Brand name: Taxotere
Chemical name: Docetaxel
How it works: Taxanes interfere with the ability of cancer cells to divide.
Uses: Taxotere usually is given in combination with other chemotherapy medicines and is used after surgery to treat:
- advanced-stage breast cancer that isn't responding to doxorubicin
- advanced-stage breast cancer that has spread to other areas of the breast or other parts of the body after treatment with standard chemotherapy medicines
- early-stage breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes after surgery
How it's given: Taxotere is given intravenously.
Additional information: Taxotere uses solvents to dissolve paclitaxel, the main ingredient, so the medicine can enter the bloodstream. These solvents may make Taxotere difficult to tolerate while being given. People usually take pre-medications to minimize reactions to the solvents. In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a generic version of Taxotere.
- low white blood cell count
- susceptibility to infection
- fluid retention
- allergic reactions
- hair loss
- numbness in the fingers and toes (neuropathy)
- taste changes
- muscle pain
- bone or joint pain
- nail changes
- mouth or throat sores
- watery eyes
- irregular periods — this can include temporary cessation (usually resume after medication is completed) or permanent cessation of menstrual periods depending on your age and other factors
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