Permanent Hair Loss (Alopecia) from Taxotere
Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy. However, it is supposed to be temporary. Patients often regrow their hair after chemo treatments stop. Although Taxotere causes side effects similar to other chemotherapy drugs, the hair loss that results from the use of Taxotere can be permanent.
Hotze Runkle PLLC is taking cases involving the dangers of using Taxotere in chemo treatments. The manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, allegedly failed to warn patients and doctors of the risk of permanent hair loss. We might be able to represent you in a lawsuit to hold the manufacturer liable.
Call the Taxotere side effects lawsuit attorneys of Hotze Runkle PLLC at (800) 763-6155 for a free consultation to learn more.
How Taxotere Works
Docetaxel is the generic form of Taxotere. It is a chemotherapy drug manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis, a pharmaceutical company focusing on developing and selling prescription medications.
A medical provider administers the drug by an infusion directly into the vein. Each treatment takes around one hour. Typically, patients receive Taxotere once every three weeks. However, the frequency depends on the type and stage of cancer and the regimen recommended by the doctor.
Every cancer drug attacks cancer cells differently. Taxotere works by damaging the supporting structure of cancer cells in the body. The damage makes those cells stiff to prevent them from growing.
Why Does Chemotherapy Cause Hair Loss?
The drugs that are used during chemotherapy attack the rapidly growing cancer cells. However, others cells in the body divide and grow rapidly also, including the cells responsible for hair growth. The drugs can’t differentiate between harmful cells and healthy cells. That causes them to attack any cell that divides and grows rapidly.
Typically, cancer patients start losing hair two to four weeks after treatment begins. Hair loss can occur anywhere on the body. It might fall out gradually or in large clumps. It can continue throughout treatment and for several weeks after.
Once chemotherapy ends, hair should start to grow back within a few weeks. However, patients on a Taxotere regimen can experience permanent hair loss. Some might experience hair regrowth in specific places but notice bald spots. Other people’s hair doesn’t grow back at all.
An Overview of Alopecia
Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss or baldness. The three main types of alopecia include:
- Alopecia totalis – Total hair loss on the scalp
- Alopecia areata – Patchy baldness anywhere on the body, such as the eyebrows, scalp, armpits, eyelashes, or ears
- Alopecia universalis – Hair loss over the entire body
Typically, alopecia causes hair loss on the scalp. However, it can occur anywhere on the body.
Common symptoms of hair loss can include:
- Receding hairline
- Gradual thinning of hair on the head
- Thinner ponytail
- Widening part
- Bald spots that grow slowly
Alopecia can happen gradually, causing signs that aren’t noticeable until months or years after onset. However, some hair loss occurs suddenly, leading to noticeable symptoms such as:
- A bald patch or strip that appears within one to two days
- All or most of the hair on top of the heading falls out
- Clumps of hair fall out while brushing or combing hair
Since alopecia areata can cause hair loss in other places besides the scalp, other parts of the body often affected include:
- Inside the nose
- Pubic hair
- Arms and legs
Although losing hair is a telltale sign of alopecia, you might notice other symptoms, such as:
- Scaly bald patches with blisters or sores that open and ooze pus
- Stinging or burning before losing hair suddenly
- Swelling, redness, and sores that itch
- Intense burning, itching, and tenderness where the hair loss occurs
- Scaly patches of psoriasis on the scalp
Study Linking Taxotere to Permanent Hair Loss
According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, researchers discovered a link between permanent hair loss and taxane chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. The study’s primary goal was to determine the prevalence and patterns of permanent chemotherapy-induced alopecia (pCIA) from docetaxel and paclitaxel.
The study involved 383 patients with breast cancer. Of all participants, 245 received docetaxel, and 138 received paclitaxel. The results showed 23.3 percent of patients on a docetaxel regimen reported pCIA, while only 10.1 percent of paclitaxel patients reported pCIA.
At the end of the study, the researchers concluded that docetaxel and paclitaxel could cause permanent hair loss on the scalp. However, incidents were more prevalent with docetaxel.
Did the FDA Recall Taxotere?
No. Taxotere (docetaxel) is still available to treat various cancer types, including breast, prostate, lung, stomach, and head/neck cancer. Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Sanofi have not recalled the drug, the FDA required Sanofi to update its warning labels in 2015. The manufacturer started including the risk of permanent alopecia on Taxotere labels to notify the public of the potential dangers.
Compensation for Permanent Hair Loss
You might be entitled to compensation for this adverse effect of treating your cancer with Taxotere. You can file a lawsuit against Sanofi-Aventis to hold the manufacturer liable for supplying a dangerous drug. The compensation you receive might cover your:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Out-of-pocket expenses
Although permanent hair loss isn’t life-threatening, the long-term effects can be debilitating. Many cancer patients suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses after learning their hair might never grow back. It often requires ongoing therapy or counseling to cope with what happened.
You might also be able to recover punitive or exemplary damages from the drug manufacturer. This financial award punishes the defendant for their actions and aims to deter similar behavior in the future. You must show clear and convincing evidence of Sanofi’s misconduct for the judge or jury to award you punitive or exemplary damages.
Seek Justice for Your Permanent Hair Loss
Do not hesitate to pursue legal action against Sanofi for the harm you suffered from treating your cancer with Taxotere chemotherapy. Hotze Runkle PLLC could work to help you hold the drug company accountable for its actions and seek the maximum possible compensation on your behalf.
If you developed alopecia from Taxotere, call us at (800) 763-6155 or take our Case Evaluation Quiz to determine whether you qualify for a Taxotere hair loss lawsuit.