The Side Effects of Taxotere

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June 20, 2019
Edward Smith

The Side Effects of Taxotere

Taxotere is a medication used to treat breast cancer and, like other medications, can lead to adverse effects. Taxotere functions by inhibiting the DNA replication process that takes place in solid tumors, such as breast cancer. Furthermore, Taxotere (generic name Docetaxel) has been proven in clinical research to improve the outcomes of those with metastatic breast cancer, providing a possible treatment option for those who might not have one. Unfortunately, there are also several dangerous side effects of which all patients should be aware. These include immune suppression, fatigue, and nerve damage.

Immune Suppression

One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy medications, including Taxotere, is immune suppression. Because this medication targets the DNA replication cycle, cells that divide rapidly will be damaged. Even though the intended target is the tumor, rapidly dividing healthy cells, such as the white blood cells can also be damaged. Some examples of white blood cells include:

  • Neutrophils
  • Eosinophils
  • Basophils
  • Lymphocytes

The neutrophils are often profoundly suppressed by Taxotere, a side effect called neutropenia. Without neutrophils, the body has trouble fighting off bacterial infections. Therefore, an otherwise benign infection in a healthy individual could lead to sepsis and death in someone who is taking Taxotere. Finally, anyone who is on this drug and develops a fever needs to contact their doctor immediately. He or she might have developed a severe infection. Prior research papers have shown that between 20 and 25 percent of people taking Taxotere may develop a fever while their immune system is being suppressed.

Fatigue While Taking Taxotere

Another common side effect of Taxotere is fatigue. While this is not unusual with other chemotherapy medications, the fatigue associated with Taxotere can be profound. People who are taking Taxotere might have trouble eating, sitting up in bed, or even carrying on a conversation. Fortunately, research has shown that daily exercise can help people manage the fatigue that they might feel while taking Taxotere. This exercise doesn’t need to be intense. Examples include:

  • Walking up and down the stairs
  • Jumping jacks
  • Sit-ups

By exercising regularly, people will increase their heart rate and oxygen delivery to their body, including the brain. With more blood, oxygen, and nutrients flowing throughout the body, individuals will feel more awake and energized.

Nerve Damage

While immune suppression and fatigue are typically immediate side effects, there are long-term side effects of taking Taxotere as well. One of the most serious is nerve damage. This could include both the motor and the sensory nerves. Prior research studies have shown that less than 10 percent of individuals will develop severe nerve damage; however, this damage is often permanent. Some of the examples of nerve damage include:

  • Numbness of the hands and feet
  • Tingling of the hands and feet
  • A loss of reflexes throughout the body

Because this damage is often permanent, the treatment of nerve damage is prevention. If individuals are noticing any of these symptoms, subsequent doses of Taxotere need to be reduced and delayed. One medication, called Gabapentin, might help individuals relieve the discomfort associated with nerve damage.

Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyers

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. Although Taxotere is effective in the treatment of breast cancer, it could also lead to long-term side effects. Should you or someone you care for develop serious side effects while on chemotherapy, please reach out to me at (800) 404-5400 or (916) 921-6400 to receive free, friendly legal guidance and advice.

I’m honored to be an attorney in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum & in the Top One Percent, which is a National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

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Image Citation: The photo utilized on this article was located first on Pixabay and has been used here with permission.

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