The common chemotherapy drug Taxotere is under scrutiny as an increasing number of patients allege that the drug caused permanent eye damage. The patients claim that the product manufacturer, Sanofi, knew of the potential risks but failed to warn them or their doctors in order to protect sales profits from the drug.
Taxotere, also known as docetaxel, is most commonly used to treat patients with breast cancer. The drug is among many effective chemotherapy agents for breast cancer. However, there is increasing evidence that, unlike other anti-cancer drugs, Taxotore can cause permanent damage to the lacrimal system of the eye leading to permanent eye and vision damage.
The lacrimal system is responsible for tear production and drainage, which are vital for healthy eyes and vision. Taxotere is secreted into the tear film during chemotherapy, which can lead to fibrosis and scarring. This scarring, which narrows the system — also known as stenosis — can lead to permanent occlusion, as tears are unable to drain naturally. Because eyes constantly produce tears, this can lead to persistent and uncontrolled tearing of the eyes.
There is no real dispute that Sanofi was aware of the impact on the lacrimal system, but it is alleged that this information was not provided through adequate warnings to doctors or patients. Sanofi added a “post-marketing experiences” section to the product labeling which states, “excessive tearing which may be attributable to lacrimal duct obstruction has been reported.” Otherwise, the patient information section reports “redness of the eye, excessive tearing” as “the most common side effects of Taxotere” without any mention the condition can be permanent and can severely damage vision.
The company’s labeling fails to identify the potential risk of permanent scarring and stenosis as the cause for excessive tearing, or that the drug can lead to this permanent injury very rapidly. Doctors and patients were also not advised that the condition is preventable or reversible if promptly acted upon with timely intervention during chemotherapy treatment.
Over the past year, a growing number of women have filed liability lawsuits against Sanofi after suffering permanent vision damage after using Taxotere. Because there are many equally effective breast cancer chemotherapies that do not put patients’ eyesight at risk, it is important that doctors and patients have adequate information when deciding upon a chemotherapy regimen. The plaintiffs allege that they and their doctors were never properly warned by Sanofi and that their eye damage could have been prevented if Sanofi had provided sufficient warnings.
The attorneys at Cellino Law have decades of experience recovering hundreds of millions of dollars compensating those who have been wronged by pharmaceutical manufacturers like Sanofi. If you have experienced excessive tearing or permanent vision damage after using the chemotherapy drug, Taxotere, you may be entitled to compensation. There are time limits and it is important to act to protect your rights. Call us today at 800-555-5555 for your free and confidential consultation.