The most common side effect from Taxotere or Jevtana is fatigue. If tiredness from Taxotere becomes excessive, changing the schedule of infusions to weekly may be less toxic. Also, the tiredness may be reduced by switching from Taxotere to Jevtana. Other side effects and methods to counteract them are briefly summarized here:
Low Blood Counts
If the white blood count (WBC) drops below 500, the risk of blood infections sharply increases. Neulasta and Leukine increase the WBC. When a low red count occurs, called anemia, Aranesp or Procrit can build it back up. If these are ineffective, a transfusion may be necessary. Men with low platelet counts should stop aspirin and other anticoagulants. Bleeding should be treated with a platelet transfusion.
When is comes to fatigue, exercise can make a significant difference. Prednisone, Provigil, Nuvigil, caffeine, and ginseng may also improve energy levels. If fatigue is severe, the chemo dosage may need to be reduced or the time between infusions extended.
Other Side Effects
Hair loss is reversible. Nausea is uncommon due to the modern anti-nausea medicines. Taxotere affects the taste buds, so keeping ice chips in the mouth during the infusion is advisable to reduce blood flow to the mouth. “Icing” of the fingertips during the infusion prevents fingernail weakening. Narrowing of the tear ducts can occur. Excess tearing may require an ophthalmology consultation to unblock the tear ducts. Another side effect of chemotherapy is neuropathy. Usually, it slowly reverses after the Taxotere is stopped.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard Lam, MD is a board-certified internist and oncologist, and has been specializeding full time in the treatment of prostate cancer since 2001. He is director of clinical research at Prostate Oncology Specialists, Inc. Dr. Lam has written numerous articles based on his research. Dr. Lam received his undergraduate degree in biology, magna cum laude, at UCLA. He then went on to earn his medical degree at UCLA School of Medicine before completing his residency training in the specialty of internal medicine at UCLA Center of Health Sciences. He completed his oncology and hematology fellowship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.