Paclitaxel

Generic Name: Paclitaxel

  • What is Paclitaxel?

    Paclitaxel is a medicine used to treat ovarian cancer or breast cancer in combination with other medications. It is also used to treat advanced breast cancer after failure of other anticancer combination therapy, including doxorubicin, for disease that has spread or relapsed within 6 months of therapy. In addition, paclitaxel is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer in people who are not candidates for surgery or radiation therapy, or AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma. Paclitaxel is administered intravenously (through a vein in your arm).

  • What is the most important information I should know about Paclitaxel?

    Paclitaxel can cause a decrease in neutrophil (a type of cell that fights infections) counts in your blood. This may increase your risk of developing an infection. Paclitaxel can also cause low platelet (type of blood cells that form clots to help stop bleeding) counts or low red blood cell counts. Your doctor will monitor your blood cell counts before you start paclitaxel and regularly during your treatment.

    Serious allergic reactions can occur while you are receiving paclitaxel. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience trouble breathing, rash, or sudden swelling of your face, lips, tongue, throat, or trouble swallowing.

    Paclitaxel can cause heart or blood vessel problems, including heartbeat abnormalities, low or high blood pressure, or slowed heartbeat. Your doctor will monitor your heart function while you are receiving this medication.

    If you have liver impairment, exposure and toxicity of paclitaxel can increase, especially lowering of blood cell counts. Tell your doctor if you have liver problems.

    Paclitaxel can cause harm to your unborn baby if you receive it during pregnancy. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

    Paclitaxel can cause peripheral neuropathy, which is a nerve disorder. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience numbness or tingling of your hands or feet, pain, or unusual weakness.

    Injection-site reactions can develop due to the injection of paclitaxel. Tell your doctor if you experience redness, tenderness, skin discoloration, or swelling at the site of injection.

  • Who should not take Paclitaxel?

    Your doctor will not administer paclitaxel to you if you are allergic to it, any of its ingredients, or other medicines that contain polyoxyl 35 castor oil, NF (such as cyclosporine injection or teniposide injection). Also, your doctor will not administer paclitaxel to you if you have a low neutrophil count.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Paclitaxel?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with paclitaxel. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have liver or heart problems, or are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Adults: Your doctor will administer the appropriate dose for you based on your condition, weight, and height.

    If you have liver impairment or experience severely low neutrophil counts or severe peripheral neuropathy, your doctor will adjust your dose appropriately.

  • How should I take Paclitaxel?

    Your doctor will administer paclitaxel to you.

    Your doctor will tell you how often you should receive paclitaxel.

  • What should I avoid while taking Paclitaxel?

    Do not miss your scheduled appointment to receive paclitaxel.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Paclitaxel?

    If paclitaxel is used with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following prior to treatment with paclitaxel: buspirone, carbamazepine, certain antibiotics (such as clarithromycin or telithromycin), certain antifungals (such as itraconazole or ketoconazole), cholesterol medications known as statins (such as lovastatin or simvastatin), cisplatin, doxorubicin, eletriptan, felodipine, gemfibrozil, HIV infection (AIDS) medications (such as atazanavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, or saquinavir), midazolam, nefazodone, repaglinide, rifampin, rosiglitazone, sildenafil, or triazolam.

  • What are the possible side effects of Paclitaxel?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: abdominal pain; allergic reactions; bleeding events; burning in your hands or feet; decreased blood cell counts; diarrhea; hair loss; infections; irritation at the injection site; joint or muscle pain; lip or mouth sores; low blood pressure; nausea; numbness or tingling in your hands or feet; rash; swelling of your face, hands, or feet; tiredness; vomiting; weakness

  • Can I receive Paclitaxel if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Paclitaxel can cause harm to your unborn baby if you receive it during pregnancy. The effects of paclitaxel while breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Paclitaxel?

    Contact your doctor if you miss your scheduled appointment to receive paclitaxel.

  • How should I store Paclitaxel?

    Your doctor will store this medication for you.