Taxotere Epiphora Lawsuit Filed Over Excessively Watery Eyes

Lawsuit alleges Taxotere caused epiphora in both eyes, joining a growing number of claims being pursued by former users of the chemotherapy drug left with debilitating watery eyes

Sanofi-Aventis faces a new Taxotere lawsuits brought by a cancer patient who indicates that side effects of the chemotherapy drug left her with excessively watery eyes, known as epiphora.

Taxotere (docetaxel) is approved for treatment of individuals with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer, which competes with several treatment alternatives that are equally effective. However, a growing number of lawsuits over Taxotere have been filed in recent months, alleging that Sanofi failed to disclose known problems with the treatment, which may cause tear ducts to become blocked, leaving women with debilitating and chronic watery eyes.

The complaint (PDF) was brought by Shirley Webb in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on March 15, indicating that she underwent treatment with Taxotere from September until December of 2020. However, she now has been left with epiphora in both eyes.

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Epiphora is a condition which results in excess tears and watery eyes, often caused by a lacrimal obstruction. It can cause one to look like they are constantly crying or on the verge of tears. The condition is usually treated through medications or prescription eye drops. Other side effects can include eye pain, itchiness, red eyes, cloudy vision and sinus headaches.

Taxotere epiphora lawsuits began to be filed last year, following studies linking the breast cancer chemotherapy drug to excessive tearing in patients’ eyes, warning that the condition can become permanent in some cases.

One study released last year by researchers with the University of British Columbia found that Taxotere users faced a more than seven-fold increased risk of epiphora. They also found an increased risk of optic neuropathy, or optic nerve damage.

As a result of the growing number of Taxotere eye injury lawsuits being filed nationwide, the cases have been centralized and consolidated before U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo in the Eastern District of Louisiana as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

According to a March 16 report by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (PDF), There are now at least 168 Taxotere lawsuits over epiphora filed in federal courts nationwide.

As part of the Taxotere MDL process, Judge Milazzo will preside over discover and pretrial proceedings, and will likely schedule a separate series of bellwether trials to see how juries respond to evidence and testimony about the link between Taxotere and eye damage, which would likely be repeated in most cases. However, if Taxotere settlements for watery eyes and excessive tearing are not reached, or the litigation is not otherwise resolved, each individual case may later be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it originated for future trial dates.

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