Docetaxel (Injection)

Introduction

Docetaxel (doe-se-TAX-el)

Treats breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, and head and neck cancer.

Brand Name(s)

Taxotere, Docefrez

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not be treated with this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to docetaxel or to a preservative called polysorbate 80. You should not receive this medicine if you are pregnant or if you have a low number of white blood cells.

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.
  • You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • Your doctor may tell you to take a steroid medicine such as dexamethasone (Decadron®) to help prevent some of the side effects of docetaxel. Your doctor will tell you how and when to take this medicine. You might want to write your medicine schedule on a calendar to help you remember. If you forget, be sure and tell your doctor or health caregiver before you receive your docetaxel treatment.

If a dose is missed:

  • This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or treatment clinic for instructions.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • If you get your treatments at a clinic, the staff at the clinic will keep your medicine there.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Talk to your doctor before getting flu shots or other vaccines while you are receiving this medicine. Vaccines may not work as well, or they could make you ill while you are using this medicine.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also taking cyclosporine (Sandimmune®), erythromycin (EES®), or ketoconazole (Nizoral®).

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding, or if you have liver disease.
  • This medicine lowers the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
  • This medicine can cause rashes, trouble breathing, or swelling. You will get medicine before your treatment to help prevent these problems.
  • Cancer medicines can cause nausea and/or vomiting in most people, sometimes even after receiving medicines to prevent it. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control these side effects.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, red skin rash.
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath.
  • Decrease in how much or how often you urinate.
  • Fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, drowsiness, or fainting.
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet.
  • Pain, itching, burning, swelling, or a lump under your skin where the needle is placed.
  • Rapid weight gain.
  • Red or black stools.
  • Severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Severe tearing and burning of your eyes.
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Change in hearing.
  • Change in taste or smell.
  • Changes in the appearance of fingernails or toenails.
  • Dry skin, or mild skin rash or itching.
  • Hair loss.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or stomach pain or cramps.
  • Mild tearing, burning, or dry, itchy eyes.
  • Muscle or joint pain.
  • Sores or white patches on your lips, mouth, or throat.
  • Warmth or redness in your face, neck, arms, or upper chest.
  • Weight loss.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013

         
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