Generic Name: docetaxel
- What is docetaxel?
- What are the possible side effects of docetaxel?
- What is the most important information I should know about docetaxel?
- What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving docetaxel?
- How is docetaxel given?
- What happens if I miss a dose?
- What happens if I overdose?
- What should I avoid while receiving docetaxel?
- What other drugs will affect docetaxel?
- Where can I get more information?
What is docetaxel?
Docetaxel may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What are the possible side effects of docetaxel?
You may have a life-threatening allergic reaction or a severe skin reaction. Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling; fever, sore throat, wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing; feeling like you might pass out; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Some side effects may occur during the injection. Tell your caregiver if you feel light-headed, or if you have trouble breathing or fast or irregular heartbeats.
Also call your doctor at once if you have:
- pain, burning, irritation, or skin changes where the injection was given;
- sudden vision problems including blurred vision or loss of vision;
- redness or swelling in your arms or legs;
- skin rash, redness, blistering, peeling, bleeding, or small red or white bumps that contain pus;
- numbness, burning, or tingling in your hands or feet;
- muscle weakness in your arms, legs, feet, or hands;
- swelling, rapid weight gain, shortness of breath;
- signs of tumor cell breakdown--weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fast or slow heart rate, tingling around your mouth;
- a feeling of being drunk--confusion, stumbling, extreme drowsiness;
- liver problems--upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
- low blood cell counts--fever, chills, tiredness, mouth sores, skin sores, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, pale skin, cold hands and feet, feeling light-headed.
Side effects may be more likely in older adults.
Your cancer treatments may be delayed or permanently discontinued if you have certain side effects.
Common side effects may include:
- allergic reactions;
- tissue damage (if docetaxel leaks into tissues);
- swelling, warmth, tenderness, redness, dryness or darkened skin where the injection was given;
- low blood cell counts, infections;
- mouth or lip sores, altered sense of taste;
- nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite;
- constipation, diarrhea;
- feeling short of breath;
- eye redness, watery eyes;
- feeling weak or tired;
- swelling in your hands, feet, or face;
- muscle or joint pain;
- hair loss (may be permanent in some cases); or
- fingernail or toenail changes.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What is the most important information I should know about docetaxel?
Docetaxel can cause severe side effects including death, especially if you receive high doses, if you have liver disease, or if you have non-small cell lung cancer and you have been treated in the past with chemotherapy that contains platinum (cisplatin, carboplatin, oxaliplatin).
You may have a life-threatening allergic reaction. Get emergency medical help if you have hives, a red skin rash, trouble breathing, or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
You may have swelling in your intestines, which could cause death quickly. Call your doctor right away if you have stomach pain or tenderness, diarrhea, or fever.
You will be given steroid medication to help prevent fluid retention. Tell your doctor if you have swelling in your lower legs, rapid weight gain, or shortness of breath.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving docetaxel?
You should not receive this medicine if you have:
- a low white blood cell (WBC) count; or
- a history of severe allergic reaction to docetaxel or to any medicine that contains polysorbate 80.
Tell your doctor about your complete health history and all medications you have used. Docetaxel can cause severe side effects including death, especially:
- if you receive high doses;
- if you have liver disease; or
- if you have non-small cell lung cancer and you have been treated in the past with chemotherapy that contains platinum (cisplatin, carboplatin, oxaliplatin).
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- liver disease;
- heart disease;
- you have tumor lysis syndrome (rapid breakdown of cancer cells).
- fluid retention; or
- if you need to limit your alcohol intake.
Using docetaxel may increase your risk of developing other types of cancer (such as leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, or kidney cancer). This risk may continue for several months or years after you have received docetaxel. Ask your doctor about your specific risk.
Docetaxel can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects if the mother or the father is using this medicine.
- If you are a woman, do not use docetaxel if you are pregnant. You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 6 months after your last dose.
- If you are a man, use effective birth control if your sex partner is able to get pregnant. Keep using birth control for at least 3 months after your last dose.
- Tell your doctor right away if a pregnancy occurs while either the mother or the father is using docetaxel.
This medicine may affect fertility (ability to have children) in men. However, it is important to use birth control to prevent pregnancy because docetaxel can harm an unborn baby.
Do not breastfeed while using this medicine, and for at least 1 week after your last dose.
How is docetaxel given?
Docetaxel is given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.
Docetaxel can be harmful if it gets on your skin during an IV infusion. If this happens, wash right away with soap and water. Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when docetaxel is injected.
You may need frequent medical tests to be sure this medicine is not causing harmful effects. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results. Your vision may also need to be checked.
You will be given steroid medication to help prevent fluid retention. Keep using the steroid for as long as your doctor has prescribed.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your docetaxel injection, or if you miss a dose of your steroid medication.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while receiving docetaxel?
Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired.
Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding or injury. Use extra care to prevent bleeding while shaving or brushing your teeth.
Docetaxel contains alcohol and may cause a drunken feeling when the medicine is injected into your vein. Avoid drinking alcohol on the day of your docetaxel injection.
What other drugs will affect docetaxel?
Docetaxel contains alcohol. Using other drugs that can make you sleepy can worsen the feeling of being drunk. Ask your doctor before using opioid medication, a sleeping pill, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety or seizures.
Other drugs may affect docetaxel, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
Where can I get more information?
Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about docetaxel.
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