Our personal injury lawyer discusses studies and lawsuits filed regarding Taxotere® alleging the drug causes permanent alopecia (loss of hair or baldness). This page is designed to offer current medical and legal facts regarding the litigation.
Taxotere® Lawsuits Filed Over Serious Side Effects Including Premature Loss of Hair
Taxotere® (docetaxel) is a widely prescribed chemotherapy drug that is manufactured and marketed by the pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis. The chemotherapy medication has been widely prescribed as a treatment for breast cancer in the U.S. since 1999. Approximately 300,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, and Taxotere® constitutes the most widely prescribed drug in its class. Sanofi-Aventis has marketed the drug as part of a treatment plan once every three weeks, which is appealing to many women as an alternative to weekly treatment with paclitaxel, a drug in the same class. In other words, Taxotere® has been promoted as offering convenience as the primary benefit of the drug compared to paclitaxel even though studies have revealed paclitaxel is just as effective. However, studies have potentially linked the drug to a disfiguring side effect, referred to as alopecia (permanent hair loss).
Patients confronting the challenges of breast cancer do not deserve to suffer harm caused by the side effects of drugs that are not disclosed. Our law firm tenaciously pursues justice for our clients who are harmed by unsafe drugs. If you are suffering from the loss of your hair, which is not growing back after using Taxotere®, we invite you to speak with an experienced dangerous drug attorney at the Stern Law, PLLC (844) 808-7529 to learn how we can assist you in maximizing your financial recover. We genuinely care about our clients’ well-being, so we work diligently to maximize their recovery.
FDA Warnings and Scientific Studies Related to Taxotere®
As of May 2016, there has not been a recall issued for Taxotere® related to permanent hair loss or baldness. However, investigation of the impact of the drug on hair loss is at the early stages from a legal perspective. The FDA approved language in December 2015 to be included on the label of Taxotere® that provides the following adverse reaction information: “Cases of permanent alopecia have been reported.”
- Annals of Oncology Study: Research published in the medical journal Annals of Oncology involved 20 patients in a prospective study and reported permanent scalp alopecia related to chemotherapy for breast cancer by sequential fluorouracil/epirubicin/cyclophosphate (FEC) and docetaxel. The study failed to reveal any spontaneous regrowth of the hair. A variety of treatment options that included ultraviolet A therapy, vitamins, psoralen, and minoxidil did not prove effective in promoting hair regrowth. The researchers noted that severe permanent alopecia constituted a new complication associated with use of the drug. Women who participated in the study experienced sparse, clumpy, or incomplete hair regrowth. When contrasted with healthy women, forty percent suffered “severe impairment” of their quality of life. Approximately seventy percent of women in the study wore scarves or wigs to hide their baldness.
- Sanofi-Aventis: During the late 1990s, Sanofi-Aventis funded a study referred to as GEICAM 9805. This trial indicated that 9.2 percent of women that used Taxotere® suffered hair loss, lasting at least ten years according to a lawsuit filed by Ami Dodson.
- Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers: A study conducted by Dr. Scot Sedlacek of the Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers in 2006 reported that the drug could cause six percent of women to suffer permanent alopecia.
- NCRI Cancer Conference: Researchers at the NCRI Cancer Conference reported that 10-15 percent of patients might experience significant long-term scalp alopecia for as long as 3.5 years following completion of the chemotherapy regimen with the drug. The study authors note that prolonged hair loss can have a substantial impact on the quality of life in cancer survivors, including a negative impact on body image, as well as causing distress and depression.
Why Our Law Firm Is Investigating Taxotere® Lawsuits
Admittedly, significant hair loss is a common expectation among breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Temporary baldness constitutes a common side effect of fighting cancer. Generally, women do not anticipate that their hair loss will be permanent. A number of women have filed lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis. These lawsuits essentially allege that the pharmaceutical manufacturer failed to warn women of the risk of permanent hair loss and hid research linking the drug to adverse side effects, so patients were deprived of the right to make an informed decision about whether to undergo the treatment.
The case of Ami Dodson was one of the first lawsuits filed regarding permanent alopecia caused by Taxotere®. In the court documents filed in her lawsuit, she discussed chemotherapy with her physician after a partial mastectomy because of a tumor discovered in her breast. The court documents indicate that neither Ms. Dodson nor her physician were aware of the risk of permanent alopecia potentially associated with Taxotere®. After she elected to undertake treatment with the chemotherapy drug, she suffered permanent loss of her hair.
Lawsuits Allege Harmful Effects of Taxotere® Not Disclosed to U.S. Patients
Although Taxotere® has been manufactured and sold in the United States since 1999 for the treatment of advanced or metastasized breast cancer (and other forms of cancer), lawsuits allege that Sanofi-Aventis delayed warning patients in the U.S. of the risk of permanent hair loss. While many chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss, patients typically experience regrowth of their hair shortly after completion of the drug treatment. Although the adverse reaction of alopecia must be disclosed to patients and doctors according to the FDA as of December 2015, pending lawsuits allege that the company knew of the link and warned users outside the U.S. much earlier. A lawsuit filed in March 2016 alleges that Sanofi-Aventis warned physicians and patients in Europe of this adverse side effect as early as 2005 and in Canada as early as 2012.
Free Case Evaluation
At Stern Law, PLLC, we are currently investigating claims for compensation on behalf of patients who have suffered permanent hair loss after taking Taxotere®. We are tenacious advocates for the rights of our clients, so we aggressively pursue the fullest compensation for their injuries. We invite you to give us a call today to see if you or a loved one is entitled to compensation for the harm you have suffered. Call the Stern Law, PLLC today at 1-844-808-7529, or complete an online contact form for assistance. Click here now for more information on scheduling your free case evaluation with one of our knowledgeable Taxotere® hair loss claims lawyer.