Taxol Side Effects

gdpawel Member Posts: 523 Member
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Taxol is given into a vein, but in order for the body to absorb the drug, it must first be dissolved in a solution. Taxol's history began fourty-three years ago. It was found to be virtually insoluble in water. It had the solubility of a brick. The compound wouldn't dissolve very much in any solution. Without a way to get it into a cancer patient, what good was it? It was discovered that something Taxol would dissove in the "might" work in a reasonably "safe" intravenous solution in humans. It was an elixir made of castor oil and marketed as Cremophor EL. It was the "only" answer (until synthetic compounds were introduced like Taxotere). However, this castor-oil carrier is suspected as the culprit behind the misery which includes nausea, vomiting, joint pain, appetite loss, brittle hair and tingling sensations in hands and feet (neuropathy).

The American Cancer Society, in its press release about a new breast cancer drug approved, mention that the solution can cause dangerous allergic reactions in many people, so patients "must" first take other drugs like steroids and antihistamines in "hopes" to prevent a bad reaction. The solution can also leach chemicals from regular plastic tubes used to deliver medication, so Taxol must be given through special tubing.

The new drug for breast cancer (Abraxane) is a new form of Taxol (Paclitaxel), which is also a widely used breast cancer drug. Taxol side effects can happen in any cancer. Abraxane does not need to be dissolved in the castor oil solution and does not require special equipment to be given to patients. However, more of the women on Abraxane had numbness and tingling in their hands and feet. And more suffered nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, muscle and joint pain and anemia.

Some taxane-induced side effects are so common, and in some instances so severe, that patients and their physicians may delay treatment, reduce the dose or discontinue therapy altogether. While medications designed to prevent or treat nausea, vomiting and decreased white blood cell counts are available, there are currently no treatments for other serious taxane-induced side effects, particularly nerve damage.

Now, Bionumerik, in boosting its new drug Tavocept, that is aimed at preventing or reducing common and serious side effects, particularly nerve and kidney damage, associated with taxane (Taxol) and platinum (Carboplatin) drugs, talks about in their literature that chemotherapy-induced toxicities are common and serious clinical problems that adversely impact both the quality of life of cancer patients and the ability of patients to continue treatment for their cancer. Very little has been accomplished to prevent or reduce chemotherapy-induced toxicities such as nerve damage (neurotoxicity), kidney damage (nephrotoxicity) and hearing impairment (ototoxicity). But now they have another new product.

Docetaxel is another widely used taxane drug (sold under the name Taxotere) that is used in the treatment of cancers of the lung, breast, ovary and other common cancers. Despite the broad antitumor activity of taxanes, their clinical usefulness has been limited by common side effects such as painful nerve damage (neurotoxicity), reduction of white blood cell counts, liver damage, allergic reactions, nausea and vomiting, and other toxicities. For example, it is estimated that over 50% of patients receiving paclitaxel experience some form of drug-induced nerve damage.