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Taxotere Lawsuits 2024: Aftermath of Never-Ending Agony

by | Feb 8, 2024 | Mass tort, Product liability

When the most expected cure for an adverse issue brings forth a completely unexpected and mortifying outcome, the agony of the affected becomes unexplainable. That’s what happened to the cancer patients who were treated with Taxotere, a chemotherapy drug.

Like adding insult to injury, Taxotere causes irrevocable side effects to the already agonizing lives of cancer patients. This puts the manufacturer of the Taxotere drug at the crux as its adverse side effects are emanating multiple waves of Taxotere lawsuits every day.

Multitudes of victims all across the U.S. are awaiting favorable verdicts in their Taxotere lawsuits to get at least a financial consolation for their never-ending woes.

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Through this blog, we are going to analyze the various types of Taxotere medication lawsuits filed across the country and the Taxotere lawsuit status. Come, let’s plunge deep.

What is Taxotere?

Taxotere is a chemotherapy drug that is used to treat various cancers such as breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, prostate cancer, gastroesophageal cancers, and head and neck cancers. Docetaxel is its generic name, and it belongs to the taxane class of drugs. Docetaxel is a microtubule inhibitor used to slow cell growth. Taxotere is administered every three weeks, and the dosage is determined by body weight, medical condition, and how the body reacts to the treatment.

Unlike other drugs, chemotherapy drugs have serious side effects, and Taxotere is not an exception. It is advised to use with pre-medications like dexamethasone to prevent allergy and swellings. However, even with the pre-medications, Taxotere is found to be causing severe allergic reactions and edema.

The drug is labeled with a black box warning, listing five potentially fatal complications such as blood cell count reduction (neutropenia), liver toxicity, fluid retention, hypersensitivity reactions, and toxic death.

Common Side Effects of Taxotere

  • Appetite loss
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Edema or discomfort at the injection site
  • Nail or toenail reactions
  • Nausea
  • Temporary loss of hair
  • Vomiting

A Brief Background History of Taxotere Drug

Sanofi, a French-based multinational pharmaceutical company, produces the breast cancer chemotherapy drug Taxotere. It was first developed by Rhone-Poulenc (now Sanofi-Aventis). Taxotere was approved by the FDA in 1996 for a specific indication: the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer who had not responded well to other treatments.

Taxotere was also tested and developed to treat other types of cancer in various combinations, and it received FDA approval over various years. It was approved by the FDA in 1999 for non-small cell lung cancer treatment. By 2010, around 1.5 million people across the world used it, bringing the sales to more than $3 million.

Taxotere was approved for use in conjunction with prednisone in the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer in May 2004 and in August of the same year for the treatment of breast cancer in conjunction with pre-medications. Taxotere was approved to treat gastric cancer and head and neck cancer in March and October 2006, respectively.

However, in the period between 2003 and June 2018, a total of 21,037 adverse events related to the Taxotere drugs were reported to the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS). Of those reports, 17,346 were intense, and 3,007 led to deaths.

Long-Term Side Effects of Taxotere

Usually, the normal and temporary side effects of Taxotere last a few days after the infusion. However, there are far more long-lasting and irreparable side effects that make the victims fight against the manufacturers. Let’s see what the victims encountered.

Hair loss

In 2006, Dr. Sedlacek at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers in Colorado conducted an independent study on Taxotere side effects. It discovered that up to 6.3 percent of breast cancer patients experienced persistent, significant alopecia (PSA), which means they only grew back less than 50 percent of their hair after the treatment.

While temporary hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy drugs, permanent hair loss is not. Furthermore, another 2014 study published in the National Cancer Research Institute by Nicola Thorp and her colleagues discovered permanent alopecia in 10-15% of Taxotere patients.

In a study made among the 744 women who received combination drugs Taxotere, doxorubicin, and cyclophosphamide (TAC), around 687 women suffered alopecia. A small percentage of them did not get their hair back even after eight years after the treatment.

Though it is not a life-threatening issue, losing their hair permanently affects many women physically and emotionally. Even years after the end of the chemotherapy treatment, the hair will not grow back as Taxotere makes it a permanent loss.

Neuropathy

Many women who had docetaxel treatment for breast cancer reported developing peripheral neuropathy in the first few years after the treatment, says the European Journal of Cancer study from 2015. Around 10 percent of the breast cancer victims who took Taxotere had more severe neuropathic symptoms other than normal tingling and numbness. Sometimes Gabapentin is prescribed to reduce symptoms, but most of it goes in vain as the symptoms appear despite the use.

Leukemia

A very rare side effect of the drug is acute myeloid leukemia (AML). A study involving around 745 participants who were given Taxotere along with doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (TAC) ensued AML. One patient was reported to be dead.

