Did you suffer from severe side effects as a result of the chemotherapy drug Taxotere? If so, the Texas Taxotere attorneys of Hotze Runkle PLLC can help you. Take our Taxotere Lawsuit Quiz to find out if you or a loved one qualifies.
No one is ever prepared for a cancer diagnosis. Many emotions surround a serious health problem like cancer, and cancer patients are eager to start treatment that will, if not save their lives, at least prolong them.
There are many types of cancer treatments. Sometimes, cancer patients receive two or more types of treatments to fight the disease. These can include surgery to remove the cancerous cells, and depending on the severity of cancer, radiation, or chemotherapy to kill or diminish any remaining cancer cells.
Chemotherapy is the most aggressive treatment for cancer. Chemotherapy drugs are administered intravenously and flood the body with the chemicals that will hopefully eradicate all cancer cells in the body. The chemicals do not exit the bloodstream completely until four to six weeks after chemotherapy ends.
Most chemotherapy treatments for cancer have some unpleasant, but temporary, side effects like nausea and hair loss that go away as soon as the chemotherapy drug is out of the bloodstream.
However, one chemotherapy drug, Taxotere, manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis, has several severe and permanent side effects that the pharmaceutical company never warned oncologists or cancer patients about for the first 16 years the drug was used (1998-2014).
You are a cancer survivor. Perhaps you had Stage IV breast cancer that didn’t initially respond to treatment. Maybe you had Stage IV breast cancer that spread to other parts of your body. You may have had early-stage cancer that spread to your lymph nodes after surgery. You might have had prostate cancer, neck cancer, or lung cancer.
Though your cancer treatment – chemotherapy using Taxotere – ended years ago, you are living with side effects that were not disclosed by the drug manufacturer. These are so severe that they have significantly impacted your quality of life and have left you with physical and emotional trauma.
Hotze Runkle PLLC is dedicated to helping Texas cancer patients like you recover damages for the losses you’ve suffered. Our product liability attorneys get results. We have successfully won over 100 million dollars for our clients who have been permanently harmed by chemotherapy drugs they received in cancer treatment.
We are committed to holding Sanofi-Aventis responsible for their negligence for not disclosing the severe and permanent side effects of Taxotere. Contact us at (800) 763-6155 today to schedule a free consultation and let us get justice for you.
Taxotere and Epiphora
The main symptom of epiphora is exceptionally watery eyes, with tears streaming down your face continuously. Basal tears normally flow into the eyes through lacrimal ducts (canaliculi) that are located between the nose and eye and sit above and below the eye. These tears form a protective shield around the eye – especially the cornea – by washing away debris and dirt and keeping the eye moist.
When the canaliculi get blocked, normal basal tear production is interrupted, causing watery eyes and possible damage to the cornea, which is no longer protected.
Sanofi-Aventis never listed epiphora as a side effect of Taxotere. Yet extensive research, as early as 2000, by leading ophthalmologists and medical doctors across the United States positively linked Taxotere to the development of epiphora during chemotherapy.
Dr. Bita Esmaeli, a prominent American ophthalmic researcher, was among the first medical professionals to demonstrate the link between Taxotere-epiphora (and its successive ocular condition if untreated, canalicular stenosis).
In the 2000 November edition of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Dr. Esmaeli published his findings in “Canalicular Stenosis Secondary to Docetaxel (Taxotere).” He had compelling evidence that Taxotere is secreted in the protective film covering the eye. This produced inflammation, which compromised the lacrimal duct system, causing epiphora.
Why is Epiphora a Serious Eye Condition?
Epiphora is a serious eye condition because it compromises the protective layer of the eye and because it disrupts the normal flow of basal tears into the eye. Severe cornea damage from persistent dryness can occur.
Additionally, if epiphora is not treated soon after it’s diagnosed, the canaliculi can eventually shut completely (canalicular stenos), removing all basal tear protection from the eyes. Once the canaliculi are entirely closed, they are permanently closed and cannot be reopened.
Can Epiphora be Successfully Treated?
Epiphora can be successfully treated in its early stages by an ophthalmologist with lacrimal expertise. Treatment includes using topical steroids like prednisone to reduce inflammation and frequent (at least every four weeks) eye probing and irrigation to keep the canaliculi open.
