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Docetaxel

Chemotherapy

Brand names:

Docefrez®, Taxotere®

Often used for:

Sarcoma, Hepatoblastoma, Recurrent solid tumors

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What is Docetaxel?

Docetaxel is a type of chemotherapy. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cells.

Docetaxel is usually given as a 1-hour infusion once every 3 weeks. Patients will be monitored to watch for infusion-related side effects.

Docetaxel can cause tissue damage if it leaks from the vein. Patients may have irritation and skin damage at the IV site. Let a caregiver know if there is burning during administration.

Patients will have regular blood draws to check blood counts and monitor liver and kidney function.

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Given as a liquid into a vein by IV

 
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Possible Side Effects

  • Low blood counts (may cause increased risk of infection, bleeding, anemia and/or fatigue)
  • Nausea or vomiting (usually mild)
  • Mouth sores
  • Fluid retention including swelling and weight gain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Hair loss
  • Change in nails
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Change in taste
  • Tingling of the hands or feet
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Dry skin
  • Vision changes
  • Watery eyes or redness
  • Liver problems

Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include: hives, rash, itching, difficulty breathing and/or swallowing, low blood pressure

Not all patients who take docetaxel will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Possible Late Effects

Some patients may experience long-term or late effects of treatment that may continue or develop months or years after treatment ends. Possible late effects due to docetaxel include:

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Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Patients are usually given a corticosteroid medication such as dexamethasone before and after receiving the docetaxel infusion.
  • A doctor may prescribe medicine to reduce nausea and vomiting.
  • Some docetaxel formulas contain alcohol and may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion. Patients should not drive or do anything that could be dangerous immediately after receiving the infusion.
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for 6 months after completion of therapy.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Caregivers should follow instructions to avoid contact with patient body fluids, which can contain the drug for 48 hours after it is given.