Cancer Patients with Permanent Hair Loss (Alopecia) After Using Taxotere (Docetaxel)

Did you or someone you love have permanent hair loss after chemotherapy treatment?  Studies and patient reports of adverse events have associated permanent hair loss, also known as permanent alopecia, with the use of a chemotherapy drug called Taxotere (docetaxel).1

While Taxotere can be effective in helping patients survive breast cancer and other cancers, lawyers at Robins Kaplan are investigating whether manufacturer of Taxotere fully informed patients and the medical community about Taxotere’s link to permanent hair loss.  Patients should have been informed of all the medication options available, including those that do not carry a risk of permanent hair loss.

Chemotherapy-induced alopecia is one of the most distressing and troublesome side-effects of chemotherapy.  It can significantly impact an individual’s self-image and studies indicate that patients with hair loss may have significantly decreased quality of life.2

Taxotere has been used in the United States market since 1996.  It was not until December 2015 that the manufacturer of Taxotere added language to its U.S. label mentioning reports of permanent hair loss.  Ten years earlier, in 2005, the European drug authorities analyzing Taxotere’s side effects observed that persistent alopecia remained in 3.2% of patients given Taxotere, which is considered a "very common adverse reaction."3 The National Cancer Research Institute published research finding that as many as 10-15 percent of patients using Taxotere suffered permanent hair loss.4

Taxotere is an injectable solution commonly provided to patients with breast cancer, prostate cancer, gastric cancer, lung cancer, and head and neck cancer.  Although temporary hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy treatment, permanent hair loss is not.  Taxotere’s link with permanent hair loss is especially concerning because it can be irreversible and alternative chemotherapy medications have not been associated with permanent alopecia.  Had patients or doctors known about the link between Taxotere and permanent alopecia, alternative medications may have been used and pain and suffering could have been avoided.

The manufacturer of Taxotere is Sanofi Aventis.  Robins Kaplan’s mass tort attorneys are investigating Sanofi Aventis’ failure to warn about the risk of permanent hair loss from Taxotere.  We are investigating cases nationwide.  If you think you or someone you know might have suffered permanent hair loss from Taxotere, please contact our law firm at 1.800.553.9910. We can help.  We have experienced attorneys, nurse consultants, and paralegals ready to investigate your potential claims.   

1 See, e.g., Kluger et al., Permanent Scalp Alopecia Related to Breast Cancer Chemotherapy by Sequential Fluorouracil/Epirubicin/Cyclophosphamide (FEC) and Docetaxel: A Prospective Study of 20 Patients, Annals of Oncology at 1 (May 9, 2012); Prevezas et al., Irreversible & Severe Alopecia Following Docetaxel or Paclitaxel Cytotoxic Therapy for Breast Cancer, 160 Br. J. Dermatology 883-885 (2009); Tallon et al., Permanent Chemotherapy-Induced Alopecia; Case Report and Review of the Literature, 63 J. Am. Academy of Dermatology 333-336 (2010).
2 See Kluger study.
3 EMA Scientific Discussion, Taxotere: EPAR at 10, 16 (2005); Taxotere Summary of Product Characteristics (Europe) at 20 (updated Aug. 14, 2015). 
4 See abstract at