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By Medicover Hospitals / 22 Feb 2021
Home | Medicine | Docetaxel

What is Docetaxel?

  • Docetaxel injection is used to treat some types of breast, lung, prostate, stomach, and head and neck cancers, alone or in conjunction with other drugs. The injection of docetaxel belongs to a family of drugs called taxanes. It works by preventing cancer cells from developing and spreading.
    1. Docetaxel Uses
    2. Docetaxel Side effects
    3. Precautions
    4. Docetaxel Overdose
    5. Docetaxel Storage
    6. Docetaxel Vs Paclitaxel
    7. Frequently Asked Questions
    8. Citations

    Docetaxel Uses:

  • Cancer (such as breast, lung, prostate, stomach, and head/neck cancer) is treated with this drug. Docetaxel belongs to a class of drugs known as taxanes. By slowing cell development, this drug works.
  • How to use

  • Read your pharmacist's available Patient Information Leaflet. If you have any concerns, consult your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
  • This drug is delivered by a health care provider by injection into a vein, normally over 1 hour every 3 weeks or as instructed by your doctor. The dosage and duration of your medication is dependent on your medical condition, body size, and treatment response.
  • To avoid side effects such as swelling (fluid retention/edema) and allergic reactions, your doctor can prescribe pre-medicines (e.g., corticosteroids such as dexamethasone). In general, they begin 1 day before treatment and continue for a total of 3 days. Follow the orders of your doctor closely to prepare for your operation. If you forget or do not take the pre-medication on time.
  • Docetaxel Side effects:

    • Changes in smell and taste
    • Feeling shortness in breath
    • Constipation
    • Decreased appetite
    • Changes in your fingernails or toenails
    • Swelling of your hands, face, or feet
    • Feeling weak or tired
    • Joint pain
    • Muscle pain
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Mouth sores
    • Lips sores
    • Hair loss
    • Rash
    • Redness of the eye
    • Excess tearing
    • Skin reactions
    • Skin pigmentation
    • Redness
    • Tenderness
    • Swelling
    • Warmth
    • Hair loss
    • Dizziness
    • Drowsiness
    • Weakness
    • Feeling tired very soon
    • Lightheadedness
    • Dryness of the skin
    • Tissue damage


    • Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to docetaxel or to similar medications (taxan-type medicines, such as paclitaxel, cabazitaxel) or if you have any other allergies before using docetaxel. Inactive ingredients (such as polysorbate 80) that can cause allergic reactions or other problems may be present in this product. For more details, talk to your pharmacist.
    • Tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history before taking docetaxel, including: liver problems, lung problems (e.g., pulmonary effusion), heart problems (e.g., congestive heart failure), weak immune systems (e.g., neutropenia), blood problems (e.g., anemia, thrombocytopenia), problems with blood pressure.
    • You may get dizzy or drowsy with this medication. It also has alcohol, which can boost these symptoms and make you feel drunk as well. If you have liver disease or any other condition that requires you to reduce/avoid alcohol, caution is advised. You can also become more dizzy or drowsy with marijuana (cannabis).
    • For 1 to 2 hours after you receive this medication and until you can do it safely, do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that requires alertness. To limit alcoholic drinks. If you use marijuana, speak to your doctor.
    • Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without your doctor's consent and avoid contact with people who have recently been vaccinated against oral polio.
    • To reduce the chance of being cut, bruised or injured, use caution with sharp objects such as razors or nail cutters and avoid activities such as contact sports.To prevent the spread of infections, wash your hands well.
    • Older adults are at risk of getting anemia, dizziness, diarrhea, infection, swelling, mouth sores, and weight loss, may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug.
    • If you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant, tell your doctor. While using docetaxel, you should not become pregnant. An unborn baby may be harmed by docetaxel. Before you begin this medication, your doctor should order a pregnancy test.
    • Reliable forms of birth control should be used by women using this medication during treatment and for 6 months after treatment is stopped. During treatment and for 3 months after stopping treatment, men using this medication should use reliable forms of birth control. Speak to your doctor right away about the dangers and benefits of this drug if you or your wife is pregnant.
    • Whether this drug passes into breast milk is unknown. Because of the possible risk to the infant, it is not recommended to breast-feed while taking this medicine and for 1 week after treatment has stopped. Before breast-feeding, consult the doctor.


