Docetaxel Sanofi® (Docetaxel)
Information in this fact sheet is meant to assist you in making decisions about your treatment. Always make medication decisions in consultation with your healthcare team.
What is Docetaxel used for?
Docetaxel Sanofi® is used to treat breast cancer, ovarian cancer, some types of lung cancer, head and neck cancer and prostate cancer.
Docetaxel Sanofi® works by stopping cells from growing and multiplying.
Docetaxel Sanofi® belongs to a group of medicines called antineoplastic or cytotoxic medicines. They are also called chemotherapy medicines.
Your doctor, however, may prescribe Docetaxel Sanofi® for another purpose. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why Docetaxel Sanofi has been prescribed for you.
You may have taken another medicine to treat your prostate cancer.
However, your doctor has now decided to treat you with Docetaxel Sanofi®. Docetaxel Sanofi® may be used alone or in combination with other medicines to treat cancer.
This medicine is only available with a doctor’s prescription. Docetaxel Sanofi® is not addictive. Docataxel Sanofi® is available only with a doctor's prescription. Docataxel Sanofi® can only be given by a doctor or a nurse.
What does Docetaxel look like?
Docetaxel Sanofi® is a yellow liquid that forms a clear solution when diluted for infusion. The Docetaxel Sanofi® concentrate vial is injected into an infusion bag/glass bottle. The infusion bag/glass bottle is then sent to the Chemotherapy Unit ready for your infusion (injection via drip into the vein).
How is Docetaxel given?
Docetaxel Sanofi® should only be administered by trained professionals, with appropriate handling, in a hospital or clinic environment.
Docetaxel Sanofi® is for single use in one patient only. Any unused residue should be discarded.
Docetaxel Sanofi® is given as an infusion (drip) into your veins, over one hour.
Docetaxel Sanofi® is given every three weeks. This is called one cycle of chemotherapy. Your doctor will decide how many of these cycles you will need.
What are the common side effects?
All medicines have some unwanted side effects. Sometimes they are serious but most of the time they are not. Your doctor has weighed the risks of using this medicine against the benefits they expect it will have for you.
Do not be alarmed by the following list of possible side effects. You may not experience any of them.
Tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are being given Docetaxel Sanofi®.
It helps most people with prostate cancer but it may have unwanted side effects in a few people.
Tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you notice any of the following and they worry you:
- irritation, pain, swelling or colouring around the needle during infusion
- high temperature
- stomach pain or discomfort
- feeling sick, upset stomach or vomiting
- mild diarrhoea
- inflammation of the food pipe (oesophagus)
- whitening or darkening of the skin or nails
- loosening of the nails
- unusual hair loss or thinning
- joint pain or swelling
- aching muscles, muscle tenderness or weakness not caused by exercise
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- mild swelling of hands, ankles and feet
- weight gain
- pins and needles or a burning or tingling feeling in hands or feet
- redness or rash around previous radiation site (if you have had radiotherapy)
- back pain
- decreased appetite
- high blood pressure (hypertension)
- low blood pressure (hypotension)
- temporary visual disturbances or feeling that you are about to faint, which mostly occurs when you are being infused with Docetaxel Sanofi®.
These are the more common side effects of Docetaxel Sanofi®.
What are the less common side effects?
Tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist as soon as possible if you notice any of the following:
- frequent infections with fever, severe chills, sore throat or mouth ulcers – especially five to seven days after receiving a Docetaxel Sanofi® infusion
- sore red mouth or vagina or swelling in these areas
- severe diarrhoea
- tiredness, headaches, being short of breath when exercising, dizziness and looking pale
- breathing problems, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
- coughing, wheezing
- change in the rhythm or rate of your heart beats (palpitations)
- pain in muscles
- flushed, dry skin
- irritability and confusion
- passing little or no urine
- drowsiness, nausea
- yellowing of the skin or eyes, also called jaundice
- flaking of the skin
- red, scaly patches of the skin, especially around the cheeks and nose
- raised lumps on the skin which looks like scalding
- hardening of the skin
- chest pain/heart attack
- excessive watery discharge from the eyes
- trouble with your hearing, or some loss of hearing
- sudden and severe
- swelling or pain in the joints or rash.
These may be serious side effects that require medical attention.
If any of the following happen, tell your doctor or nurse immediately, call an ambulance or go to an Emergency Department at your nearest hospital:
- sudden signs of allergy such as a rash, itching, hives on the skin
- swelling of the face, tongue or other parts of the body, shortness of breath, wheezing or trouble breathing
- convulsions, fits or seizures
- ulcer in the stomach or intestine – vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
- bleeding from the back passage
- black sticky bowel motions or bloody diarrhoea
- difficulty in breathing
- sudden swelling of the leg/arm which may be due to blood clots.
These are very serious side effects. You may need urgent medical attention or hospitalisation.
These side effects may differ when using Docetaxel Sanofi® in combination with another chemotherapy agent.
Please consult your doctor for possible side effects that may be caused by using Docetaxel Sanofi® with another chemotherapy agent.
Tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you notice anything that is making you feel unwell.
Other side effects not listed above may occur in some patients.
Do not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects. You may not experience any of them.
Ask your doctor to answer any questions you may have. The benefits and side effects of Docetaxel Sanofi® may take some time to occur. Therefore, even after you have finished your Docetaxel Sanofi® treatment, you should tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist immediately if you notice any of the side effects listed in this section.
eviQ 2013, Prostate Metastatic DOCEtaxel Three Weekly and Prednisolone – Full view, Cancer Institute of NSW, 2nd April 2013, viewed 1st July 2013.
Macmillan 2011, Docetaxel (Taxotere®), Macmillan Cancer Support 1st Dec 2011, viewed 2nd July 2013.
TGA Consumer Medical Information (CMI), Oct 2012, Docetaxel, Therapeutic Goods Administration 23 Oct 2012, Canberra, viewed 2nd July 2013.
Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia develops materials based on best available evidence and takes advice from recognised experts in the field in developing such resource; however it cannot guarantee and assumes no legal responsibility for the currency or completeness of the information.