Precautions and Warnings With Docetaxel
It is important to understand the precautions and warnings with docetaxel before you start treatment with the medication. Some of these precautions and warnings include potential drug interactions, the safety of taking the drug when pregnant or breastfeeding, and the risk of developing complications (such as fluid retention or nerve problems).
Docetaxel: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking docetaxel (Docefrez™, Taxotere®) if you have:
- A history of low levels of white blood cells (known medically as neutropenia)
- Any infection
- Congestive heart failure (CHF)
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Precautions and Warnings With DocetaxelSome warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking docetaxel include the following:
- Docetaxel can decrease the bone marrow's ability to produce blood cells. This can result in anemia and other serious conditions. Because your immune system depends on certain blood cells, you may be more susceptible to infections while taking docetaxel (see Chemotherapy and Infections). You may also be at a higher risk for bleeding (see Blood Clotting Problems and Chemotherapy). You will need regular blood tests to make sure your blood counts are not too low.
- There is a small risk of death while taking docetaxel, mostly due to dangerous infections (caused by low levels of white blood cells).
- Everyone taking docetaxel should be "premedicated" with an oral steroid before (and usually after) each docetaxel dose, in order to prevent allergic reactions and to decrease the severity of fluid retention.
- Docetaxel often causes fluid retention. Fluid retention can be especially dangerous for people with congestive heart failure (CHF).
- There have been cases of cystoid macular edema (an eye problem) in people taking this medication. If you develop any vision changes, especially blurriness in the center of your vision, talk to your doctor right away.
- Docetaxel can cause nerve problems, including nerve pain, weakness, or unusual sensations of burning or tingling (see Nerve and Muscle Problems During Chemotherapy).
- Docetaxel can interact with other medications (see Drug Interactions With Docetaxel).
- Docetaxel is considered a pregnancy Category D medication. This means that it is probably not safe for use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using the drug during pregnancy (see Taxotere and Pregnancy).
- It is not known if docetaxel passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Taxotere and Breastfeeding).