Docefrez Warnings and Precautions
To help minimize potentially dangerous complications, your healthcare provider will use certain blood tests to monitor your blood levels while receiving Docefrez. Warnings with this chemotherapy drug include safety precautions for people with liver disease, anemia, and congestive heart failure. In addition, there are potentially dangerous drug interactions that may occur and certain risks for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to receiving Docefrez™ (docetaxel) if you have:
- Liver disease, such as hepatitis
- Ever been told you have low levels of white blood cells
- An infection or get infections easily
- Swelling of the arms, hands, legs, ankles, feet, or other body areas (fluid retention)
- Congestive heart failure
- Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
You should also tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Precautions and Warnings With DocefrezSome warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to receiving this medication include the following:
- This medicine can decrease the bone marrow's ability to produce blood cells. Your healthcare provider will routinely monitor your blood cell counts, using a simple blood test, and temporarily stop treatment if your blood cell counts become too low. Low white blood cells can increase your risk for serious infections (see Chemotherapy and Infections).
Because fever is an early sign of an infection, your healthcare provider may instruct you to regularly take your temperature. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions, and seek medical attention right away if you develop a fever.
- You may also develop anemia due to low red blood cells or have an increased risk for dangerous internal bleeding due to low blood platelets (see Blood Clotting Problems and Chemotherapy) during treatment.
- Docefrez has been reported to cause death, mostly due to serious blood infections or other causes. The risk of death is higher in people who have liver disease, take higher doses, or have lung cancer and were treated with a type of chemotherapy known as platinum-based therapy.
- People with high levels of certain liver enzymes should generally not receive Docefrez. Your healthcare provider will check your liver enzymes with a simple blood test.
- Some people may experience allergic reactions during the Docefrez infusion, which can range from mild flushing (sudden redness and warmth of the face, neck, and chest) and skin redness to serious reactions, such as a severe rash, breathing problems, and low blood pressure. The infusion will be immediately stopped if serious reactions occur.
- This medication can cause significant fluid retention (edema), which usually starts as swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop signs of fluid retention, such as swelling, shortness of breath, or sudden weight gain. People who develop fluid retention may need to be treated with a diuretic (a "water pill").
- Docefrez can cause nerve problems, including numbness, tingling, burning, pricking, or pain in your hands or feet (see Nerve and Muscle Problems During Chemotherapy). Your healthcare provider may choose to reduce your dose or stop treatment if you experience severe nerve problems.
- You will need to take a corticosteroid medication by mouth, such as dexamethasone (Decadron®), before and sometimes after each Docefrez infusion. It is important that you follow the instructions for taking this corticosteroid, as it is used to prevent an allergic reaction and decrease the severity of fluid retention. Tell your healthcare provider if you did not take the corticosteroid as prescribed.
- Severe weakness and lack of strength have been reported in people receiving Docefrez for breast cancer. These side effects can last from a few days to several weeks after each Docefrez dose.
- You should know that acute myeloid leukemia (AML) may occur in people who took Docefrez with certain other medicines.
- Docefrez may react with a number of other medications (see Docefrez Drug Interactions).
- Docefrez is a pregnancy Category D medication, which means it can harm an unborn baby if used during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using this medication during pregnancy (see Docefrez and Pregnancy).
- It is not known whether Docefrez passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to receiving the drug (see Docefrez and Breastfeeding).