancer treatment to rule out any issues that might prevent you from receiving chemotherapy. While you receive treatment, they should also perform examinations to ensure your liver maintains its normal functions. These tests will include blood screenings for:
- Measure enzyme levels that can indicate how well the liver is performing
- Detect hepatitis
- Assess blood clotting factors
- Check for dangerous levels of iron in the blood
If your healthcare professional suspects your treatment damages your liver, they must act quickly to prevent severe complications. They might reduce the drug dose they have been administering or stop the treatment altogether.
Irreversible Side Effects of Taxotere
In addition to alarming consequences such as liver damage, Taxotere can cause other irreversible issues. Among the most alarming are eye conditions called epiphora and canalicular stenosis. From 1998 to 2014, Sanofi-Aventis, the maker of Taxotere, failed to warn healthcare providers and patients about the possibility of these conditions developing due to Taxotere treatments. As a result, many patients faced permanent eye damage.
Suppose you believe Taxotere has left you with severe health outcomes and weren’t advised of the potential side effects before you began receiving the drug. In that case, you may be eligible to recover compensation.
Contact Hotze Runkle PLLC
The dedicated Taxotere lawsuit attorneys at Hotze Runkle PLLC have been fighting for several years on behalf of clients who have suffered from the harmful side effects of Taxotere. Our legal team is determined to hold Sanofi accountable for its negligence.