Questions and Answers About Taxotere® Injection Concentrate
(generic name = docetaxel) (pronounced as TAX-O-TEER)
What is Taxotere?
Taxotere is a medication to treat breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and prostate cancer. It has severe
side effects in some patients. This leaflet is designed to help you understand how to use Taxotere and avoid its side
effects to the fullest extent possible. The more you understand your treatment, the better you will be able to
participate in your care. If you have questions or concerns, be sure to ask your doctor or nurse. They are always
your best source of information about your condition and treatment.
What is the most important information about Taxotere?
•Since this drug, like many other cancer drugs, affects your blood cells, your doctor will ask for routine
blood tests. These will include regular checks of your white blood cell counts. People with low blood counts can
develop life-threatening infections. The earliest sign of infection may be fever, so if you experience a fever,
tell your doctor right away.
•Occasionally, serious allergic reactions have occurred with this medicine. If you have any allergies, tell
your doctor before receiving this medicine.
• A small number of people who take Taxotere have severe fluid retention, which can be life-threatening. To
help avoid this problem, you must take another medication such as dexamethasone (DECKS-A-METH-A-SONE) prior to each
Taxotere treatment. You must follow the schedule and take the exact dose of dexamethasone prescribed. If you forget
to take a dose or do not take it on schedule you must tell the doctor or nurse prior to your Taxotere
• If you are using any other medicines, tell your doctor before receiving your infusions of Taxotere.
How does Taxotere work?
Taxotere works by attacking cancer cells in your body. Different cancer medications attack cancer cells in
Heres how Taxotere works: Every cell in your body contains a supporting structure (like a skeleton). Damage to
this "skeleton" can stop cell growth or reproduction. Taxotere makes the "skeleton" in some cancer cells very stiff,
so that the cells can no longer grow.
How will I receive Taxotere?
Taxotere is given by an infusion directly into your vein. Your treatment will take about 1 hour. Generally, people
receive Taxotere every 3 weeks. The amount of Taxotere and the frequency of your infusions will be determined by your
As part of your treatment, to reduce side effects your doctor will prescribe another medicine called
dexamethasone. Your doctor will tell you how and when to take this medicine. It is important that you take the
dexamethasone on the schedule set by your doctor. If you forget to take your medication, or do not take it on
schedule, make sure to tell your doctor or nurse BEFORE you receive your Taxotere treatment.
Included with this information leaflet is a chart to help you remember when to take your
What should be avoided while receiving Taxotere?
Taxotere can interact with other medicines. Use only medicines that are prescribed for you by your doctor and
be sure to tell your doctor all the medicines that you use, including nonprescription drugs.
What are the possible side effects of Taxotere?
Low Blood Cell Count - Many cancer medications, including Taxotere, cause a temporary drop in the number of
white blood cells. These cells help protect your body from infection. Your doctor will routinely check your blood
count and tell you if it is too low. Although most people receiving Taxotere do not have an infection even if they
have a low white blood cell count, the risk of infection is increased.
Fever is often one of the most common and earliest signs of infection. Your doctor will recommend that
you take your temperature frequently, especially during the days after treatment with Taxotere. If you have a fever,
tell your doctor or nurse immediately.
Allergic Reactions - This type of reaction, which occurs during the infusion of Taxotere, is infrequent. If
you feel a warm sensation, a tightness in your chest, or itching during or shortly after your treatment, tell your
doctor or nurse immediately.
Fluid Retention - This means that your body is holding extra water. If this fluid retention is in the chest
or around the heart it can be life-threatening. If you notice swelling in the feet and legs or a slight weight gain,
this may be the first warning sign. Fluid retention usually does not start immediately; but, if it occurs, it may
start around your 5th treatment. Generally, fluid retention will go away within weeks or months after your treatments
Dexamethasone Since this drug, like many other cancer drugs, affects your blood cells, tablets may protect
patients from significant fluid retention. It is important that you take this medicine on schedule. If you have not
taken dexamethasone on schedule, you must tell your doctor or nurse before receiving your next Taxotere
Gastrointestinal - Diarrhea has been associated with TAXOTERE use and can be severe in some patients.
Nausea and/or vomiting are common in patients receiving TAXOTERE. Severe inflammation of the bowel can also occur in
some patients and may be life threatening.
Hair Loss - Loss of hair occurs in most patients taking Taxotere (including the hair on your head,
underarm hair, pubic hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes). Hair loss will begin after the first few treatments and varies
from patient to patient. Once you have completed all your treatments, hair generally grows back.
Your doctor or nurse can refer you to a store that carries wigs, hairpieces, and turbans for patients with
Fatigue - A number of patients (about 10%) receiving Taxotere feel very tired following their treatments.
If you feel tired or weak, allow yourself If you are using any other medicines, tell your doctor before receiving
extra rest before your next treatment. If it is bothersome or lasts for longer than 1 week, inform your doctor or
Muscle Pain - This happens about 20% of the time, but is rarely severe. You may feel pain in your muscles
or joints. Tell your doctor or nurse if howthis happens. They may suggest ways to make you more comfortable.
Rash- This side effect occurs commonly but is severe in about 5%. You may develop a rash that looks like a
blotchy, hive-like reaction. This usually occurs on the hands and feet but may also appear on the arms, face, or
body. Generally, it will appear between treatments and will go away before the next treatment. Inform your doctor or
nurse if you experience a rash. They can help you avoid discomfort.
Odd Sensations - About half of patients getting Taxotere will feel numbness, tingling, or burning
sensations in their hands and feet. If you do experience this, tell your doctor or nurse. Generally, these go away
within a few weeks or months after your treatments are completed. About 14% of patients may also develop weakness in
their hands and feet.
Nail Changes- Color changes to your fingernails or toenails may occur while taking Taxotere. In extreme,
but rare, cases nails may fall off. After you have finished Taxotere treatments, your nails will generally grow
Eye Changes - Excessive tearing, which can be related to conjunctivitis or blockage of the tear ducts, may
If you are interested in learning more about this drug, ask your doctor for a copy of the package insert.
Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Bridgewater, NJ08807 USA www.aventis-us.com
Rev. January 2005 TAX-AUG04-PIL-A
|Every three-week injection of TAXOTERE for breast and non-small
cell lung cancers
Take dexamethasone tablets, 8 mg twice daily.
|Day 1 Date:___________
|Day 2 Date: ___________
|(Taxotere Treatment Day)
|Day 3 Date: ___________
|Every three-week injection of TAXOTERE for prostate cancer
Take dexamethasone 8 mg, at 12 hours, 3 hours and 1 hour before TAXOTERE infusion.
|(Taxotere Treatment Day)