Taxotere Found To Have More Side Effects, Lower Survival Rate Than Tecentriq: Study

The findings of a new study raise further concerns about the effectiveness and side effects of Taxotere, indicating that the controversial cancer drug not only causes more problems, but also has a lower survival rate than the competing treatment Tecentria. 

Taxotere (docetaxel) is a high potency taxane-based cancer drug approved for treatment of breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and other forms of cancer. It was introduced by Sanofi-Aventis in 1996 as an alternative to existing low-potency taxanes, such as Taxol.

Tecentriq (atezolizumab) is a new-generation treatment introduced by Roche Group’s Genentech subsidiary, which was approved in October 2016 for treatment of certain individuals with metastic non-small lung cancer.

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Side effects of Taxotere may cause sudden eye problems or result in permanent hair loss. Lawsuits reviewed nationwide.

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In a study published this week in the medical journal The Lancet, which was funded by the makers Tecentria, researchers from the U.S. and European Union indicate that Taxotere was associated with more frequent and severe side effects when used for treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, and that individuals treated with Tecentria appeared to have a higher chance of overall survival.

The findings come as Sanofi-Aventis faces a growing number of Taxotere lawsuits filed by women nationwide who indicate they have been left with permanent alopecia following chemotherapy for treatment of breast cancer. Those lawsuits allege that the drug maker failed to adequately warn about the risk of hair loss with Taxotere, indicating that the drug is no more effective than the alternative breast cancer drugs, which are not associated with the same problems.

In this latest study, which was a multicenter, randomized controlled clinical trial, further questions about the risks and benefits of Taxotere in comparison to a competing drug were raised.

Researchers indicate that individuals classified as being in the intention-to-treat (ITT) population had a median overall survival of 13.8 months when they received Tecentriq for treatment of lung cancer, as compared to 9.6 months among individuals treated with Taxotere. In addition, only 15% of patients given Tecentriq had treatment-related grade 3 or 4 adverse events, compared to 43% of Taxotere patients who experienced side effects.

While the study does not outline the types of problems experienced with Taxotere, one of the big arguments raised in recent lawsuits filed by women who received the drug for breast cancer is that alternative treatment options were available for the condition which have been found to be equally as effective.

Plaintiffs allege that Sanofi-Aventis made false and misleading statements that encouraged doctors to use Taxotere over Taxol for breast cancer. In addition, while Taxotere warnings in several other countries were previously updated to include information about the risk of permanent baldness, that same information was not provided to American women and doctors, according to a growing number of Taxotere cases filed throughout the country.

Given the similar questions of fact and law raised in the lawsuits, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated all Taxotere hair loss cases filed throughout the federal court system in October 2016, centralizing the litigation in the Eastern District of Louisiana for pretrial proceedings for coordinated discovery and a series of early “bellwether” trials designed to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout a large number of cases.

As of January 17, there were at least 700 complaints pending in the multidistrict litigation (MDL). However, as Taxotere hair loss lawyers continue to review and file cases for women who have experienced continuing problems following breast cancer treatments, it is ultimately expected that several thousand complaints will be presented against the drug maker.

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