This medication is used to treat cancer (such as breast, lung, prostate, stomach, and head/neck cancer). Docetaxel is a member of a family of drugs called taxanes. This drug works by slowing cell growth.
How to use Docetaxel Vial
Read the Patient Information Leaflet available from your pharmacist. Consult your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you have any questions.
This medication is given by injection into a vein by a health care professional, generally over 1 hour every 3 weeks or as directed by your doctor. The dosage and frequency is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment.
Your doctor may prescribe pre-medications (e.g., corticosteroids such as dexamethasone) to prevent side effects like swelling (fluid retention/edema) and allergic reactions. These are generally started 1 day before treatment and continued for a total of 3 days. Carefully follow your doctor's orders to prepare for your treatment. If you forget to take your pre-medication, or do not take it on schedule, tell your doctor or nurse before you receive your docetaxel treatment.
Docetaxel Side Effects
See also Warning section.
Pain or swelling at the injection site, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive tearing, fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness, feeling drunk, constipation, and loss of appetite may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Eating several small meals, not eating before treatment, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Temporary hair loss and nail changes may occur. Normal hair growth and nail appearance should return after treatment has ended. However, hair loss may be permanent for some people.
People using this medication may have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.
This medication can decrease your body's ability to fight an infection. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any signs of an infection (such as a sore throat that doesn't go away, fever, or chills).
Although docetaxel is used to treat cancer, it may rarely increase your risk of getting other cancers (such as acute myeloid leukemia-AML, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, kidney cancer). This may occur months to years after treatment. Your doctor should monitor you closely while you receive this medication and after treatment with this medication.
Docetaxel sometimes causes side effects due to the rapid destruction of cancer cells (tumor lysis syndrome). To lower your risk, your doctor may add a medication and tell you to drink plenty of fluids. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as: low back/side pain (flank pain), signs of kidney problems (such as painful urination, pink/bloody urine, change in the amount of urine), muscle spasms/weakness.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: swelling of the hands/feet/legs, unexplained weight gain, numbness or tingling of the hands or feet, muscle or joint pain, persistent weakness or fatigue, eye pain, irregular heartbeat, stomach/abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, diarrhea with blood or mucus, severe headache.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: chest pain, vision changes (such as blurred vision, decreased vision, seeing flashes of light).
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
See also Warning section.
Before using docetaxel, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to similar drugs (taxane-type drugs such as paclitaxel, cabazitaxel); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as polysorbate 80), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before receiving docetaxel, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver problems, lung problems (e.g., pulmonary effusions), heart problems (e.g., congestive heart failure), weak immune system (e.g., neutropenia), blood problems (e.g., anemia, thrombocytopenia), blood pressure problems.
This medication may make you dizzy or drowsy. It also contains alcohol, which can increase these symptoms and also make you feel drunk. Caution is advised if you have liver disease or any other condition that requires you to limit/avoid alcohol. Marijuana (cannabis) can also make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness for 1 to 2 hours after you receive this medication and until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine.
Use caution with sharp objects like razors or nail cutters and avoid activities such as contact sports to lower the chance of getting cut, bruised or injured.
Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially anemia, dizziness, diarrhea, infection, swelling, mouth sores, and weight loss.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while using docetaxel. Docetaxel may harm an unborn baby. Your doctor should order a pregnancy test before you start this medication. Women using this medication should use reliable forms of birth control during treatment and for 6 months after stopping treatment. Men using this medication should use reliable forms of birth control during treatment and for 3 months after stopping treatment. If you or your partner become pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication.
It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding is not recommended while using this drug and for 1 week after stopping treatment. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: medications that may have a bad reaction with alcohol (such as disulfiram, metronidazole, tinidazole).
Other medications can affect the removal of docetaxel from your body, which may affect how docetaxel works. Examples include azole antifungals (such as itraconazole), macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin), rifamycins (such as rifabutin), HIV drugs (such as ritonavir), St. John's wort, among others.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness such as other alcohol-containing medications or alcoholic beverages, marijuana (cannabis), opioid pain or cough relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, lorazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine).
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.
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