Everyone knows that women who undergo chemotherapy for breast cancer often lose their hair. The good news for these patients is that the hair generally grows back 4-6 weeks after stopping chemotherapy. Taxotere is a drug manufactured by Sanofi Aventis that causes permanent hair loss in a significant percentage of patients who use the product (about 10%). What cancer patients need to know is that there is a drug called Taxol that is just as effective as Taxotere that does not cause permanent hair loss. SIMPLY STATED, IN MY OPINION THERE IS NO REASON FOR ANY WOMAN UNDERGOING TREATMENT FOR BREAST CANCER TO USE TAXOTERE!
Taxotere was essentially rushed to the market to compete with Taxol which is manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Taxotere was marketed to doctors as being superior in fighting cancer compared to its competitor Taxol. In fact the FDA issued a warning letter to Sanofi Aventis about this finding that “FDA is not aware of substantial clinical experience to support the claims made in the carrier regarding Taxotere’s level of efficacy or superiority to paclitaxel [Taxol].” Taxotere was approved for use in the USA in 1996. By 2005 (probably earlier) the manufacturer of Taxotere knew that the drug caused permanent hair loss, but did not warn patients or doctors in the USA of this risk until very recently. Sanofi Aventis provided a warning of permanent hair loss to consumers in Europe and Canada as early as 2005 thus giving doctors in Europe and Canada the opportunity to warn patients of the risk of permanent hair loss. Unfortunately, the information was withheld from doctors and the FDA in the USA. Sanofi Aventis just recently, in January 2016, changed the USA Label of Taxotere to warn that it can cause permanent hair loss.
Why would Sanofi Aventis withhold such important information from cancer patients in the USA? The answer is that they wanted to gain market share against their competitor Bristol-Myers Squibb which manufactured the safer alternative drug Taxol. Sanofi Aventis made billions of dollars per year selling Taxotere prior to the drug going generic in 2010/2011.
Many doctors are still prescribing Taxotere rather than Taxol because they were misled by Sanofi Aventis about the facts. If you or someone you know is suffering from cancer, please be sure to discuss the possibility of permanent hair loss with your doctor before choosing to use Taxotere rather than Taxol.
If you have suffered permanent hair loss after using Taxotere please call (888) 213-8140 for a free phone consultation.