US Brand Name: Taxotere
A semi-synthetic, second-generation taxane derived from a compound found in the European yew tree Taxus baccata. Docetaxel displays potent and broad antineoplastic properties; it binds to and stabilizes tubulin, thereby inhibiting microtubule disassembly which results in cell- cycle arrest at the G2/M phase and cell death. This agent also inhibits pro-angiogenic factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and displays immunomodulatory and pro-inflammatory properties by inducing various mediators of the inflammatory response. Docetaxel has been studied for use as a radiation-sensitizing agent.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Docetaxel injection is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat certain types of breast, lung, prostate, stomach, and head and neck cancers. Docetaxel injection is in a class of medications called taxanes. It works by stopping the growth and spread of cancer cells.
How should this medicine be used?
Docetaxel injection comes as a liquid to be given intravenously (into a vein) by a doctor or nurse in a hospital or clinic. It is usually given over 1 hour once every 3 weeks.
Your doctor will probably prescribe a steroid medication such as dexamethasone for you to take during each dosing cycle to help prevent certain side effects. Be sure to follow the directions carefully and take this medication exactly as prescribed. If you forget to take your medication or do not take it on schedule, be sure to tell your doctor before receiving your docetaxel injection.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.
Other uses for this medicine:
Docetaxel injection is also sometimes used to treat ovarian cancer (cancer that begins in the female reproductive organs where eggs are formed). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this drug for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to docetaxel injection or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune), erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin), ketoconazole (Nizoral), terfenadine (Seldane) (not available in the U.S.), and troleandomycin (TAO) (not available in the U.S.). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Many other medications may also interact with docetaxel injection, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
- tell your doctor if you have fluid in your chest cavity.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while you are using docetaxel injection. Talk to your doctor about birth control methods that you can use during your treatment. If you become pregnant while using docetaxel injection, call your doctor. Docetaxel injection may harm the fetus.
- tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You should not breast-feed while you are using docetaxel injection.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using docetaxel injection.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Call your doctor right away if you are unable to keep an appointment to receive a dose of docetaxel injection.
What side effects can this medication cause?
- changes in taste
- extreme tiredness
- muscle, joint, or bone pain
- hair loss
- nail changes
- increased eye tearing
- sores in the mouth and throat
- redness, dryness, or swelling at the site where the medication was injected
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
- blistering skin
- numbness, tingling, or burning sensation in the hands or feet
- weakness in the hands and feet
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Docetaxel injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
*Source: National Cancer Institute
*Source: Medline Plus