Many cancer patients are finding themselves facing an entirely new battle related to their chemotherapy treatment. The use of the popular chemotherapy drug Taxotere is linked to a serious, irreversible eye condition known as canalicular stenosis.
If you or a loved one were given Taxotere to treat your cancer and suddenly began suffering from dry, watery eyes, you may have developed canalicular stenosis. It is important that you contact your physician immediately regarding your symptoms, as the sooner treatment begins, the better your prognosis.
While you are undoubtedly going through one of the most difficult times in your life, it is also important that you consider your legal options, as well. You have now been saddled with a new diagnosis to battle and new medical bills to account for, as you work toward treating your eye condition. It isn’t fair or right that you are burdened with this during what could be your most vulnerable time.
At Hotze Runkle PLLC, we are making it our mission to help victims get the compensation they deserve. Our team of skilled attorneys has what it takes to fight for your rights and take this drug company to task for their negligence. It’s important that you learn about this serious condition and your legal rights. Take our quick and easy Taxotere quiz now to learn about next steps.
Taxotere is the brand name of an FDA approved medication that is used to fight cancer. Taxotere works by interrupting or interfering with the growth of cancer cells. By interfering with their growth, Taxotere helps prevent cancer from spreading to other areas of the body. While there are several different chemotherapy drugs on the market, Taxotere is primarily used to treat breast cancer, as well as lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, and head or neck cancer.
Taxotere is administered to cancer patients during the course of their chemotherapy treatment through an IV. It may be given as often as once a week in some patients, but the dosage and frequency depend on the type and stage of cancer. Dosage and frequency may also depend on height, weight, and other factors, as determined by a physician.
Manufacturers of drugs in the United States must get Food and Drug Administration approval before the drug hits the market. The FDA requires that all side effects of the drug must be disclosed. The warning label on the box or the package insert will list the known side effects of any medication. In the case of Taxotere, some of the listed side effects include:
While the product was first marketing in 1998, it wasn’t until 2014 that Sanofi-Aventis released a full list of warnings and adverse reactions. Most doctors and patients didn’t realize that Taxotere could be the cause of patients’ excessive tearing, and that it could lead to canalicular stenosis.
It’s also important to note that while most of the symptoms listed for Taxotere will stop once the chemotherapy treatment ends, the symptom of red, teary eyes may continue after treatment, and canalicular stenosis may develop into a permanent condition.
Canalicular stenosis is a condition that narrows the opening of the tear duct system in the eyes. Tears are important in maintaining good eye health. They moisturize the eyes and keep them free from dirt and debris. Tears move through a series of channels in order to reach the eyes, and the act of blinking spreads the film of tears across the eyes itself.
When a victim suffers from canalicular stenosis, instead of those tears being funneled from the eye, they simply run down the face. This is because canalicular stenosis results in the obstruction or narrowing of the canaliculi – short channels through which tears drain out of the eyes and into the tear sac. Not only does canalicular stenosis cause a watering or running of the eyes, but it can also lead to vision problems and other complications.
Medical studies like this one published in the American Academy of Ophthalmology have found that the drug Taxotere not only fights cancer, but it makes its way into bodily fluids like our tears. The Taxotere in tears can cause chronic inflammation and irritation in the canaliculi. This persistent inflammation can lead to canalicular stenosis or the closing off of the passages where tears flow.
Other scientific studies published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information examine the link between frequency of use and cases of canalicular stenosis. While patients who received weekly treatments were more likely to develop the condition, even those who were administered Taxotere less often still developed canalicular stenosis. Alarmingly, these studies have also found that stopping the drug did not relieve symptoms or reverse the condition.
The more information that becomes available, the more it becomes clear that Taxotere has serious consequences that patients and even doctors were not made aware of. It has taken research and patients coming forward with their stories for this side effect to be brought to light.
Canalicular stenosis can be a permanent and irreversible condition. The condition persists even after a patient has stopped their course of treatment with Taxotere. Depending on the severity of the case, there are treatment options available that can help victims manage the symptoms of canalicular stenosis.
The sooner symptoms are recognized, the better the prognosis. For mild cases of the condition, it may only take a course of antibiotics and warm compresses to ease symptoms. Some physicians may also recommend a round of steroids to ease some of the inflammation in the ducts. In the most severe cases of canalicular stenosis, there is only one treatment option, an expensive and risky surgery.
The Journal of American Medical Association Ophthalmology has published a piece that outlines the delicate and risky procedure that is the only viable treatment option for patients with serious cases of canalicular stenosis. The procedure entails a physician placing small glass tubes into the canaliculus in order to try and restore natural tear movement.
While surgery can offer hope to patients who suffer from the condition, it is not without serious risks. Inserting foreign objects into the body always carries the risk that the body will reject the object and begin to attack it. There are also risks of infection, bleeding, scarring, and vision problems.
The secondary consequence of having major surgery is the cost. This procedure is not without significant cost and can result in high medical bills you’ll be forced to deal with.
The first thing you or your loved one should do if you suspect you have developed canalicular stenosis is to talk to your physician. As we’ve mentioned, treatment options are better the earlier the condition is caught.
Once you are being cared for medically, it may be time to start considering your legal options. No doubt, after having gone through cancer and now a serious eye condition, you are struggling to keep up with your mounting medical bills. Not only are you in a vulnerable position, but you are also probably feeling overwhelmed by the questions that continue to pop into your head. Why did this happen to me? Why wasn’t I told this could happen? These are fair questions to ask. The answer boils down to just one major sticking point, the drug company didn’t want you or your doctor to know.
Sanofi-Aventis is the company that develops, manufactures, and markets the drug Taxotere. They are a multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical company whose bottom line depends on keeping their drugs on the market. As more and more studies continue to come out linking the drug Taxotere to canalicular stenosis, the company maintains a stiff policy of standing by the drug. If more doctors had learned sooner about the risks associated with Taxotere, they would have been able to monitor patients for symptoms of canalicular stenosis, and prevent the disorder from developing.
By seeking out the help of an experienced Taxotere attorney, you can learn about your legal rights and your options for compensation.
At Hotze Runkle PLLC, we want you to know that we have a team of sensitive and compassionate attorneys who are ready to answer your questions and walk you through the process of what comes next.
We strongly believe that victims need to hold Sanofi-Aventis accountable for their actions and recover the compensation they deserve for their injuries. We’ll explore all potential avenues for compensation, taking into account your present and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
If you’d like more information about Taxotere and if legal action may be the right option for you, take this short quiz. At Hotze Runkle PLLC, we’re ready to help.