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Brand Names: Docefrez, Taxotere

Generic Name: docetaxel (Pronunciation: doe se TAX el)

What is docetaxel (Docefrez, Taxotere)?

Docetaxel is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Docetaxel is used to treat breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, and head/neck cancer.

Docetaxel may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of docetaxel (Docefrez, Taxotere)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • extreme weakness;
  • severe vomiting or diarrhea;
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat;
  • pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • swelling of your ankles or feet, weight gain;
  • urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • redness or peeling of the skin on your hands and feet;
  • numbness, burning pain, or tingly feeling; or
  • redness, swelling, burning, irritation, or skin changes where the injection was given.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • feeling weak or tired;
  • mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or loss of appetite;
  • muscle pain;
  • missed menstrual periods;
  • temporary hair loss; 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 (Docefrez, Taxotere)?

Do not use docetaxel if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby.

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to docetaxel, or to drugs made with polysorbate 80.

Before you receive docetaxel, tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease, heart disease, congestive heart failure, or fluid retention or swelling problems.

You may need to take a steroid medicine to help prevent certain side effects of docetaxel. Try not to miss any doses of your steroid medication.

Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when docetaxel is injected.

To make sure this medication is helping your condition and not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving docetaxel (Docefrez, Taxotere)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to docetaxel, or to drugs made with polysorbate 80.

To make sure you can safely receive docetaxel, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • heart disease, congestive heart failure;
  • fluid retention or swelling problems; or
  • if you have ever had an allergic reaction to docetaxel.

FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use docetaxel 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 docetaxel passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while receiving docetaxel.

Older adults may be more likely to have side effects from this medicine.

How is docetaxel given (Docefrez, Taxotere)?

Docetaxel is injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. Docetaxel must be given slowly, and the IV infusion can take up to 1 hour to complete. You may receive other cancer medicines at the same time.

Docetaxel is usually given once every 3 weeks, depending on the type of cancer being treated. Follow your doctor's instructions.


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