Taxotere (docetaxel) is a cytotoxic intravenous chemotherapy drug used to treat various cancers like breast, lung, prostate, stomach, etc. This anti-cancer drug is manufactured and marketed by Sanofi-Aventis and was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996.
Taxotere belongs to a class of chemotherapy drugs called plant alkaloids also known as antimicrotubule agents. Antimicrotubule agents inhibit the microtubule structures within the cell required for cell division and self-replication; inhibition of these structures ultimately results in cell death. Taxotere is approved in the treatment of breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, advanced stomach cancer, head and neck cancer and metastatic prostate cancer. but doctors prescribe this drug mainly to treat the breast cancer cases in the U.S making it the most prescribed drug in its class.
Taxotere has disfiguring side effects that include permanent hair loss, also known as Alopecia, which severely impacts the quality of life, which could lead to depression and distress. Other side effects include cutaneous reactions, neurologic reactions, eye disorders.
The company Sanofi was aware by the year 2005 about the results of a trial GEICAM 9805 which was sponsored by Sanofi in the late 1990s that 9.2% of women who used the drug Taxotere suffered permanent alopecia. In spite of that Sanofi misled the public by falsely reassuring them that hair would grow back after chemotherapy.