Some patients might face a drastic reduction in blood cells years after the treatment. The patients who received the above-said combination of medicine should be closely monitored to check for leukemia since these drugs could damage the DNA in the bone marrow where the blood cells are formed.

It is found in a research paper published by the Journal of Clinical Oncology that when chemotherapy and radiation are used together in breast cancer patients, a small percentage of them might be at risk of developing leukemia (bone marrow neoplasms) even after ten years of the treatment.

Vision loss

Many people who were treated with Taxotere faced vision impairment or permanent vision loss, having already undergone a lot of pain and suffering due to cancer. The drug had rubbed salt in their wounds by causing devastating vision loss side effects mentioned below.

  • Distorted vision
  • Dry eye disease (keratoconjunctivitis)
  • Itching or discomfort of the eyes
  • Increased “floaters” in the eyes
  • Permanent harm to the eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Tear duct obstruction (nasolacrimal duct obstruction)
  • The tear ducts’ constriction or stenosis
  • Vision loss
  • Watery eyes (epiphora)

Let’s see some basic information on the eye, how it works, and how Taxotere infusion causes defects in its function. The lacrimal gland lacrimal punctum, canaliculi (tear duct), lacrimal sac, and nasolacrimal duct are all parts of the lacrimal system. Taxotere frequently leaks into tear film after being injected intravenously to treat cancer.

picture-depicting-lacrimal-system-Taxotere-lawsuits

Parts of the lacrimal system involved in tear drainage eventually develop fibrosis as a result of Taxotere being secreted into the tears. The lacrimal drainage system may eventually develop persistent canalicular stenosis (narrowing) as the scarring progresses. When this happens, the ability of the lacrimal system to drain tears is compromised. Chronic epiphora develops as a result of ongoing tear production without drainage (watery eyes). Vision impairment caused by this disorder may be severe.

Canalicular stenosis is a condition that occurs when the external aperture of the lacrimal canaliculus is constrained or blocked due to inflammation caused by the epiphora.

In 2001 an article published in the Journal of Ophthalmology reported cancer patients experiencing epiphora after Taxotere infusion.

Taxotere was frequently causing “advanced cases of canalicular blockage,” according to an article published in 2003 by the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reported in a study from 2014 that up to 64% of Taxotere patients were found to be prone to experience epiphora.

Though it can be a temporary side effect of the drug, it should resolve once the treatment course is over. But in the case of Taxotere victims, the symptoms did not resolve. Along with that, many victims have reported having loss of vision and excessive tear flow from the eyes.

The patients had to undergo procedures to implant silicone tubes to drain the tears or undergo dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) by creating new drainage for tears. In some cases, even the procedures could not help the victims.

Taxotere Hair Loss Lawsuits

Thousands of Taxotere alopecia lawsuits have been filed by women who suffered permanent hair loss against the drug’s makers. It is alleged that Sanofi knew of the adverse risks of permanent alopecia in 2005. Sanofi conducted a study GEICAM 9805, which revealed that around 9.2% encountered permanent alopecia after the Taxotere infusion.

In October 2016, around 33 Taxotere lawsuits were consolidated as an MDL 2740 under a single Judge, Jane Triche Milazzo, in Louisiana. Within a year, the number of lawsuits soared as high as more than 2000. Sanofi updated the warning label on the Taxotere medication in 2015 in response to an FDA order, and so the Judge dismissed approximately 200 hair loss lawsuits, claiming that the injuries occurred after the label update.

In September 2019, the first bellwether lawsuit was trialed. However, the first trial went in favor of the manufacturer as the Judge did not think that the plaintiff, Barbara Earnest’s permanent hair loss, was caused by the drug.

Sanofi bagged a second consecutive bellwether trial lawsuit win with plaintiff Elizabeth Kahn in the Taxotere lawsuit 2021. The New Orleans federal court jury, Milazzo, gave the defense verdict stating that the maker had adequately warned that the drug would cause alopecia. Elizabeth filed a lawsuit in 2016 that the drug she took in 2008 caused her permanent hair loss. After the loss, Elizabeth’s attorneys informed the media that she would proceed with an appeal.

In early February 2022, Sanofi faced a great blow as the first bellwether plaintiff Barbara’s appeal, was considered, and the verdict was revered by 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Cory Wilson.

What is the status of the Taxotere lawsuits? The scheduled date for the third Taxotere lawsuit bellwether trial is not available. Sanofi is also facing multiple Taxotere lawsuits in California, Delaware, Mississippi, and New Jersey. At present, there are more than 30,000 Taxotere lawsuits in the hair loss MDL.

As per the Taxotere lawsuit update 2023, in January, the judge allowed a new trial in the ongoing class action lawsuit. In February 2023, Sanofi won the second bellwether trial.

