“Alopecia Universalis” or Total Hair Loss on Scalp and Body, the Most Frequent Hair Loss Condition Reported with Taxotere Use
There may be nothing more wonderful than surviving a cancer diagnosis; however, permanently losing your hair due to a drug that you had been treated with could be heartbreaking as this can cause you to lose your self-confidence as well as enjoyment of life.
Alopecia, or permanent hair loss, is the basis of many current lawsuits filed against Sanofi-Aventis, manufacturer of Taxotere (Generic name is Docetaxel), an intravenous chemotherapy drug. Taxotere was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of operable node-positive breast cancer in women (it was also approved by the FDA to treat other types of cancer, including non-small cell lung cancer, prostate cancer, gastric cancer, and head and neck cancer).
As early as 2005, permanent hair loss due to Taxotere use was already reported by women patients outside of the U.S. It is, however, alleged that Sanofi-Aventis concealed this risk that is associated with the use of its drug, and incentivized doctors to continue prescribing Taxotere to unsuspecting breast cancer patients. It was only in December of 2015, after being mandated by the FDA, that Sanofi-Aventis began warning U.S. patients of the risk of permanent alopecia if they use Taxotere.
Hair loss is actually a common symptom among those who undergo chemotherapy treatment. Their hair, though, should grow back three to six months after chemotherapy treatment is stopped. A substantial number of women, however, reported no hair growth for as long as ten years after chemotherapy treatment. Many of them complained not just of baldness, but of “alopecia universalis” or total hair loss on the scalp and body (this means that, aside from baldness, they have also lost their eyebrows and eyelashes, and hair growth under arms and around the genital area).
The law firm Williams Kherkher explains that chemotherapy drugs are expected to eradicate or slow the growth of cancer cells without any risk of permanent side effects. This is not exactly the case with the drug Taxotere, however, for though effective, it caused women to lose their hair permanently. Worse, despite Sanofi-Aventis’ alleged knowledge of this side-effect, it is said that the manufacturer concealed this from breast cancer patients to still increase Taxotere sales.