Taxotere is a chemotherapy drug used in the treatment of breast, lung, prostate and stomach cancers. Taxotere works by interfering with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. Sanofi-Aventis, a French company, manufacturers Taxotere. The product’s generic name is Docetaxel.
Taxotere is usually administered intravenously every three weeks for eighteen weeks in conjunction with other chemotherapy treatments. An estimated 75% of all women who underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer in recent years received Taxotere.
Temporary hair loss is a well-known side effect of many chemotherapy drugs, but most women were not told that with Taxotere, the loss could be permanent. Additionally, most women report they were not told of safer alternatives such as Taxol. Studies show Taxol to be as effective as Taxotere but without the risk of permanent alopecia (hair loss).
Sanofi-Aventis warned of permanent hair loss in Canada and Europe as early as 2005 but failed to notify the FDA and the health care professionals administering Taxotere in the United States of this risk until December 2015. In 2016, the FDA issued a statement that the warning label for Taxotere would now include reports of permanent alopecia.
A 2013 study by the National Cancer Research Institute found that as many as 15% of women who were given Taxotere have experienced permanent hair loss.