Treatment-related mortality increases with abnormal liver function, at higher doses, and in patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma and a history of prior treatment with platinum-based therapy receiving docetaxel at 100 mg/m(2). Docetaxel should generally not be given to patients with bilirubin greater than the ULN, or to patients with AST or ALT greater than 1.5 x ULN concomitant with alkaline phosphatase greater than 2.5 x ULN; these patients are at increased risk for developing severe or life-threatening toxicities. Monitor LFTs prior to each treatment cycle. Docetaxel therapy should not be given to patients with neutrophil counts of less than 1500 cells/mm(3); obtain frequent blood counts to monitor for neutropenia. Severe hypersensitivity reactions, including fatal anaphylaxis, have been reported in patients who received dexamethasone premedication. Use is contraindicated in patients with a severe hypersensitivity to docetaxel or polysorbate 80. Severe fluid retention may occur .
Medically reviewed on March 25, 2018.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
- Powder for Solution
Therapeutic Class: Antineoplastic Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Mitotic Inhibitor
Uses For docetaxel
Docetaxel injection is used to treat breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, head and neck cancer, gastric (stomach) cancer, and prostate cancer. Docetaxel might be used together with other cancer medicines.
Docetaxel belongs to the group of medicines called antineoplastics (cancer medicines). It interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed by the body. Since the growth of normal cells may also be affected by docetaxel, other unwanted effects will also occur.
docetaxel is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your doctor.
Before Using docetaxel
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For docetaxel, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to docetaxel or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of docetaxel injection in children.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of docetaxel injection in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have unwanted effects and age-related liver, kidney, or heart problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving docetaxel injection.
|All Trimesters||D||Studies in pregnant women have demonstrated a risk to the fetus. However, the benefits of therapy in a life threatening situation or a serious disease, may outweigh the potential risk.|
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving docetaxel, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using docetaxel with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
- Measles Virus Vaccine, Live
- Mumps Virus Vaccine, Live
- Rotavirus Vaccine, Live
- Rubella Virus Vaccine, Live
- Varicella Virus Vaccine
Using docetaxel with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Adenovirus Vaccine
- Bacillus of Calmette and Guerin Vaccine, Live
- Cholera Vaccine, Live
- Influenza Virus Vaccine, Live
- Poliovirus Vaccine, Live
- Smallpox Vaccine
- St John's Wort
- Typhoid Vaccine
- Yellow Fever Vaccine
Using docetaxel with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using docetaxel with any of the following may cause an increased risk of certain side effects but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use docetaxel, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
- Grapefruit Juice
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of docetaxel. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Allergy to polysorbate 80 or
- Neutropenia (low white blood cells)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
- Asthenia (muscle weakness) or
- Fluid retention (edema) or
- Peripheral neuropathy (numbness or tingling in the arms, legs, fingers, or toes) or
- Thrombocytopenia (low platelet counts) or
- Vision problems—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Infection—May decrease your body's ability to fight infection.
- Liver disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
Proper Use of docetaxel
Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many unwanted effects. Before receiving docetaxel, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
You will receive docetaxel in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you docetaxel. docetaxel is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.
You will also be given a steroid medicine for a few days to prevent unwanted effects from docetaxel. Carefully follow the instructions about how to take the steroid. If you forget to take the steroid, tell your doctor before you receive the dose.
docetaxel should come with a patient information leaflet. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
Precautions While Using docetaxel
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure docetaxel is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Using docetaxel while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
Docetaxel can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:
- If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you get a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
- Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual bleeding or bruising, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine or stools, or pinpoint red spots on your skin.
- Be careful when using a regular toothbrush, dental floss, or toothpick. Your medical doctor, dentist, or nurse may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check with your medical doctor before having any dental work done.
- Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have just washed your hands and have not touched anything else in the meantime.
- Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects such as a safety razor or fingernail or toenail cutters.
- Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur.
docetaxel may cause changes in blood counts due to leukemia or other problems in the blood years after use, or may increase the risk of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), a type of blood cancer. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about these risk.
docetaxel may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, fever or chills, trouble breathing or swallowing, a fast or irregular heartbeat, or any swelling of your hands, face, mouth, or throat with docetaxel.
Docetaxel may cause edema or fluid retention, which means your body is keeping too much water. Check with your doctor right away if you have a rapid weight gain, shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort, extreme tiredness or weakness, irregular breathing, an irregular heartbeat, or excessive swelling of the hands, wrist, ankles, or feet.
Serious skin reactions can occur with docetaxel. Tell your doctor right away if you have blistering, peeling, or a red skin rash on your arms or legs after receiving docetaxel.
Check with your doctor right away if you have burning, numbness, tingling, or painful sensations in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. These could be symptoms of a condition called peripheral neuropathy.
Tell your doctor right away if you have vision changes, such as blurred vision, difficulty reading, or eye pain with docetaxel. These could be symptoms of a serious eye problem called cystoid macular edema.
docetaxel contains alcohol that may cause some people to become drowsy, dizzy, or less alert than they are normally. Make sure you know how you react to docetaxel before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy and not alert.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
docetaxel Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:More common
- Burning, numbness, tingling, or pain in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
- swelling of the stomach, face, fingers, hands, feet, or lower legs
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- weight gain
- Black, tarry stools
- blood in the urine or stools
- cough or hoarseness (accompanied by fever or chills)
- difficult or labored breathing
- difficult or painful urination (accompanied by fever or chills)
- difficulty with swallowing
- fast heartbeat
- fever or chills
- hives or skin rash
- itching, puffiness, or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- lower back or side pain (accompanied by fever or chills)
- noisy, rattling breathing
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- red, scaly, swollen, or peeling areas of the skin (severe)
- tightness in the chest
- troubled breathing while at rest
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- Chest pain or discomfort
- decreased blood pressure
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- increased blood pressure
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:More common
- dryness or soreness of the throat
- skin rash or redness (mild)
- sores or ulcers on the lips or tongue or inside the mouth
- weakness in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
- Bloody nose
- body aches or pain
- change in the color of the fingernails or toenails
- dry, red, hot, or irritated skin at the injection site
- loosening or loss of the fingernails or toenails, sometimes painful
- pain in the joints or muscles
- pain, swelling, or lump under the skin at the injection site
- runny nose
- tender, swollen glands in the neck
- voice changes
- Burning, dry, or itching eyes
- burning upper abdominal or stomach pain
- difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
- discharge from the eyes
- excessive tearing
- pain and redness of the skin at the place of earlier radiation treatment
- rapid breathing
- redness, pain, or swelling of the eye, eyelid, or inner lining of the eyelid
- sunken eyes
- tearing of the eyes
- wrinkled skin
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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- Drug class: mitotic inhibitors