Permanent hair loss caused by a chemotherapy drug can be devastating to a cancer patient’s self-imageEvery cancer patient has difficult treatment decisions to make. Chemotherapy has significant side effects, but it may be a necessary treatment after a cancer diagnosis. Each patient must weigh the pros and cons of every potential chemotherapy treatment, but each patient can only consider the safety information that is available.

Temporary hair loss is an expected chemotherapy side effect, but permanent hair loss is not. Yet patients taking Taxotere allege that the company that makes the drug, Sanofi-Aventis, failed to warn them that Taxotere could lead to permanent hair loss.

What Is Taxotere?

Taxotere is a chemotherapy drug used to treat some types of cancer. It was originally approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996 for the treatment of breast cancer. The drug is given by infusion or injection either in a hospital, doctor’s office, or outpatient facility, and it interrupts the division of cancer cells in the body.

Types of Cancers Taxotere Treats

As of April 2016, Taxotere has received FDA approval for the treatment of:

  • Breast cancer.
  • Head and neck cancer.
  • Gastric cancer.
  • Prostate cancer.
  • Non-small cell lung cancer.

All treatment decisions should be made with a doctor after weighing the benefits and risks of each treatment option.

Taxotere Safety Label Changes

Taxotere, like other chemotherapy medications, is a potent drug. Safety warnings have been included on the label since the drug gained FDA approval. Additionally, between April 2010 and April 2016, the FDA approved six safety label changes for Taxotere. The most recent was in December 2015 when the safety label was changed to report that permanent cases of alopecia, or hair loss, were reported.

Why Taxotere Lawsuits are Being Filed

It wasn’t until December 2015 that permanent alopecia, or permanent hair loss, was added to the Taxotere safety label. Prior to that warning, people who used Taxotere did not know of the risk and suffered this significant side effect. Some of these people have filed lawsuits alleging that:

  • Sanofi-Aventis failed to warn them of the risk of permanent hair loss. Instead, prior to December 2015, the safety label indicated that “hair generally grows back” after Taxotere treatment ends.
  • Sanofi-Aventis knew about the potential for permanent baldness before the December 2015 safety label change and concealed the information from patients in the United States. The pharmaceutical company allegedly hid the information from the public in its marketing of the medication, despite a 1990s study sponsored by the pharmaceutical company that, in 2005, found that approximately 9% of Taxotere users suffered hair loss for 10 years or longer. Further, it is alleged that Sanofi-Aventis warned people in other countries of the risk prior to December 2015, but failed to warn patients in the United States.

The plaintiffs also allege that they would have chosen other chemotherapy medications if they had known about this risk.

What to Do If You’ve Been Diagnosed with Taxotere Alopecia

Cancer is a serious condition and chemotherapy drugs have side effects. That is an unfortunate reality for cancer patients and their loved ones. However, people with cancer deserve to make informed decisions about their treatment and to be warned about all known side effects before making treatment choices. Hair loss—even permanent hair loss—may not be life-threatening, but it is a condition that can result in significant emotional harm, especially for women.

If you were not adequately warned about the risk of permanent hair loss and you suffered permanent hair loss after taking Taxotere, then you may be able to file a lawsuit to protect your legal rights. When a drug company takes that right away from you by failing to provide you with the information that you need to make an informed decision, then you have the right to hold that drug company accountable.

You can do that by talking to an experienced and empathetic attorney who will investigate your claim, who will answer your questions, and who can protect your rights against the large pharmaceutical company. Call us today at 888-450-4456 or contact us via this website for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law