Docetaxel - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Docetaxel: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Docetaxel?

Docetaxel is an antineoplastic medication used to treat various cancers such as locally advanced or metastatic prostate cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and head/neck cancer.

Docetaxel works by targeting cancer cells. The active ingredients in Docetaxel disrupt the microtubule growth of the cancer cells responsible for rapid cell division and progression of cancer, thereby preventing the spread of cancer cells.

What are the uses of Docetaxel?

  • Docetaxel, a chemotherapy medication, is prescribed primarily to treat various types of cancer, particularly in breast cancer treatment. 
  • Docetaxel the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its uses as a stand-alone or combination drug in treating advanced stomach cancer, non-small lung cancer, metastatic breast cancer, renal and gastric cancer.
  • Docetaxel and other chemotherapy medications are often used in patients who have not received treatment for their advanced metastatic cancer.
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What are the side effects of Docetaxel?

The active ingredients in Docetaxel contain strong cytotoxic agents. As with many chemotherapy medications, Docetaxel may also cause certain side effects. Some of the most common side effects of Docetaxel are listed below,

  • Increased risk of blood-related infections.
  • Swelling of joints or abdomen area.
  • Temporary hair loss.
  • Constipation or loss of appetite.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Allergic reactions such as skin rashes, dryness of skin, and irritation.
  • Fatigue and weakness.
  • Fluid retention in joints-edema.
  • Redness of eyes.


Frequently Asked Questions about Docetaxel

1. Does Docetaxel cause hair loss?

Like many other chemotherapy medications, Docetaxel may also cause hair loss and hair thinning. In most cases, the hair loss is temporary and is reversible upon the end of the treatment.

    Precautions such as wearing a scalp cooling cap during chemotherapy and limiting the drug's dose may reduce the risk of hair loss.

2. How Long Does Docetaxel Stay In Your System?

Several factors can influence the rate of metabolism of Docetaxel. Factors such as the drug dose, the presence of other drugs in the system, and the patient's overall health. In general, the chemotherapy drug- Docetaxel may take 2-3 days to leave the body altogether.

    Precautions such as staying hydrated during the chemotherapy may help flush off the excess drug dose out of the system.

3. Can Docetaxel cure Prostate cancer?

Chemotherapy medication, Docetaxel, alongside hormone therapy and radiotherapy, may help relieve signs and symptoms of prostate cancer and help improve the overall outcome.

Although chemotherapy medication, Docetaxel, is effective against many types of cancer. It is unlikely to cure prostate cancer.

4. How long does bone pain last with Docetaxel?

Bone pain associated with Docetaxel may last two to three days from the day of drug administration. In most cases, the pain wears off within a few days and does not require any medical attention. However, if the side effects are bothersome, over-the-counter medications such as painkillers are recommended.

5. Does Docetaxel cause low blood pressure?

The use of Docetaxel is often reported to cause less common side effects, such as changes in heart rate and blood pressure. The change in blood pressure after chemotherapy may tend to have severe expression. Early precautions are taken with patients experiencing altered blood pressure or heart rate changes while receiving chemotherapy mediation, and the treatment will be stopped immediately.

6. How many Paclitaxel cycles equals to one Docetaxel?

Paclitaxel is a class of drugs known for its uses in treating various types of cancer. The optimal number of cycles and doses are determined depending on the severity and stage of breast cancer. In general, Docetaxel is prescribed every 3-weeks. On the other hand, paclitaxel is recommended for sequential use, either weekly or every 2-weeks.

7. Is Docetaxel a strong chemo drug?

Yes, Docetaxel is considered a strong chemo drug. The active ingredients in Docetaxel are known to kill fast-growing cancer cells. However, as this drug travels throughout the body, it may affect normal, healthy cells that may cause many side effects.

8. How safe is Docetaxel?

Every medication has its uses and risks. Although Docetaxel is known to cause some side effects, the benefits of taking Docetaxel to control the progression of cancer outweigh its risks. Fortunately, the most common side effects caused by Docetaxel are temporary and go away without the need for medical attention.

9. Do Docetaxel shrink tumors?

Docetaxel does not shrink tumors; instead, it works by inhibiting the growth of tumor cells. This drug is commonly administered before and after surgery to treat large tumor cells. The use of Docetaxel before surgery aids in reducing the spread of cancer cells. Likewise, this drug aids in preventing the recurrence of cancer after surgery.

10. Is Cabazitaxel stronger than Docetaxel?

Cabazitaxel is a novel derivative of a natural taxoid. Cabazitaxel is a new therapeutic drug class used to treat cancer patients resistant to Docetaxel and other associated drug classes. Although the toxicity profile differs between the two, their mechanism of action and overall efficacy remain the same.

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