For patients who don’t respond or have more advanced, but still reversible, cases of epiphora, bicanalicular silicone intubation (a surgical procedure) can be done. Bicanalicular silicone intubation is the temporary (usually a few months) placements of semi-rigid, flexible silicone stents in the canaliculi to prevent obstruction or closure.
Once the canaliculi are healed, the stents are removed, and healthy eye function resumes.
What if Epiphora Isn’t Diagnosed and Treated Quickly During Chemotherapy?
If epiphora is not treated as soon as cancer patients develop symptoms, the canaliculi will eventually completely close, resulting in canalicular stenosis, a permanent condition that can’t be reversed.
Therefore, Dr. Esmaeli, along with other ophthalmologic surgeons, strongly advised oncologists to refer their chemotherapy patients to an ophthalmologist that specialized in the lacrimal duct system at the onset of chemotherapy.
Since these respected ophthalmologic researchers saw the link between Taxotere and the development of epiphora (and, if untreated, canalicular stenosis), especially in cancer patients who had breast cancer, they put out industry-wide alerts and warnings to the medical profession to make sure ophthalmologists regularly screened these patients for epiphora, following with treatment as soon as symptoms appeared.
If epiphora is not diagnosed and treated early enough to be reversed and canicular stenosis develops, the only treatment option is created an alternate duct system for the eyes.
Known as dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR), this expensive and painful surgical procedure has many severe surgical and post-surgical risks associated with it. These are so serious that they can permanently alter the patient’s vision and quality of life. They include
- Abnormal nose tissue fusion
- Stent misplacement, requiring more surgery, and can cause vision loss
- Profuse bleeding
- Optic nerve or infraorbital vessels damage, causing partial or total blindness
- Noticeable facial scarring
Taxotere, Breast Cancer, Epiphora, and Canalicular Stenosis
Since breast cancer patients receive Taxotere chemotherapy more than any other type of cancer patients, they have an elevated risk of developing epiphora. This risk is even higher among Stage IV breast cancer patients who receive weekly Taxotere chemotherapy since a higher concentration of Taxotere in the bloodstream makes the development of epiphora more likely.
Breast cancer patients who were studied in Dr. Esmaeli’s research and subsequent researched consistently listed epiphora as one of the worst side effects of Taxotere chemotherapy. They indicated that the excessive tearing of epiphora was not only embarrassing, but it significantly limited their daily activities like wearing makeup, reading, and driving.
The vast body of research also showed that breast cancer patients who developed epiphora from Taxotere chemotherapy but did not get treated for it had a strikingly high rate of developing canalicular stenosis during or after chemotherapy.
Canalicular stenosis occurred in breast cancer patients who received Taxotere chemotherapy weekly and every three weeks, but the incidence was much higher in breast cancer patients treated with weekly Taxotere chemotherapy.
What is Sanofi-Aventis’ Role in This?
Sanofi-Aventis’ clinical trials showed that Taxotere had some severe and permanent side effects, one of which was epiphora. However, none of these side effects were disclosed when Taxotere was introduced in 1998.
Sanofi-Aventis had good reason not to tell oncologists and patients about epiphora and the other severe side effects of Taxotere. When a new drug is developed, the company that develops and manufactures the drug receives a patent that makes them the sole source of that drug for a certain number of years. No other company can make a version of that drug until the patent runs out.
Sanofi-Aventis, therefore, had a corner on the market for breast cancer patients, since Taxotere was marketed explicitly for breast cancer treatment. The promise of huge profits weighed more heavily for Sanofi-Aventis than the long-term health of breast cancer patients.
Because of Sanofi-Aventis’ failure to warn, cancer patients and their doctors were denied the information they needed to choose effective alternative treatments with less serious side effects.
Have Hotze Runkle PLLC Represent You
A cancer diagnosis creates panic in patients. If it has spread or is resistant to treatment, the specter of impending death is inevitable. Cancer patients have faith that cancer treatments will heal them, not harm them.
Hotze Runkle PLLC is dedicated to getting justice for Texas cancer patients who are living with canalicular stenosis after Taxotere chemotherapy. Although we can’t undo the pain and suffering canalicular stenosis has caused you, we can fight for fair compensation from Sanofi-Aventis to help you live the best possible life going forward.
We know you fought cancer and won. We know you are still living with the aftermath of that fight, caused by Sanofi-Aventis’ failure to warn about Taxotere’s severe side effects. We will fight to make sure they pay.
Click here to take the Taxotere Quiz.