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Peripheral Edema from Taxotere


Like many chemotherapy drugs, Taxotere can cause tissue fluid to build up. Fluid retention is a common side effect listed on Taxotere’s warning labels. Peripheral edema is swelling of the legs, feet, and ankles caused by an abnormal amount of fluid accumulating in the tissues. Typically, symptoms are mild and resolve with proper treatment. However, severe cases can lead to complications.

At Hotze Runkle PLLC, we want to help if Taxotere has harmed you. Although the chemo treatment is effective, it can cause debilitating symptoms and long-term consequences. If you have experienced peripheral edema or other adverse effects of Taxotere during chemo treatments, call us at (800) 763-6155 or take our quiz to determine your eligibility for a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer.

How Does Taxotere Work?

Docetaxel is the chemical name for the chemotherapy drug Taxotere. It belongs to a family of drugs called taxanes. The manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis developed it to treat various types of cancers, including those affecting

Cancer cells are abnormal cells in the body that divide and multiply rapidly. Chemotherapy drugs like Taxotere attack these cells to stop them from multiplying and spreading to other body parts. The treatment works by freezing microtubules in the cancer cell itself.

Microtubules are building blocks of the cell’s skeleton. During the growth cycle of the cell, microtubules assemble and disassemble. Taxotere blocks the process, preventing the cells from dividing and eventually destroying them.

Since each type of cancer cell divides at different rates, medical providers administer Taxotere on a regimen specific to the patient’s type and stage of cancer. The drug can be administered intravenously once weekly, every other week, or every three weeks.

Common Side Effects and Black Box Warnings

Taxotere comes with a significant list of side effects. However, many weren’t on the warning labels initially. Sanofi didn’t update its warning labels until patients reported certain complications, and the FDA required Sanofi to issue new labels with additional side effects.

The drug’s black box warning includes potential problems, such as:

  • Fluid retention
  • Hypersensitivity reactions
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Neutropenia
  • Toxic deaths

Severe allergic reactions can also occur. Alcohol contained in the medication might affect the central nervous system, causing a feeling of being drunk. Warnings also mention possible harm to unborn babies.

The most common side effects of Taxotere include:

  • Hypersensitivity
  • Anorexia
  • Hair loss
  • Anemia
  • Infections
  • Constipation
  • Fluid retention
  • Body pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Neutropenia with or without fever and infection
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin reactions
  • Neuropathy
  • Nausea

What Is Peripheral Edema?

Edema is the medical term used to refer to swelling associated with fluid overload, injury, or inflammation. It can affect any part of the body. It occurs when fluid from small blood vessels leaks into tissues. Too much fluid building up in the tissues causes swelling.

Peripheral edema is the most common type of edema. It can affect the arms, feet, wrists, legs, ankles, and hands. Symptoms often include:

  • Difficulty moving
  • Skin tightness
  • Pain in the joints and muscle tissues
  • Increased swelling
  • Shiny or stretched skin
  • Puffiness in the hands, ankles, and face
  • Joint stiffness and achiness

Since edema can result from numerous medical conditions, such as diabetes, liver disease, and heart failure, a medical evaluation is necessary to determine the underlying cause. You might be entitled to compensation if it’s related to Taxotere treatment.

Diagnosing Peripheral Edema

A medical provider has several approaches to diagnosing peripheral edema. A physical examination and diagnostic testing can uncover the cause and the appropriate treatment to alleviate swelling and prevent further fluid buildup.

Edema grading is done on a scale based on the severity of the diagnosis and the amount of fluid buildup in the tissues. The doctor performs a pitting test by gently pressing the skin on the affected part of the body for five to fifteen seconds. A dimple in the skin after releasing the finger indicates fluid has built up in the tissues.

The edema grading scale measures how fast the dimple goes away after the pitting test. The scale includes these four grades:

  • Grade 1 – The dimple is 2 millimeters and rebounds immediately
  • Grade 2 – The dimple is 3 to 4 millimeters and rebounds in less than 15 seconds
  • Grade 3 – The dimple is 5 to 6 millimeters and rebounds over 15 seconds but under 60 seconds
  • Grade 4 – The dimple is 8 millimeters and rebounds between 2 and 3 minutes

How to Treat Peripheral Edema

The underlying cause of the edema dictates the course of treatment. If peripheral edema is a side effect of Taxotere, your doctor might lower the dosage or switch to a different medication until the swelling goes down. Over-the-counter acetaminophen like Tylenol can ease the pain associated with swelling.

You might be able to manage symptoms and possibly prevent fluid from building up in your tissues with simple changes to your daily routine, including:

  • Wearing support stockings, socks, or sleeves to keep fluid from collecting in your legs, ankles, and feet
  • Reducing your salt intake
  • Avoiding standing or sitting for long periods
  • Keeping your legs elevated while sitting or lying down
  • Taking short walks or move your body around after being still for too long
  • Exercising regularly

Complications of Peripheral Edema from Taxotere

PERIPHERAL EDEMA FROM TAXOTERE 2Without adequate treatment of peripheral edema, complications can arise. Common complications include:

  • Scarring between layers of tissue
  • Stiffness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Itchy and stretched skin
  • Skin ulcers
  • Infection
  • Loss of elasticity in veins, joints, and arteries
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Painful swelling

Seek Legal Assistance for Your Taxotere Symptoms

Hotze Runkle PLLC is dedicated to holding drug manufacturers liable for harming consumers. When you have cancer, you have enough to worry about without dealing with the adverse effects of a drug you thought you could trust. Let us help you seek the justice you deserve.

Did you develop peripheral edema from Taxotere chemotherapy? Then call Hotze Runkle PLLC at (800) 763-6155 for a free consultation. You can also take our case evaluation quiz to determine if you might be entitled to compensation for your losses.