Taxol Safety

Taxol® (paclitaxel) is a medication used to treat breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and certain other types of cancer. Although most people are able to use it successfully, it's a good idea to understand the safety concerns with Taxol before undergoing chemotherapy with this drug.
For example, side effects are common during treatment with Taxol. In fact, most of the people in clinical studies experienced side effects such as:
  • Neutropenia (low levels of white blood cells called neutrophils)
  • Anemia
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle pain or joint pain
  • Nausea and vomiting.
Taxol has the potential to cause serious -- and sometimes life-threatening -- allergic reactions. You will need to take medications before each dose in order to prevent allergic reactions. These medications include dexamethasone (Decadron®), diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), and cimetidine (Tagamet®) or other similar medications. This "premedication" can also help prevent fluid retention.
(For more safety information, click Taxol Side Effects and Taxol Warnings and Precautions. These articles go into more detail about issues to be aware of before starting treatment. They also explain why Taxol may not be the best choice in certain situations.)
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