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Taxotere ruined my tear ducts

Posts: 29
Joined: Apr 2012

My chemo regimen was 4A/C treatments, and 12 taxotere treatments. I was told that my eyes would tear, but would go away after chemo was over....nope. I put up with it for a while because I was dealing with fluid around my lungs heart and infiltrations in my lungs.... After seeing 3 eye doctors locally I was referred to a specialist an hour away. The drug had ruined my tear ducts and I had to have "jones tubes" put in. They are prosthetic tear ducts. It helped about 50%. But my left eye tube gave me trouble from the start, I could see it, it would shift and hurt, the dr. Pushed it back down at a recheck appt, only to have it pop back up halfway through the same day!! Ow! He removed it last week, instant relief when it came out.....I was given some ointment to use 4x a day.....it started running like a faucet about ten minutes after I left the office. He is going to put in a smaller tube....uuuggghhh!! Did any one else go through this? Maybe if I had gone to the eye doctor when they started watering they could have irrigated the tear ducts and avoided this. The eye doctors I went to said they are seeing an increase of this problem. I have had to incur so many extra procedures from side effects of taxotere. It was supposed to be the milder drug compared to my first four treatments....not so. Besides the side effects the extra costs have been substantial and my delay back to work. I am a hairdresser so my eyes are defiantly needed!! I have only been able to work one day. I feel like the drug company should give a stronger warning about this side effect. I also think they should be the ones to pay all the costs I am paying because of it! Even with good insurance it's ridiculous!!

jessiesmom1's picture
Posts: 681
Joined: Jun 2010

I am SO glad that you posted on this subject. It could just about have been written by me. I also had 4 rounds of A/C and 12 rounds of Taxotere. The last one was in 8/2010. My eyes started watering like a faucet sometime during the Taxotere rounds. They were still watering 4 months after chemo was finished. I mentioned it to my oncologist and he said it would eventually stop. He said he never had a patient whose eyes never stopped tearing. Well, it has been 15 months and my eyes are STILL watering. I have seen my opthamologist who had no solutions and who referred me to a specialty opthamologist. My appointment is in 3 weeks. I hesitate to have surgical procedures on my eyes. Yours is not the 1st negative story I have heard about the placement of the tubes in the tear ducts. I will have to hear what the specialist has to say. This problem is the only area that disturbs me about the care I have received from my oncologist. Otherwise he is wonderful. I also wonder if earlier intervention of some sort could have prevented this damage. Nobody realizes how awful this problem is unless they have personally gone through it. My eyes are always pink-rimmed from all the wiping. I cannot wear eye makeup of any kind because it would just disappear from the constant wiping. Sometimes the tears run down my face and complete strangers will ask if I am OK. Usually I just say I have allergies. I do not believe the issue is with the drug company warnings. It is there. I think the issue is doctors who do not take notice of this side effect soon enough and refer their patients to specialty opthamologists before it is too late. It is nice to know I am not the only one whose eyes water like a faucet but I sure do wish it would just stop like my doctor said it would. :(

SIROD's picture
Posts: 2076
Joined: Jun 2010


I did not do Taxol or Taxotere though Taxol was suggested by my oncologist a month ago. Hormonal treatments are failing and I am now doing a last ditch effort with Faslodex (gone from 250 mg to 500 mg) since I took it back in 2008/2009. Worth a try and I had another reason to postpone. My oncologist doesn't believe Faslodex will work and it probably won't. I won't be using either of those drugs as I have been reading that many women seem to have tear duct problems with them.

I had a strep infection in the lacrimal sac in the tear duct in 2008 (reason I postponed the ct scan that found widespread pulmonary & pleural metastasis a few months later). I went to all the local eye doctors and the most they did was lance the infection. I had tried the hot compresses, so many antibiotics and and the infection area was lanced 3 times but nothing was working. They should have tried to run that tube down to see if anything was stuck, not one of them tried most likely due to rusty skills.

Finally, I saw my uveitis specialist who immediately sent me to the biggest city in my state (3 hours away from my home) and he found the tear duct blocked and then did a DCR. Mine was a successful and I have a fully operational tear duct. I had a stone blocking the duct (a stone as in the manner of a kidney stone) and no amount of antibiotics would clear it up nor would the lancing.

About 5 months later I had another infection of the other eye. I made my local eye doctor do that tube things to unclog whatever was in it. Her skills were not good but it did work.

A good eye specialist who does DCR are worth doing. I highly recommend doing a DCR, an easy, out patient procedure. I do know how awful it is to live with this condition but the solution really works. I was not put out for the surgery but given enough IV pain meds to keep me calm. There really wasn't much pain afterwards. I stayed in a nearby hotel and left the following morning. Three months later he pulled the plastic stent out and haven't had a problem with that tear duct in over 4 years.

However, after reading about so many women having a tear duct problem with Taxol and Taxotere, those are two chemos I won't use.

Best wishes,


SIROD's picture
Posts: 2076
Joined: Jun 2010

I am every so grateful to you ladies who have warned me away from Taxol and Taxotere which does often caused damage tear ducts. I had a DCR for a stone (like a kidney stone) in the lacrimal sac with a strep infection. My new tear duct works 100%.

My oncologist suggest Taxol as a possible chemotherapy when the Faslodex fails. I am now 100% certain that I won't risk my other eye with this drug line.

I am so sorry for your unsuccessful tear duct. Would it be possible to have a new one put in?

Best to you and thank you for the information,


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