Shedding More than Tears

May 30th, 2017

Breast cancer is a serious disease. Victims of breast cancer may be treated with a number of drugs, depending on what the doctor feel is the best treatment for that case.

In some cases, doctors treat with Taxotere (also known as docetaxel). Taxotere is an injected chemotherapy drug in the taxanes drug family. As with a lot of chemotherapy drugs, hair loss is side effect.

What might not have been mentioned though, is that this drug can lead to permanent hair loss. There is a small risk of that with many chemotherapy drugs, but a study indicates that the chance of permanent hair loss is substantially higher with the use of Sanofi’s Taxotere than with other chemotherapy drugs.  Based on the Senlacek study and according to FDA standards. permanent hair loss could be considered a “common” side effect of docetaxel use.

And yet, this “common” side effect was not mentioned to patients or doctors as being more than just the usual small risk associated with other chemotherapy regimens.

Victims of breast cancer have enough to worry about in getting well. They shouldn’t have to worry about permanent self-esteem issues that are often associated with hair loss – especially when other drugs are available that don’t have near the risk of that happening. While the omission of that detail may not be a bald faced lie, it is a risk that the manufacturer should have disclosed to doctors and patients so they could make an informed choice.