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Taxotere: Chemo Drug May Cause Permanent Hair Loss


Taxotere (docetaxel) is a chemotherapy drug prescribed for the treatment of many forms of cancer. While most chemotherapy drugs have a high likelihood of temporary hair loss, Taxotere has been alleged to cause permanent hair loss in many patients. The pharmaceutical company who manufactures Taxotere, Sanofi-Aventis, did not disclose the risk of permanent hair loss to the medical community or the users of its drug even though the company allegedly had data from a study that showed a possible side effect of permanent hair loss in 9.2% of patients.

Taxotere was approved by the FDA in 2004 for treatment of breast and other cancer forms. Taxotere is a highly prescribed chemo drug with hundreds of millions of dollars in sales annually. In 2005 Sanofi-Aventis sponsored a study that showed 9.2% of women had permanent hair loss (a condition called alopecia) after using Taxotere. Despite these findings, Sanofi-Aventis did not provide any marketing information or product information to the medical community or to patients in the United States warning of the risks of permanent hair loss. Additionally, a second study in 2012 published in Annals of Oncology documented that 19 of 20 patients they studied had permanent hair loss after using Taxotere. As a result of these studies and data from patients using Taxotere, in 2015 the FDA added a warning to the Taxotere label that includes the possible side effect of permanent hair loss.

Cancer patients are educated by their doctors about the chemotherapy drug options. Taxotere is one of many chemotherapy drugs. It is often chosen because unlike other chemo drugs, Taxotere is generally administered one time every three weeks. Most other drugs are administered once per week. Many people choose Taxotere simply for convenience. However, if users had known of the potential risk of permanent hair loss they could have chosen a different treatment option. Again, chemotherapy patients are well aware of the risk of losing their hair, but they are assuming that they will regrow their hair after treatment is complete. A loss of hair can have severe psychological effects on people trying to recover and rebuild their lives after cancer.

As of July 2016 there are over 30 lawsuits that are filed by attorneys in the United States against Sanofi-Aventis alleging that the company did not adequately warn doctors and patients of the risk of permanent hair loss associated with Taxotere. If you have suffered permanent hair loss/alopecia as the result of chemotherapy involving the drug Taxotere, then you may want to explore your legal options. An attorney can help you to determine if your case warrants investigation. Please contact Brett H. Oppenheimer, a lawyer located in Louisville, Kentucky, who can review your case free of charge. Contact Brett at (502) 242-8877 or send him an email at

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