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Docetaxel Solution for injection

It targets fast dividing cells, like cancer cells, and causes these cells to die

Generic Name: docetaxel

Brand Names: Docefrez, Taxotere

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

    Treatment-related Mortality
  • Incidence of treatment-related mortality increased in patients with abnormal hepatic function, patients receiving higher doses, and patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma previously treated with platinum-based chemotherapy who received docetaxel monotherapy at a dose of 100 mg/m2. Approximately half of deaths reported in breast cancer patients occurred during the first cycle; most deaths were due to sepsis.
    Hepatic Impairment
  • Docetaxel should not be administered to patients with serum total bilirubin >ULN, or patients with serum AST and/or ALT >1.5 times ULN concurrent with alkaline phosphatase >2.5 times ULN. These patients are at increased risk for grade 4 neutropenia, febrile neutropenia, infections, severe thrombocytopenia, severe stomatitis, severe skin toxicity, and toxic death. Increased risk for grade 4 febrile neutropenia, but not toxic death, in patients with isolated elevations of AST or ALT >1.5 times ULN.
  • Obtain and review bilirubin, AST, ALT, and alkaline phosphatase values prior to each cycle.
    Hematologic Monitoring
  • Docetaxel should not be administered to patients with neutrophil counts <1500/mm3.
  • Monitor blood cell counts frequently.
  • Severe hypersensitivity reactions (hypotension and/or bronchospasm, generalized rash/erythema) reported in patients who received the recommended 3-day dexamethasone premedication. Hypersensitivity reactions requiring discontinuance reported in patients who did not receive dexamethasone premedication. Hypersensitivity reactions resolved following discontinuance of the infusion and appropriate treatment.
  • Do not administer to patients with a history of severe hypersensitivity reactions to docetaxel or polysorbate 80.
    Fluid Retention
  • Severe fluid retention (poorly tolerated peripheral edema, generalized edema, pleural effusion requiring urgent drainage, dyspnea at rest, cardiac tamponade, pronounced abdominal distention, ascites) reported in patients despite receiving the 3-day dexamethasone premedication.
    Experience of Supervising Clinician
  • Administer only under the supervision of qualified clinicians experienced in the use of cytotoxic therapy. Adequate diagnostic and treatment facilities should be readily available to manage complications.

What is this medicine?

DOCETAXEL (doe se TAX el) is a chemotherapy drug. It targets fast dividing cells, like cancer cells, and causes these cells to die. This medicine is used to treat many types of cancers like breast cancer, certain stomach cancers, head and neck cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • infection (especially a virus infection such as chickenpox, cold sores, or herpes)
  • liver disease
  • low blood counts, like low white cell, platelet, or red cell counts
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to docetaxel, polysorbate 80, other chemotherapy agents, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This drug is given as an infusion into a vein. It is administered in a hospital or clinic by a specially trained health care professional.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

It is important not to miss your dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • cyclosporine
  • erythromycin
  • ketoconazole
  • medicines to increase blood counts like filgrastim, pegfilgrastim, sargramostim
  • vaccines

Talk to your doctor or health care professional before taking any of these medicines:

  • acetaminophen
  • aspirin
  • ibuprofen
  • ketoprofen
  • naproxen

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medicine. You will need important blood work done while you are taking this medicine.

This drug may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon, as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop.

In some cases, you may be given additional medicines to help with side effects. Follow all directions for their use.

Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.

This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding.

Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medicine.

Avoid taking products that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your doctor. These medicines may hide a fever.

Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.

Last Updated: November 30, 2009
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