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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving paclitaxel (Onxol, Taxol)?
You should not be given this medication if you are allergic to paclitaxel, or to other medications that contain an ingredient called Cremophor EL (polyoxyethylated castor oil). This includes cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune) and teniposide (Vumon).
Before you receive paclitaxel, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely receive paclitaxel.
FDA pregnancy category D. This medication can cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not receive paclitaxel without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
It is not known whether paclitaxel passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not receive this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How is paclitaxel given (Onxol, Taxol)?
Paclitaxel is given as an injection through a needle placed into a vein. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. The medicine must be given slowly through an IV infusion, and can take up to 24 hours to complete.
Paclitaxel is usually given every 3 weeks. Follow your doctor's instructions.
Before your injection, you may be given other medications to help prevent a serious allergic reaction to paclitaxel.
Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when the medicine is injected.
If any of this medication gets on your skin, wash the area with soap and warm water right away.
Your breathing, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and other vital signs will be watched closely while you are receiving paclitaxel.
Your heart rate may also be monitored through electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG). This machine measures electrical activity of the heart.
Paclitaxel can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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