Breast-Cancer Chemotherapy Drug Linked to Permanent Hair Loss
Taxotere® (docetaxel), a chemotherapy drug used to treat breast cancer, has been linked to permanent hair loss, also known as permanent significant alopecia, or PSA. Lawsuits on behalf of breast cancer survivors are now being filed against Sanofi-Aventis, the maker of the drug, for failing to warn patients and the medical community about the risk of permanent baldness.
Temporary hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy, but permanent hair loss is not. Taxotere is also unnecessary for many patients, and perhaps could have been avoided had patients and doctors been aware of the risk for PSA. In fact, a 2008 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found no significant differences in survival between the patients treated with paclitaxel (brand name Taxol®) and those treated with docetaxel (Taxotere).
Sanofi’s own internal studies indicate a 10 percent chance that Taxotere users would experience permanent baldness. Sanofi also chose to update warning labels in both Canada (2005) and Europe (2012) to reflect a risk for PSA – but chose not to do so in the U.S. until years later.
The physical and emotional stress that women with breast cancer face during treatment is hard enough. After treatment, these women should be able to thrive, but permanent hair loss caused by Taxotere can disfigure a woman, and may inflict psychological damage for many years to come. Additionally, the trauma from permanent hair loss may have steep economic costs, due to loss of or inability to work.
If you or a loved one survived breast cancer, but now suffer from permanent baldness, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Sokolove Law today for a free, confidential legal consultation to learn more about your options.