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Another Taxotere Alopecia Lawsuit Filed

Sep 21, 2016

Another Taxotere (docetaxel) hair loss lawsuit has been filed. The plaintiff in this case was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. She underwent chemotherapy and a mastectomy of her right breast. She began taking Taxotere in the summer of 2013 and took a total of six doses that were completed close to year-end 2013.

Taxotere is a cancer drug that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body and is used to treat breast, cancer, prostate, stomach, and head/neck cancer. Women often chose Taxotere treatment over other options because of the four-to-six treatment schedule versus the 12 treatments required in other chemotherapy drug choices. The plaintiff in this lawsuit, and other woman, say they would have chosen a longer treatment regimen that provided a better chance of their hair returning.

The woman and her physicians knew that chemotherapy treatments could lead to a temporary loss of hair; however, none were aware-and Taxotere maker, Sanofi-Aventis-never advised, that Taxotere might lead to permanent hair loss.

The plaintiff in this lawsuit alleges suffering serious and dangerous, severe, and permanent personal injuries including past and future medical expenses, loss of earnings, and impairment of earning capacity, as well as psychological counseling and therapy expenses. She also alleges that she has undergone permanent disfigurement, including permanent hair loss, mental anguish, severe emotional distress, and increased risk of future harm. This new Taxotere hair loss lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi.

Approximately three to eight percent of women who take the chemotherapy drug, Taxotere, for the treatment of breast cancer have suffered permanent hair loss, a condition known as "Taxotere alopecia." Sanofi-Aventis has been accused of being aware of the potential for permanent hair loss associated with Taxotere, but of not adding a warning on the drug's packaging.

Meanwhile, as far back as 2005, Sanofi-Aventis was aware of research that revealed that 9.2 percent of Taxotere patients suffered alopecia (hair loss) for as long as 10 years and five months and, in some cases, longer. Despite this, the drug maker did not disclose this permanent, adverse side effect to United States doctors, other healthcare providers, or patients. In fact. In 2006, a Denver oncologist reported that 6.3 percent of his Taxotere patients suffered from permanent and disfiguring hair loss for years following their Taxotere treatment conclusion.

It took a number of Taxotere hair loss lawsuits for Sanofi-Aventis to respond. "We fully understand that persistent alopecia may be a burden for patients, but still we consider it's certainly something which is not life-threatening or is not something which impairs the likelihood of survival. Taking into account the benefit brought by this type of therapy, we think things should be put in perspective," said Laurent-Didier Jacobs, vice-president of medical affairs for Sanofi-Aventis Canada.

Meanwhile, patients have indicated that if those at Sanofi-Aventis believed that permanent loss of hair would be such an insignificant side effect to those receiving Taxotere treatment, why it did not release information about this possible side effect immediately?

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