Advanced Breast Cancer: Learn about treatment options.

Docetaxel

Pronunciation

Generic Name: docetaxel (DOE-se-TAX-el)
Brand Name: Examples include Docefrez and Taxotere

Severe and sometimes fatal side effects have occurred with the use of docetaxel. The risk of these side effects is greater in patients who have liver problems (eg, abnormal liver function) or who receive high doses of docetaxel. The risk is also greater in certain patients with lung cancer who have previously been treated with a platinum-based chemotherapy.

Patients who have certain abnormal liver function tests should usually not use docetaxel. These patients may be at increased risk of severe side effects, including blood problems (eg, low white blood cell levels, low platelet levels), infection, mouth inflammation, skin toxicity, or death. Patients who have low levels of certain white blood cells (neutrophils) should also not use docetaxel. Lab tests, including liver function and complete blood cell counts, will be performed while you use docetaxel. Contact your doctor right away if you experience fever, chills, or sore throat.

Severe and sometimes fatal allergic reactions have occurred with the use of docetaxel. Seek medical care at once if you experience a rash; hives; reddening of the skin; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, throat, or tongue; severe dizziness; or trouble breathing or swallowing. Patients who have a history of allergic reaction to docetaxel or to another medicine that contains polysorbate 80 should not use docetaxel.

Severe fluid retention may occur with the use of docetaxel. Contact your doctor right away if you experience swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet; sudden unusual weight gain; trouble breathing; chest pain or tightness; fast or irregular heartbeat; or stomach swelling.


Docetaxel is used for:

Treating certain types of breast cancer or non-small cell lung cancer. Docetaxel is also used along with another medicine (prednisone) to treat a certain type of prostate cancer. Certain brands of docetaxel are also used to treat certain types of head and neck cancer or stomach cancer. Docetaxel may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Docetaxel is an antineoplastic agent. It works by stopping the growth and reproduction of cancer cells in the body.

Do NOT use docetaxel if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in docetaxel or to another medicine that contains polysorbate 80
  • you have severe liver problems or abnormal liver function tests
  • you have low levels of certain white blood cells (neutrophils)
  • you have taken or will be taking palifermin within 24 hours before or after using docetaxel

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: Flashback: FDA Drug Approvals 2013

Before using docetaxel:

Some medical conditions may interact with docetaxel. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are able to become pregnant
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of heart or kidney problems, liver problems or abnormal liver function tests, swelling or fluid retention problems (eg, fluid in the lungs, swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet), chronic or recurring infections
  • if you have an infection (eg, chickenpox, shingles), bone marrow problems, a weakened immune system, a low number of clot-forming cells (platelets), or a low white blood cell count
  • if you have recently had surgery
  • if you have non-small cell lung cancer and have been treated with other medicines that contain platinum (eg, cisplatin)
  • if you have previously received or are also receiving radiation therapy

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with docetaxel. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Palifermin because if mouth or tongue sores develop, they may be more severe or last longer
  • Azole antifungals (eg, itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole), macrolide antibiotics (eg, clarithromycin, erythromycin), mifepristone, nefazodone, protease inhibitors (eg, boceprevir, ritonavir), sorafenib, or telithromycin because they may increase the risk of docetaxel's side effects
  • Medicines that may harm the kidney (eg, aminoglycoside antibiotics [eg, gentamicin], amphotericin B, cyclosporine, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs] [eg, ibuprofen], tacrolimus, vancomycin) because the risk of kidney side effects may be increased. Ask your doctor if you are unsure if any of your medicines might harm the kidney.

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if docetaxel may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use docetaxel:

Use docetaxel as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with docetaxel. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Docetaxel is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic.
  • Do not use docetaxel if it contains particles or crystals, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • Your doctor will prescribe a corticosteroid medicine (eg, dexamethasone) for you to take before you use docetaxel. This will help to decrease the risk of severe fluid retention or allergic reaction with docetaxel. Be sure to take the corticosteroid exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose of the corticosteroid or you do not take it exactly as prescribed, tell your doctor or nurse before your treatment with docetaxel.
  • If docetaxel comes into contact with your skin, wash it off right away with soap and water.
  • If docetaxel comes into contact with your eyes, nose, or mouth, wash it off right away with cool water.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of docetaxel, contact your doctor right away.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use docetaxel.

Important safety information:

  • Docetaxel may cause dizziness. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use docetaxel with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Docetaxel may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
  • Docetaxel may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Tell your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding. Tell your doctor if you have dark, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • Docetaxel may cause a certain eye problem called cystoid macular edema (CME). Tell your doctor right away if you have blurred or decreased vision, or vision loss. You may need to have eye exams while you are using docetaxel. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Severe and sometimes deadly lung problems have rarely happened in people taking docetaxel. Tell your doctor right away if you develop shortness of breath or other breathing problems. Talk with your doctor for more information.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take docetaxel before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Do not receive a live vaccine (eg, measles, mumps) while you are taking docetaxel. Talk with your doctor before you receive any vaccine.
  • Patients who use docetaxel along with certain other medicines (eg, anthracyclines, cyclophosphamide) may be at an increased risk of developing a type of blood cancer (acute myeloid leukemia [AML]). Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • If you may become pregnant, you should use an effective form of birth control while you take docetaxel. If you have questions about effective birth control, talk with your doctor.
  • Lab tests, including liver function and complete blood cell counts, may be performed while you use docetaxel. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use docetaxel with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Docetaxel should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Docetaxel may cause harm to the fetus. Do not become pregnant while you are using it. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using docetaxel while you are pregnant. It is not known if docetaxel is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking docetaxel.

Possible side effects of docetaxel:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; eye redness; hair loss; increased tear production; mild loss of appetite; muscle or joint pain; nausea; taste changes; toenail or fingernail changes; vomiting; weakness or tiredness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing or swallowing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, throat, or tongue); back pain; black or bloody stools; burning, numbness, pain, tingling, or weakness in the hands, arms, legs, or feet; change of skin color; chest pain; dark urine; decreased urination; dryness, pain, redness, swelling, tenderness, or warmth at the injection site; fainting; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or sore throat; flushing; mouth or lip sores or inflammation; pale stools; red, swollen, hardened, blistered, or peeling skin; severe or persistent dizziness or headache; severe or persistent nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain; severe or persistent weakness or tiredness; shortness of breath; stomach swelling; sudden, unusual weight gain; swelling of the hands, legs, feet, or ankles; swollen lymph glands; unusual bruising or bleeding; vision problems (eg, blurred vision, loss of vision); vomit that looks like coffee grounds; yellowing of the eyes or skin.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of docetaxel:

Docetaxel is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using docetaxel at home, store docetaxel as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep docetaxel out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about docetaxel, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Docetaxel is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take docetaxel or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about docetaxel. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to docetaxel. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using docetaxel.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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