Chemotherapy Side Effects and the Lawsuits That Follow

Injury Attorneys | Restoring LivesTM

October 31, 2016 | Drug Injuries |

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The most recent data from the American Cancer Society estimated over 1.6 million new cancer diagnoses in 2015 alone—with 35,620 new cases resting in Indiana. Sadly, about 1,620 people are expected to die across the country every day from cancer; however, treatment options do exist, and they’ve been successful in saving thousands of lives.

One of the more common treatment options for cancer is chemotherapy, but it’s a pretty broad term: What does chemotherapy entail? What are the types and purposes of different chemotherapy drugs?

What Is Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is the act of treating diseases—especially the treatment of cancer—by way of various chemical substances (i.e. drugs and medications).

Depending on the type of drug and the treatment options pursued, chemotherapy drugs can work to accomplish the following:

  • Cure cancer
  • Shrink cancerous tumors
  • Prevent the disease from spreading through the rest of the body
  • Relieve painful or disruptive symptoms

Types of Chemotherapy Drugs

Because of the large variety of chemotherapy drugs—as well the as types of cancers and locations within the body that it can grow—chemotherapy drugs can be administered in many different ways: orally, injected into the arteries, veins, under the skin, into the fluid around the spinal cord or brain, or into the muscles. For long-term treatment, surgically-implanted catheters may also be inserted into the body.

Treatment is designed individually for each patient based on the type of cancer, where it has spread, and the patient’s individual medical history. Chemotherapy drugs are grouped by how they work, their chemical structure, and how they relate with other drugs.

Common chemotherapy drugs and their processes are as follows. This list is by no means representative of all chemotherapy drugs. For a complete list, speak with a medical professional.

Alkylating Drugs for Chemotherapy

Alkylating drugs damage the cell’s DNA, which keeps it from reproducing. Examples of alkylating drugs include the following:

  • Carboplatin, a broad type of chemotherapy treatment used in combination with other medications to treat ovarian, head, and neck cancers
  • Temozolomide (brand name Temodar), used to treat brain cancer

Antimetabolites for Chemotherapy 

Antimetabolites interfere with DNA and RNA growth in cells by inserting themselves into the process to replace the normal “building blocks” of cell production. Some examples include the following:

  • Capecitabine (brand name Xeloda), used to treat breast and colorectal cancer as well as a range of other cancer types
  • Floxuridine, a type of chemotherapy used to treat different types of cancers, specifically kinds that spread from other parts of the body to the liver

Anti-Tumor Antibiotics for Chemotherapy 

Anti-tumor antibiotics prevent the cell cycle from moving forward by changing the DNA inside of the cancer cells. Some anti-tumor antibodies include the following:

  • Daunorubicin (brand names Cerubidine, DaunoXome), used to treat leukemia
  • Doxorubicin (brand names Doxil, Adriamycin), used to treat various types of cancer

Topoisomerase Inhibitors for Chemotherapy

Topoisomerase inhibitors keep the enzyme known as topoisomerase from working, preventing the separation of DNA strands used to copy cells. Examples include the following:

  • Topotecan (brand name Hycamtin), used to treat lung, cervical, and ovarian cancer
  • Teniposide (brand name Vumon), used to treat leukemia

Mitotic Inhibitors for Chemotherapy 

Mitotic Inhibitors prevent the manufacture of protein inside the cells, putting a stop to the reproduction process. Types of mitotic inhibitor medications may include the following:

  • Docetaxel (brand name Taxotere), used to treat breast, lung, prostate, stomach, head, and neck cancer
  • Estramustine (brand name Emcyt), used to treat prostate cancer

Chemotherapy Drug Taxotere Lawsuits

Side effects are expected with chemotherapy treatments: fatigue, hair loss, diarrhea, pain, and mouth and throat sores, to name a few. What cancer survivors don’t expect, however, is to suffer those side effects after treatment—especially permanently. Unfortunately, breast cancer survivors who had chemotherapy treatment with the drug Taxotere (Docetaxel) have suffered permanent hair loss or baldness far after they stopped treatment.

Many survivors have filed drug injury lawsuits against Taxotere’s manufacturer, Sanofi, for failure to warn patients and healthcare providers of its long term or permanent risks.

Contact a Drug Injury Attorney Today

After fighting a long and brutal battle with cancer, survivors shouldn’t have to suffer anymore—plain and simple.

If you or a loved one took Taxotere during breast cancer treatment and have suffered permanent hair loss, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Drug Injury Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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