Taxol Side Effects
Hair loss, anemia, and neutropenia are among the most common side effects reported by people using Taxol. Problems that are less common (but potentially more serious) include bloody stool, severe mouth sores, and severe vomiting or diarrhea. If you develop any serious side effects of Taxol, or if something just does not seem right while taking the drug, tell your healthcare provider right away.
As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Taxol® (paclitaxel); however, not everyone who takes the medication will experience problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Taxol. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of Taxol side effects with you.)
Taxol has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials, in which a group of people taking the drug have side effects documented. This way, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they occur, and how they compare to people not taking this drug.
In these studies, the most common Taxol side effects (used alone or in combination with other chemotherapy medications) included:
- Neutropenia (low levels of white blood cells called neutrophils) -- in up to 100 percent of people
- Anemia -- up to 97 percent (see Chemotherapy and Anemia)
- Hair loss -- up to 96 percent (see Taxol and Hair Loss)
- Muscle pain or joint pain -- up to 93 percent (Nerve and Muscle Problems During Chemotherapy)
- Nausea and vomiting -- up to 93 percent (see Chemotherapy and Nausea)
- Leukopenia (low levels of white blood cells called leukocytes) -- up to 90 percent
- Diarrhea -- up to 90 percent (Chemotherapy-Induced Diarrhea).
Other common side effects, occurring in 3 to 80 percent of people, included:
- Unusual sensations, such as burning or tingling
- Low platelets in the blood (see Blood Clotting Problems and Chemotherapy)
- Mouth sores or sores in the digestive tract (see Mouth and Gum Problems During Chemotherapy)
- Changes in the heart rhythm seen with an electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- Slow heart rate (bradycardia).