Breast cancer patients may suffer permanent hair loss due to a chemotherapy drug called Taxotere®

If you or a loved one underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer and suffered permanent hair loss or alopecia, you may be entitled to a cash award. A commonly used chemotherapy drug called Taxotere® has been linked to permanent hair loss. Records show that the manufacturer of Taxotere® was aware of the risk of permanent hair loss and alopecia, but did not properly warn patients. If you or a loved one underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer and suffered permanent hair loss or alopecia, call the Gold Shield Group at 888-537-2983 to see if you qualify for a cash award.

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Taxotere® (also known as Docetaxel) is a cytotoxic chemotherapy drug delivered through an IV. It fights cancer by stopping cancer cells from dividing which in turn prevents them from spreading. This makes Taxotere® a very powerful weapon against a disease that depends on un-contained growth. The medication is used to treat breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, head/neck cancer and stomach cancer. Typically, the chemotherapy drug is injected into the patient’s body via an IV drip. While Taxotere® has saved many lives from cancer, there are alternative drugs that are not associated with the possibility of lifelong hair loss.

Taxotere® has been shown to cause irreversible alopecia (permanent hair loss) in a number of patients. The Oxford Journals published an article from their Annals of Oncology section that cited a study of patients who had taken docetaxel [Taxotere®] for cancer treatment. The research found that, “ . . . taxanes [Taxotere®] seem to be responsible for the side-effect.” Another report found that the use of docetaxel (Taxotere®) as a chemotherapy treatment was related to permanent alopecia. A survey presented at the 2014 NCRI Cancer Conference also supported those findings.

Hair Loss and Quality of Life

Studies have also shown that chemotherapy patients who suffered permanent hair loss reported a lower ‘quality of life’ and list hair loss as one of the worst side effects they experienced due to their cancer. Many patients with permanent hair loss also report experiencing an increase in anxiety, negative impact on their social and intimate relationships, financial strain, extreme embarrassment, and a general loss of life enjoyment.

It was revealed in lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis (the manufacturer of Taxotere®) that there is an alternative chemotherapy treatment called Taxol that does not cause permanent hair loss. Taxol is a drug that is just as effective at interfering with the growth and spread of cancer cells, but has been shown to cause patients only temporary hair loss. When asked, patients say that if they had been told about the possible threat of permanent hair loss associated with Taxotere®, they would have chosen Taxol instead. Sanofi-Aventis failed to inform patients that Taxotere® may cause permanent hair loss and only recently updated the label on their drug to include a warning about the possibility of irreversible hair loss. The FDA approved the safety label change in December 2015.

Support for those Suffering Permanent Hair Loss

Various communities and support groups such as A Head of Our Time have formed to help people suffering from permanent hair loss. The moving stories and statements from this community reveal how living with permanent hair loss truly affects a person’s quality of life. Various publications have investigated Taxotere® and are recording the testimonies of chemotherapy patients. The Telegraph interviewed Shirley Ledlie who published a book about her experience with permanent alopecia and how it affected her life. The Globe and Mail also reported on the link between Taxotere® and irreversible hair loss. In the article, the reporter collected various statements from doctors and patients who talked about the negative side effects of Taxotere®.

A breast cancer survivor named Yvonne Bemiss sued Sanofi-Aventis and claimed that the manufacturer failed to warn patients about the risk of permanent hair loss that their product may have caused. During the case it was argued that while Sanofi-Aventis publicized the possibility of this harmful side effect to European countries and Canada; the manufacturer neglected to make any mention of permanent alopecia to doctors or patients in the United States until January, 2016 via the FDA. After Sanofi-Aventis lost the lawsuit that focused around their inability to warn the public about the permanent hair loss linked Taxotere®, more victims of permanent alopecia began stepping forward to file a claims against the corporation for compensation.

If you or a loved one suffered irreversible hair loss after chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, you may be entitled to a cash award. Call the Gold Shield Group at 888-537-2983 to see if you qualify for a cash award.

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