Women who used the intravenous chemotherapy drug Taxotere to treat breast cancer and developed permanent hair loss (also known as alopecia) as a result should speak to a lawyer experienced in handling product liability lawsuits against drug companies to learn of her rights and the pluses and minuses of the case. You may be entitled to financial compensation.
While hair loss is expected in most patients as a common and well-known side effect of nearly all chemotherapy regimens, hair generally grows back. Hair loss includes not only the loss of scalp hair, but any other body hair, such as eyelashes, eyebrows, underarm, or genital. A medical study published in 2015 found that 10—15% of those taking Taxotere may face permanent hair loss/alopecia.
What is Taxotere?
Taxotere is the brand name for the generic chemo drug, Docetaxel. It is in a class of medications called taxanes.
Taxotere is a prescription drug administered through a vein (intravenous infusion). It is used to treat certain types of breast cancer (either alone or with other medications), but can also be used for lung, prostate, stomach, and head and neck cancers. It is usually administered over 1 hour once every 3 weeks.
Taxotere –manufactured and marketed by Sanofi-Aventis—was approved by the FDA for use in the United States in 1996 as an intravenous drug to treat breast cancer as well as other forms of cancer.
The manufacturer’s initial drug warning label listed hair loss as a possible adverse side effect. Sanofi became aware of the irreversible hair loss side effect but failed to warn the public of this heightened risk. The manufacturer in 2005 did list alopecia as a possible side effect on its labels for Canadian and EU patients. However, the company did not issue a warning on its package labels for US patients until 2015, nearly 10 years after FDA approval.
Taxotere Side Effects
Women undergoing chemotherapies have various well-known side effects, one of which is hair loss. (Other common side effects include: vomiting, constipation, fatigue, allergic reaction, muscle or joint pain, sores in the mouth or throat, nose bleeds, and loss of vision.) The hair loss is usually temporary, growing back slowly but steadily within a month or two of ending treatment (although regrowth rates vary with age, health or other factors). But after being treated with Taxotere, the hair loss suffered by a large number of woman has proven to be permanent and irreversible. Its impact on female patients “has been one of the most distressing and visually noticeable effects of cancer treatment,” according to several studies.
Results of numerous medical and scientific studies found that chemo-induced hair loss is (1) associated with loss of individuality, femininity, disgrace, illness and (2) altered body image and self-identity. In a 1997 study, 46% of the participants felt that hair loss was the most traumatic side effect; in another study, permanent hair loss was more significant than loss of a breast. Participants in a pretreatment survey considered declining cancer treatment. Permanent hair loss was a constant reminder of their mortality, the illness, and their own vulnerability.
Are you eligible to file a lawsuit?
If you received Taxotere as part of your treatment for breast cancer, you may be eligible to participate in the lawsuit, provided you meet the following requirements:
1. A female diagnosed with Stage I, II, or III breast cancer
2. Took the drug Taxotere (or brand name Docetaxel) before December 2015
3. Experienced permanent hair loss
4. Received the drug through a vein (intravenously)
No lawsuits have been settled at the time of this writing; no verdicts, no cash settlements or payouts. In fact, the lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis have been consolidated in the Eastern District of Louisiana. As of April 15, 2019, there were 11,430 lawsuits filed.
To determine whether you need a lawyer in the first place, consider the fact that negotiating a settlement with a Sanofi-Aventis—the fifth largest pharmaceutical company in the world—is putting you at an extreme disadvantage in experience and knowledge when:
1. Evaluating your legal claim (for example, how serious or complex is it?); and
2. Negotiating with skilled attorneys.
A personal injury attorney experienced with cases like yours can tell whether it is worth your while in pursuing legal action against Sanofi. A lawyer at Advocate Law Group can advise you about the steps you can take to protect your rights.
Advocate Law Group represents people with claims against the manufacturers and distributors of harmful drugs. You may be entitled to compensation if you have experienced permanent hair loss after using Taxotere. Contact Advocate Law Group promptly to avoid losing your right to seek a legal remedy for your condition.