When is the next Taxotere bellwether trial? The next bellwether trial date is not yet scheduled.

When will the Taxotere lawsuits be settled? It’s a recurring question in the minds of the plaintiffs. Since the hair loss lawsuits are in the bellwether phase, it may take another year to know the course of the MDL. Let’s wait patiently to know the Taxotere settlement update 2024.

Taxotere Lawsuits on Vision Loss

When the hair loss Taxotere lawsuits were being trialed on one side, many victims who faced eye damages started filing vision loss lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis all across the U.S. These Taxotere lawsuits allege that Taxotere-related injury to their tear ducts caused their excessive tearing (epiphora).

There are more than 12,000 eye damage lawsuits consolidated as a separate Taxotere MDL 3023 in the Louisiana federal district court under Judge Jane Triche Milazzo. The Taxotere lawsuit 2022 is in the pre-trial phase.

The plaintiffs of Taxotere lawsuits allege that despite being aware of the drug’s permanent watery eyes side effect, Sanofi failed to warn the physicians and the consumers.

A new study published in the Journal of JAMA Ophthalmology in 2022 reinforces the allegations of the plaintiffs in Taxotere lawsuits MDL. It establishes that Taxotere can cause optic neuropathy, cystoid macular edema (CME), and epiphora. Taxotere was found to enhance excessive tearing and watery eyes by seven times.

Though the defense is trying to argue that the eye injury warning was added to the label in 2002 itself, the plaintiffs accuse that the label did not give an adequate warning like the permanent tear duct injury or watery eyes.

As per the latest update of Taxotere lawsuit 2023, there are only around 180 plaintiffs in the Taxotere vision loss lawsuits in January. Experts are wondering why the lawsuits being filed are in a snail space. They hope that 2024 may see more plaintiffs come forward to fight against the wrongdoers.

There have been no Sanofi Taxotere settlement so far either in the vision loss or hair loss lawsuits. Let’s hope the struggles of the plaintiffs be heard by the defendants and jury to reach a global Taxotere lawsuit settlement soon.

February 2024 Updates

As of February 2024, there are more than 9,700 hair loss claims and 260 eye damage claims pending in two separate MDLs.

Stay in touch with LezDo to know more updates on the status of MDLs on both hair loss and eye damage Taxotere Lawsuit progress and Taxotere lawsuit payouts, if any.

How can I Win My Taxotere Lawsuit?

If you experience any of the symptoms we have discussed earlier, consult with your primary care physician to know if it is the aftermath of the Taxotere infusion. Get all your signs and symptoms documented in the medical records. Search for an experienced Taxotere chemo tears lawsuit attorney to discuss your case.

Remember that within two years of the diagnosis of your tear duct injury or vision loss, you have to file the claim to make it more valid. Filing your lawsuit within the statute of limitation of your state avoids the chances of getting your claim denied. Contact one of the best Taxotere watery eyes attorneys to win your case with ease.

Epiphora’s devastating effects can have an impact on both your physical and mental well-being. You should succeed in your lawsuit against the manufacturer for downplaying the seriousness of the adverse effects of tearing or for improperly marketing Taxotere.

An effective medical record review from LezDo will assist your Taxotere watery eyes lawyers to fortify your claim. LezDo can dig out the vital evidence that could support your claim either in a medical chronology or the contradictory statements of the defense or the defense experts in deposition summaries.

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Make your Taxotere eye lawsuit strong and stand out with valid proof to get reparation. We know that the irrevocable damages the drug had made might not be reversed, but at least the recompense can abet you in handling your future medical expenses.

Damages Claimed in Taxotere Lawsuits

The damages you can claim in the Taxotere lawsuits, either on hair loss or eye damage, are as follows:

  • Medical expenses(past and present)
  • Future medical expenses for treatment and medical device aid
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Permanent disability, both physical and mental
  • lost wages

To wind up,

Sanofi should face the consequences of marketing a defective drug despite knowing its harmful side effects. Even if it claims that it was unaware of the danger, once it came to know of it, it should have initiated a Taxotere recall and warned the physicians and consumers of the impending dangers.

Failing to act responsibly puts Sanofi at the mercy of justice. It is the responsibility of the citizens to make the wrongdoers pay for being erroneous. Let’s hope the verdicts in Taxotere hair loss lawsuits and eye injury lawsuits turn the wind in favor of plaintiffs to give some solace to their never-ending woes.

Hope the Taxotere lawsuit update 2024 gives some news on Taxotere settlement amounts to relieve the tension of the victims.

Share your stories of Taxotere injuries with us. We will update the significant occurrences in Taxotere lawsuits soon.

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