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Since 1999, Taxotere has been used in the U.S. to treat patients with advanced or metastasized breast cancer, and other cancers. The drug is manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis and is believed to increase the risk of alopecia, or loss of all body hair, among users. Many breast cancer patients allege that Taxotere has caused permanent hair loss and that the manufacturer did not fully disclose this side effect.
Symptoms of Taxotere-Induced Alopecia Universalis
While many cancer treatments cause hair to fall out, it has been claimed that Taxotere causes hair to fall out permanently.
Symptoms of alopecia universalis include:
- Permanent baldness
- No eyebrows
- No eyelashes
- Lack of hair anywhere on body
Additional side effects from the use of Taxotere include: bone / muscle/ joint pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, low red blood cell count (anemia), low white blood cell count, fatigue / weakness, mouth and throat sores, fluid retention / weight gain / swelling in ankles and abdominal area, taste changes, nail color changes, peripheral neuropathy (numbness in fingers and toes), and / or infection. In serious cases, death, heart issues, and nerve damage can result.
A physician can help you determine if your hair loss is directly related to a drug and not to another illness or cause. Read more about Taxotere on the FDA’s website here.
FDA Actions Concerning Taxotere
Investigations concerning Taxotere are still in their early stages. In December 2015, the FDA acknowledged that Taxotere may cause permanent hair loss. The warning is now required to be placed on the label. While this is a step in the right direction, many patients allege that Sanofi-Aventis, the manufacturer of Taxotere, warned Europe about the risks of permanent hair loss in 2005 and warned Canada in 2012. It is suspected that Taxotere’s manufacturer desired to increase drug sales and hid the risk of baldness from patients and doctors. As of right now, Taxotere is still on the market and has not been officially recalled by the FDA. However, legal investigations regarding the serious side effects connected to the drug are already underway.
Taxol vs. Taxotere
The injustice of this seems even greater with the knowledge that there is a more effective, American-made product on the market called Taxol. Taxol is equally, if not more, effective than Taxotere, even though Taxotere has double the strength of Taxol. It appears that double the strength is what has primarily contributed to permanent baldness in many of Taxotere’s users. A majority of these users were informed that Taxotere would cause hair loss, but not that it would cause permanent hair loss. Claimants allege that they would have chosen the safer and equally effective drug had they understood the effects of Taxotere.
Supporting these claims, a lawsuit was filed against Sanofi-Aventis (Dodson v. Sanofi SA, et al., case number 3:16-cv-01251 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California) accusing the manufacturer of more than just failure to disclose the risk of permanent hair loss among breast cancer patients being treated with Taxotere. In addition, the lawsuit alleged that the company actually conspired to hide the hair loss issue in an attempt to increase sales.
Should You Take Legal Action?
As of March 2016, no Taxotere class action exists. However, if more claims arise against Taxotere, there could be cause for consolidation of these lawsuits. Consolidated cases are referred to as “multidistrict litigation” (MDL) in federal court; at the state level, these cases are referred to as a “state court consolidated proceeding.” Whether at the state or federal level, MDLs are different from class actions and can serve as a more effective way to handle injury claims connected to pharmaceutical products.
By law, drug manufacturers are required to provide appropriate instructions and warning labels for their products. These instructions and warnings are meant to guide prescribing physicians and other healthcare providers when issuing treatment to patients. Failure to fulfill this duty could result in serious health side effects, as believed to be the case with the Taxotere drug.
Patients who have suffered could be entitled to compensation for damages such as:
- Permanent health injury
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income (from inability to work)
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish
We encourage patients and families who have suffered from complications caused by Taxotere use to contact a lawyer at our office. We can help you learn more about your legal rights and the options available to you at this time. You have a limited amount of time to take legal action for drug injury cases such as this, so do not wait to contact an attorney for help.
Call a Denver Defective Drugs Lawyer for Help with Your Taxotere Claim!
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with alopecia universalis as a result of taking Taxotere, don’t hesitate to call Denver Trial Lawyers ®. We have handled numerous cases involving defective drugs and devoted extensive time and resources to obtaining positive outcomes. We are committed to the pursuit of just compensation on behalf of our clients. Our firm has more than 175 years of collective experience as attorneys and will put our knowledge and resources to work for you.