What is this medication?
DOCETAXEL (doe se TAX el) treats some types of cancer. It works by slowing down the growth of cancer cells.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Docefrez, Taxotere
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Low white blood cell levels
- Tingling of the fingers or toes or other nerve disorder
- An unusual or allergic reaction to docetaxel, polysorbate 80, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
This medication is injected into a vein. It is given by your care team in a hospital or clinic setting.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. Special care may be needed.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
Keep appointments for follow-up doses. It is important not to miss your dose. Call your care team if you are unable to keep an appointment.
What may interact with this medication?
Do not take this medication with any of the following:
- Live virus vaccines
This medication may also interact with the following:
- Certain antibiotics, such as clarithromycin, telithromycin
- Certain antivirals for HIV or hepatitis
- Certain medications for fungal infections, such as itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole
- Grapefruit juice
- Supplements, such as St. John's wort
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
This medication may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your care team tells you to stop.
You may need blood work done while you are taking this medication.
This medication can cause serious side effects and infusion reactions. To reduce the risk, your care team may give you other medications to take before receiving this one. Be sure to follow the directions from your care team.
This medication may increase your risk of getting an infection. Call your care team for advice if you get a fever, chills, sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.
Avoid taking medications that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your care team. These medications may hide a fever.
Be careful brushing or flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medication.
Some products may contain alcohol. Ask your care team if this medication contains alcohol. Be sure to tell all care teams you are taking this medicine. Certain medications, like metronidazole and disulfiram, can cause an unpleasant reaction when taken with alcohol. The reaction includes flushing, headache, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and increased thirst. The reaction can last from 30 minutes to several hours.
This medication may affect your coordination, reaction time, or judgement. Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you. Sit up or stand slowly to reduce the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Drinking alcohol with this medication can increase the risk of these side effects.
Talk to your care team about your risk of cancer. You may be more at risk for certain types of cancer if you take this medication.
Talk to your care team if you wish to become pregnant or think you might be pregnant. This medication can cause serious birth defects if taken during pregnancy or if you get pregnant within 2 months after stopping therapy. A negative pregnancy test is required before starting this medication. A reliable form of contraception is recommended while taking this medication and for 2 months after stopping it. Talk to your care team about reliable forms of contraception.
Do not breast-feed while taking this medication and for 1 week after stopping therapy.
Use a condom during sex and for 4 months after stopping therapy. Tell your care team right away if you think your partner might be pregnant. This medication can cause serious birth defects.
This medication may cause infertility. Talk to your care team if you are concerned about your fertility.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:
- Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Change in vision such as blurry vision, seeing halos around lights, vision loss
- Infection—fever, chills, cough, or sore throat
- Infusion reactions—chest pain, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, feeling faint or lightheaded
- Low red blood cell level—unusual weakness or fatigue, dizziness, headache, trouble breathing
- Pain, tingling, or numbness in the hands or feet
- Painful swelling, warmth, or redness of the skin, blisters or sores at the infusion site
- Redness, blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
- Sudden or severe stomach pain, bloody diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting
- Swelling of the ankles, hands, or feet
- Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS)—nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, decrease in the amount of urine, dark urine, unusual weakness or fatigue, confusion, muscle pain or cramps, fast or irregular heartbeat, joint pain
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):
- Change in nail shape, thickness, or color
- Change in taste
- Hair loss
- Increased tears
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medication?
This medication is given in a hospital or clinic. It will not be stored at home.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
Additional Information From Chemocare.com About Docetaxel
- You may be at risk of infection so try to avoid crowds or people with colds or not feeling well, and report fever or any other signs of infection immediately to your health care provider.
- Wash your hands often.
- To help treat/prevent mouth sores, use a soft toothbrush, and rinse three times a day with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of baking soda and/or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt mixed with 8 ounces of water.
- Use an electric razor and a soft toothbrush to minimize bleeding.
- Avoid contact sports or activities that could cause injury.
- To reduce nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat small, frequent meals.
- Avoid sun exposure. Wear SPF 15 (or higher) sunblock and protective clothing. Drink at least two to three quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you are instructed otherwise.
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided completely. You should discuss this with your doctor.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Maintain good nutrition.
- If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health care team. They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that are effective in managing such problems.
When to contact your doctor or health care provider:
Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following symptoms:
- Fever of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher, chills (possible signs of infection)
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency. Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:
- Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication).
- Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24 hour period).
- Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period).
- Unusual bleeding or bruising.
- Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools or urine.
- Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities).
- Mouth sores (painful redness, swelling or ulcers).
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes.
- Swelling of the ankles. Weight gain. Swelling of the stomach.
- Shortness of breath.
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.