Generic Name: docetaxel (doe se TAX el)
Brand Name: Docefrez, Taxotere
What is docetaxel?
Docetaxel is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.
Docetaxel is used to treat breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, and head/neck cancer.
Docetaxel may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about docetaxel?
Docetaxel can cause life-threatening side effects, especially if you have liver disease or if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to docetaxel.
Docetaxel can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. You may get an infection or bleed more easily. Call your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding, or signs of infection (fever, chills, body aches).
Docetaxel may cause fluid retention or severe skin reactions. Tell your doctor if you have swelling of your ankles or feet, rapid weight gain, or redness and peeling of the skin on your hands or feet.
Docetaxel can also affect your nervous system. Tell your doctor if you have any numbness, burning pain, tingly feeling, or severe weakness.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving docetaxel?
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to docetaxel, or to drugs made with polysorbate 80.
To make sure docetaxel is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
heart disease, congestive heart failure;
fluid retention or swelling problems; or
if you have ever had an allergic reaction to docetaxel.
FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use docetaxel if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
It is not known whether docetaxel passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while receiving docetaxel.
Older adults may be more likely to have side effects from this medicine.
How is docetaxel given?
Docetaxel is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection. You may receive other cancer medicines at the same time.
You may need to take a steroid medicine for a few days before your docetaxel injection. This may help prevent certain side effects of docetaxel. Try not to miss any doses of your steroid medication.
Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when docetaxel is injected.
Docetaxel can be harmful if it gets on your skin during an IV infusion. If this happens, wash right away with soap and water.
Docetaxel can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your docetaxel injection, or if you miss a dose of your steroid medication.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while receiving docetaxel?
Avoid coming into contact with your body fluids (including urine, feces, vomit, semen, vaginal fluid). Chemotherapy can pass into body fluids. Patients or caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.
Body fluids should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant. Use condoms during sexual activity to avoid exposure to body fluids.
Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding or injury. Use extra care to prevent bleeding while shaving or brushing your teeth.
Docetaxel side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives, red skin rash; difficult breathing; feeling like you might pass out; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
severe vomiting or diarrhea;
fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat;
pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
swelling of your ankles or feet, rapid weight gain;
urinating less than usual or not at all;
redness or peeling of the skin on your hands and feet;
numbness, burning pain, or tingly feeling; or
redness, swelling, burning, irritation, or skin changes where the injection was given.
Common side effects may include:
feeling weak or tired;
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation;
altered sense of taste;
temporary hair loss; or
fingernail or toenail changes.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Taxotere side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect docetaxel?
Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with docetaxel, especially:
an antibiotic--clarithromycin, telithromycin;
antifungal medication--itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole;
heart medication--nicardipine, quinidine;
hepatitis C medications--boceprevir, telaprevir; or
HIV or AIDS medication--atazanavir, delavirdine, fosamprenavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with docetaxel, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
More Taxotere resources
- Taxotere Prescribing Information (FDA)
- Taxotere Consumer Overview
- Taxotere Monograph (AHFS DI)
- Taxotere MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
- Taxotere Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
- Docefrez Prescribing Information (FDA)
- Docetaxel Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)
- Docetaxel Prescribing Information (FDA)
Compare Taxotere with other medications
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about docetaxel.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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