    • Drug interactions can affect the functioning of your medicines or increase the risk of more serious effects. Maintain a list and share it with your doctor and pharmacist of all the medications you use (including prescription/nonprescription medicines and nutritional supplements). Do not start, stop, or adjust the dosage of any drug without being treated by your doctor.
    • Any drugs that may interfere with this medication include: drugs that may have a bad alcohol reaction (such as disulfiram, metronidazole, tinidazole).
    • Other drugs can have an effect on the body's removal of docetaxel, which can influence how docetaxel works. Examples include azole antifungals, macrolide antibiotics (such as itraconazole) (such as erythromycin)
    • Tell your doctor or pharmacist whether you are taking any drugs that induce drowsiness, such as other alcohol-containing medications or alcoholic drinks, marijuana (cannabis), opioid or cough-relieving medications (such as codeine, hydrocodone), sleep or anxiety medications (such as alprazolam, lorazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or antihistamines (such as etizolam, zolpidem),
    • Check all of your drugs for labels (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they can contain drowsiness-causing ingredients. Ask your pharmacist about safely using those products.


  • Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as kidney/liver function, complete blood count, blood mineral levels, hearing tests) should be performed while you are using this medicine. Keep all medical and laboratory appointments in records.
  • Missed Dose:

  • It is important to take each dose of this medicine as scheduled. If you miss a dose, ask your doctor or pharmacist for a new dosing schedule immediately.
  • Overdose:

  • Never take more doses than what is preferred. If someone has taken overdoses, immediately take them to the medical emergency.
  • Storage:

  • Not applicable. In a clinic, this drug is given and will not be kept at home.
  • Docetaxel Vs Paclitaxel:

    Molecular Formula: C43H53NO14 Formula: C47H51NO14
    Brand name Taxotere Brand name Taxol
    Docetaxel is a chemotherapy medication Paclitaxel is a chemotherapy medication
    Used to treat a number of types of cancer. Used to treat types of cancer such as ovarian cancer, esophageal cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, Kaposi sarcoma, cervical cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    Because docetaxel, the active ingredient, is a potent chemotherapy drug, it has a long list of side effects as well. Most of them are typical of this class of drugs, such as nausea, vomiting and temporary alopecia (hair loss).
    Infections, neutropenia, anemia, febrile neutropenia, hypersensitivity, thrombocytopenia, neuropathy, dysgeusia, constipation, anorexia, nail disorders, fluid retention, asthenia, pain, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, mucositis, alopecia, are the most common adverse reactions across all TAXOTERE indications.
    To kill tumor cells and shrink tumors, radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays. Chemotherapy drugs, such as docetaxel, work in various ways to stop tumor cell growth, either by killing the cells, stopping them from splitting, or stopping them from spreading.
    Commonly reported side effects of docetaxel include: severe neutropenia, infection, severe leukopenia, severe thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, edema, hypersensitivity, peripheral oedema, rash of the skin, alopecia, anemia, arthralgia, asthenia, sensation of burning, diarrhea, dysesthesia, fever, alanine elevation of the serum.
    Cooling your scalp might stop you from losing some, or all, of the hair on your head. Any hair loss should be temporary, and in most cases, a few weeks after your treatment has ended, your hair will begin to grow back. There is some evidence that treatment with docetaxel can result in hair loss that is prolonged or permanent.
    Typically, you have a course of several treatment cycles over a few months. Each docetaxel cycle generally takes 21 days to complete (3 weeks). On the first day of each cycle, you've got the drug. Your nurse or doctor will discuss with you your plan for treatment.
    The chemotherapy itself will remain in the body within 2 -3 days of treatment, but patients may experience short-term and long-term side effects. All side effects will not be experienced by all patients, but many will experience at least a few.
    It has been shown that docetaxel and cabazitaxel allow men to live longer, on average, than older chemo medications. They can slow the growth of the cancer and decrease symptoms as well, resulting in a better quality of life.
    However, because docetaxel caused transient abnormalities of BNP serum concentration, E:A ratio, and deceleration time even in patients with normal cardiac function, in patients with left ventricular dysfunction, this agent is likely to cause heart failure.
    Docetaxel is currently licensed and sold under the brand name Taxotere, for the treatment of head and neck cancer, gastric cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.


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