Are you experiencing watery and runny eyes following your chemotherapy treatment? What you probably don’t know – what your doctor may not even know – is that a common chemotherapy drug called Taxotere may be responsible for those symptoms. Studies have been released linking Taxotere use to a serious and permanent eye condition known as canalicular stenosis.
Canalicular stenosis causes watery and runny eyes, which can bring on changes in your vision. In severe cases, expensive surgery is the only treatment option. You are already coping with a cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy treatment, and now you have the added burden of worrying about the future of your vision and how you’ll pay to fix it.
You may be asking why you were never made aware of this side effect? The manufacturer of Taxotere has done a great job of keeping important information out of the hands of doctors and patients, leaving many people in the dark about the consequences of taking this drug.
At Hotze Runkle PLLC, we are making it our mission to educate people about the serious side effects of Taxotere, and to let them know that they may have legal options to recover compensation. We have a team of experienced attorneys with the skills and resources to protect your rights and hold this drug company responsible for their failures.
If you or a loved one is suffering from canalicular stenosis after being administered the drug Taxotere, take this quiz to determine your next steps.
What Is Taxotere and How Is It Used to Treat Cancer?
Taxotere is an FDA approved cancer-fighting medication. The drug works by interfering with the growth of cancer cells in the body, therefore preventing cancer from spreading to other parts of the body. There is a wide range of cancer-fighting drugs used in chemotherapy; Taxotere is primarily used to treat breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, and head or neck cancer.
Taxotere is administered through an IV infusion into a vein. The dosage and how often it is given to a patient depend on a variety of factors. Weight, height, type of cancer, and stage of cancer can all be used to determine how much and how often Taxotere is given to a patient. Some patients may be given treatment with Taxotere as often as once a week.
Are There Side Effects to Taking Taxotere?
Every medication has side effects and it is up to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make sure that drug manufacturers disclose those side effects. The manufacturer of Taxotere lists a few of the possible side effects of the drug as:
- Dry eyes
- Sore throat
- Muscle pain
- Bleeding gums
- Blood in urine or stool
- Chest pain
- Tingling or numbness in limbs
- Irregular heartbeat
However, recent medical studies have found that there is another side effect of taking Taxotere, one that was not mentioned in the original warning label for the drug. It is called canalicular stenosis and it impacts the eyes. This condition is serious and, oftentimes, irreversible.
What Is Canalicular Stenosis and What Problems Can It Cause?
Canalicular stenosis is a condition that impacts the complex network of tear ducts and sacs that lead to and from your eyes. To maintain eye health, the eyes need constant moisture. This moisture, in the form of tears, keeps eyes clean and free from debris. Blinking is the action that takes the tears from the tear duct and spreads them across the surface of the eye. In order to get to the eyes, however, the tears have to be funneled through a channel known as the canaliculus and down into your nasolacrimal duct.
Canalicular stenosis impacts the channel itself by closing off or obstructing it. When tears are not able to properly flow through the channel, they end up running down the face instead. Watery or runny eyes may seem like a minor inconvenience, at first, but the condition can get to the point where it significantly impacts the quality of life, as well as creating vision problems. It is not a matter to take lightly or ignore, hoping that it will go away. Canalicular stenosis can be permanent, even when your course of Taxotere has been completed.
How Does Using Taxotere Lead to Canalicular Stenosis?
Physicians find that Taxotere has the ability to pass into a person’s bodily fluid, which includes a person’s tears. The presence of Taxotere in tears may be responsible for chronic inflammation and irritation in the canaliculi. This chronic and persistent inflammation leads to the condition of canalicular stenosis.
The findings have been published in major medical journals like the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Other studies published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information link the use of Taxotere to the frequency with which patients were receiving cancer treatment. While the condition is more prevalent in patients that received weekly treatments of the drug, patients who received the treatment less often have still developed the condition. The study also found that stopping the drug did not stop symptoms or reverse the condition.
What these studies bring to light is the fact that this is a newly recognized side effect, one not originally disclosed by the manufacturer of the drug. Until the drug was widely used to treat cancer patients, doctors and patients had no way of knowing that canalicular stenosis was a side effect. It has taken victims coming forward to share their stories for health professionals to realize that there was a problem.
What’s more, the manufacture remains silent about the impact their drug is having on cancer patients. If you are experiencing runny eyes while undergoing or following chemotherapy treatment with Taxotere, contact your doctor right away for help. It’s important to treat the condition as early as possible to prevent the canalicular stenosis from becoming permanent.
Are There Treatment Options Available?
The frightening thing about canalicular stenosis is that it can be irreversible. However, there are treatment options that can help mitigate the condition. The sooner the symptoms are caught and treated, the better the outcome.
If you have a mild cause of canalicular stenosis, a physician may only need to prescribe antibiotics and a course of warm compresses to help ease the symptoms. In some circumstances, a course of steroids may also be used. Unfortunately, for more advanced cases of canalicular stenosis, the only treatment option available is an expensive and somewhat risky surgery.
The Journal of American Medical Association Ophthalmology includes a wealth of information on the delicate procedure that is needed to correct a canalicular stenosis blockage. A surgeon must place small glass tubes into the canaliculus in order to try and restore normal tear flow.
Placing foreign objects into the body is always a dangerous procedure since there is the risk of infection and the body eventually attacking or rejecting the object. Some of the other risks include scarring, bleeding, and vision complications. There is also the cost to factor in. This is an expensive surgery and any complications could result in more medical procedures and, therefore, more bills down the road.
What Should I Do If My Treatment Included Taxotere and I Have Canalicular Stenosis?
The first thing you should do if you have been given the drug Taxotere and are noticing watery eyes or problems with your vision is to talk to your doctor. Again, the earlier this condition is caught and treated, the better your prognosis.
Next, you may want to consider thinking about your legal options. That is easier said than done. With all this new information, your cancer treatment, and now vision treatment, you are in a vulnerable position. You may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what your next steps should be, especially if you are accumulating medical bills for the treatment of your canalicular stenosis.
You may also be experiencing feelings of anger. Why weren’t you made aware of this potential side effect and its symptoms? Simply put, because the drug company didn’t want you to know. But, you can fight back.
Sanofi-Aventis is a multi-billion-dollar drug corporation that is responsible for the development, manufacturing, and marketing campaign of the drug Taxotere. New studies are continuing to come out linking the drug Taxotere to canalicular stenosis, and yet the company stands by the drug.
Sanofi-Aventis is guilty of not taking a proactive approach to warning both patients and doctors about the effects of their drug. They must be held accountable for their negligent actions. What’s more unfortunate is that Sanofi-Aventis is no stranger to fending off lawsuits over the drug Taxotere. Currently, they are being taken to court over victims’ claims that Taxotere caused another undisclosed side effect, permanent hair loss.
At Hotze Runkle PLLC, we want to help victims receive the compensation that they deserve. You shouldn’t be burdened with the cost of medical bills to correct a vision problem you didn’t know about. Sanofi-Aventis has to answer to the victims suffering from canalicular stenosis.
How Can Hotze Runkle PLLC Help Me?
Hotze Runkle PLLC has aggressive and experienced lawyers who have the skills and resources it takes to go up against this giant pharmaceutical company. We understand that you may be hesitant to pursue legal action against a massive and powerful pharmaceutical company, but with Hotze Runkle PLLC on your side, you’ll have a firm with the right resources, skills, and experience to take on Sanofi-Aventis and win.
You deserve compensation. If you are ready to take the next step and find out if legal action is the right move for you, take this short quiz for more information on Taxotere and your case. You don’t have to remain a victim.