Chemotherapy-induced hair loss is a dreaded side effect for many cancer patients. In many cases, it’s off-putting enough to make them consider refusing this treatment. Nevertheless. patients are frequently encouraged to undergo chemotherapy, despite such concerns, because of chemo’s cancer-fighting benefits. Alopecia, patients are assured, only occurs during treatment. After concluding their chemo cycles, most survivors of cancer look forward with great anticipation to the restoration of their hair, which is an important visual marker of their recovery.
However, breast cancer survivors who took the drug Taxotere never really noticed their hair restored to a pre-treatment condition as they’d expected and hoped for. Tragically, it was only much later that these women would find out about early medical research linking Taxotere to long term hair loss, which is different than Taxol, a closely-related medicine that scientists believe is equally effective but much less likely to cause lasting alopecia.
Now, patients are filing lawsuits against the Taxotere manufacturer Sanofi, alleging that the company purposely kept information hidden about the drug’s uniquely toxic effect on hair follicles to in order to improve sales at the expense of patient safety. Many people are not sure what to do if they have been the victim of this. The Taxotere Lawsuit Aid has more informatino about what to do if you believe you may have rights to claim in this case.
Taxotere is associated with a relatively high incidence of long lasting hair loss when held in comparison to the majority of other chemotherapy drugs, including Taxol, an earlier drug that Taxotere was actually developed as an alternative to.
The ingredients in Taxol and Taxotere are structurally similar and operate in a near-identical way, as they’re both taxanes, plant-based radiation treatment agents that attack malignancy by inhibiting reproduction of the cells. Research has demonstrated that the two drugs generally have displayed very similar levels of efficacy for breast cancer and other shared FDA-approved indications, but as we’ll see, Taxotere has a far more powerful association with long term loss of hair.
Currently, researchers are busily working hard to understand just why Taxotere appears to hold a higher risk of long lasting, or permanent, loss of hair in patients than any other chemotherapy drug, such as the closely-related Taxol.
Can the effects of Taxotere on hair loss be prevented, or even reversed? Unfortunately, in this day and age, reversing the effects of hair loss is a highly difficult undertaking. The best option for an individual who has already lost their hair is undergoing hair transplantation. Preventing hair loss, however, is a task that has had more success than attempted reversal. One such way of doing this is by use of scalp cooling.
Scalp cooling is when patients are given caps to put over their hair that keep the area cool. The idea behind this is to slow down induction of the medicine Taxotere into the cells, and a moderate level of success has been shown. This is a continuing debate, as it can be difficult to assess whether the effectiveness comes from the actual cooling or other factors. Cooling the scalp has been recognized by Aetna to be effective.
In conclusion, research must be done before agreeing to take any sort of medication. Knowing the side effects of each medicine, and how it can possibly permanently affect you is of utmost importance. Also important is knowing how to prevent, or even reverse, these side effects if any should occur.