- 1 Side Effects During Infusion
- 2 Persistent Alopecia (Permanent Hair Loss)
- 3 Side Effects That Affect Your Eyes
- 4 Neuropathy Symptoms
- 5 Low Blood Cell Counts
- 6 Swelling (Retention of Fluids)
- 7 Side Effects That Affect Your Skin or Nails
- 8 Nausea, Diarrhea, and Vomiting
- 9 Constipation
- 10 Anorexia (or Excessive Weight Loss)
- 11 How Long Do Taxotere Side Effects Last?
- 12 Talk to Your Doctor If You Notice Any Unusual Symptoms
Are you currently being given Taxotere for the treatment of breast cancer?
Taxotere’s generic name is docetaxel.
Docetaxel is commonly used in chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer and others such as pancreatic, lung, and endometrial cancers.
If you are taking Taxotere (docetaxel), or have recently taken it, being able to recognize the side effects you may experience can help you address them with your doctors.
It can also help you determine if the side effect is one that is temporary or not.
Docetaxel is given by intravenous injections and some side effects may begin to occur immediately after receiving treatment.
Others may not develop until later.
Below is a list of some of the Taxotere side effects you may experience.
Side Effects During Infusion
Some side effects may occur immediately or closely after intravenous injection (infusion) of Docetaxel.
Your healthcare team will likely prescribe medications for you to take prior to beginning treatment to counter these reactions.
Side effects you may experience may include breathing issues such as wheezing and shortness of breath.
Your skin may flush or itch. Fever, fluid retention, and signs of cardiac arrest may also develop.
Persistent Alopecia (Permanent Hair Loss)
Many patients who undergo chemotherapy suffer at least some temporary hair loss.
However, some patients who are treated with Docetaxel develop Alopecia that results in permanent hair loss.
Side Effects That Affect Your Eyes
There are several side effects that can be associated with these areas of your eyes: Blurred or dulled vision, cloudiness in the lens of the eye, and loss in areas in your vision.
You may also experience excessive tearing of the eye, dry eyes, swollen eyelids, sensitivity to light, and headaches.
You should see your doctor immediately if you notice any change in your vision.
For the more mild side effects, advise your doctor on your next scheduled visit.
Nerve pain is the most common sign of peripheral neuropathy caused by Docetaxel.
Other symptoms may include muscle aches, joint aches, and numbness in your feet.
Low Blood Cell Counts
It is common for patients taking Docetaxel to have lowered counts for both white and red blood cells.
Common symptoms of low red blood count are shortness of breath, fatigue, lightheadedness, dizziness, and increased heart rate.
The problem associated with low white blood cell counts is you will be more likely to develop an infection, but you may not show the normal symptoms for it.
For this reason, your health care team will likely monitor your blood count levels.
Swelling (Retention of Fluids)
Swelling in your limbs and around internal organs (lungs and heart) are other side effects of Taxotere.
Your health care team may prescribe corticosteroids to help reduce the swelling.
In more severe cases, the fluid may have to get physically drained to relieve the swelling.
Side Effects That Affect Your Skin or Nails
Taxotere can cause symptoms that affect your skin.
Your skin may tingle, itch, develop rashes, swell, or blister.
The use of corticosteroids or antihistamines may help prevent or lessen the severity of these symptoms.
Nails can begin to thicken, develop infections, splinter, or lift away from the nail bed.
It can take months after stopping the use of Taxotere for these symptoms to go away.
Nausea, Diarrhea, and Vomiting
Taxotere is known to cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting symptoms.
Extended periods of gastrointestinal symptoms can cause your bowel to become inflamed.
Be sure to keep your health care team up to date with your symptoms because they can become life-threatening.
While receiving Taxotere for chemotherapy, you may develop issues with constipation.
If you experience nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting, this commonly increases the likelihood of constipation occurring since they can lower your body fluids and may lower your desire to eat.
If you are having constipation, try to increase your water intake and eat more food that contains fiber.
If eating is a problem, try adding a fiber supplement to your water.
Anorexia (or Excessive Weight Loss)
The use of docetaxel can also induce anorexia because it can cause an abnormal loss of appetite.
A symptom of anorexia is weighing 15 percent less than what your health care team defines as your ideal weight.
Many symptoms that are common among Taxodere patients can lead to excessive weight loss.
No desire to eat and regular bouts of vomiting can become a serious health concern if left untreated.
So if you lose the desire to eat or notice that you are eating a lot less than you normally do, be sure to talk to your doctor about it before you lose too much weight.
How Long Do Taxotere Side Effects Last?
Side effects and other complications due to taking Taxotere can vary on how long they last.
Some may go away quickly while others may last throughout your treatment. Still, some may be permanent.
Your healthcare team will be the best source to estimate the length of time your side effects may last.
They will be familiar with your individual health history and know which other medications you are taking.
Talk to Your Doctor If You Notice Any Unusual Symptoms
There are many other known Taxotere side effects, so even if they are not listed here, be sure to discuss any new to you symptoms with your health care team.
They will be able to rule out whether Taxotere or something else is causing the condition.
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