Taxotere (docetaxel or docecad) is a synthetic chemotherapy drug approved in the treatment of breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, advanced stomach cancer, head/neck cancer and prostate cancer. The Taxotere lawsuit claims that Sanofi-Aventis, the manufacturer of Taxotere, knowingly failed to warn patients of the increased risk of hair follicle destruction and permanent hair loss. While the manufacture does list alopecia (temporary hair loss) as a potential adverse side effect, the failure to correctly warn of the potential permanent side effect resulted in patients being deprived the option of choosing other chemotherapy treatments that were as effective, but without the risk of permanent hair loss.
According to Sanofi-Aventis, 3% of patients that received Taxotere could experience long term, permanent hair loss. A study by the Rocky Mountain Caner Centers in Colorado states that this number could rise to 6.3% when given in combination with other treatments. The study concluded that, “Such an emotionally devastating long-term toxicity from this combination must be taken into account when deciding on adjuvant chemotherapy programs in women who will likely be cured of their breast cancer.” This lasting side effect of Taxotere can have a negative effect on the quality of life for many cancer survivors.