Although hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy, permanent hair loss is not. However, as lawsuits against the makers of Taxotere are beginning to reveal, that is not always the situation.
The FDA approved Taxotere (docetaxel) in 1996 for treatment of breast cancer. Taxotere has since been used to treat several other types of cancers including non-small lung cancer, prostate cancer, gastric cancer, and head and neck cancer. While Taxotere is an effective cancer drug, lawsuits filed against the makers of Taxotere allege that the drug causes permanent hair loss.
Cancer patients who filed the lawsuit say that the makers of Taxotere failed to inform them or their doctors that a potential side effect of the drug could be permanent hair loss, also known as Taxotere alopecia. Although the Taxotere label has always mentioned hair loss as a possible side effect, there was no mention that the hair loss could be permanent.