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Paclitaxel - Injection

Pronunciation: pack-lih-TAX-el

Common Brand Name(s): Taxol

Important: How To Use This Information

This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.

Warning

Paclitaxel may rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) allergic reactions. Patients who experience a severe allergic reaction with this drug must never use it again. Your doctor may prescribe other medications (such as antihistamines, corticosteroids) to help prevent an allergic reaction. However, severe allergic reactions may still occur in a few patients. Get medical help right away if you develop any signs of an allergic reaction such as rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing, or chest pain.

This medication may often cause a serious blood disorder (decreased bone marrow function leading to a low number of white blood cells). This effect can lower your body's ability to fight an infection. Your doctor will monitor you closely and check your blood often during treatment. If your white blood cell count is too low, you should not receive this medication. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn't go away, fever, chills, cough, painful/difficult urination).

Uses

Paclitaxel is used to treat various types of cancer. It is a cancer chemotherapy drug that works by slowing or stopping cancer cell growth.

How To Use

Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start using paclitaxel and each time you receive a dose. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

This medication is given by injection into a vein by a health care professional. It is given on a schedule as directed by your doctor. Dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment.

Side Effects

See also Warning section.

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth sores, muscle/joint pain, numbness/tingling/burning of the hands/feet, flushing, dizziness, or drowsiness may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor promptly.

Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.

This medication may rarely cause changes to your blood pressure and heart rate. You should be closely monitored for these changes during the infusion of this medication. Tell your doctor promptly if you have increasing dizziness, headache, or a fast/slow/irregular heartbeat.

People using this medication may have serious side effects. However, you have been prescribed this drug because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:

  • nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop
  • signs of anemia (such as unusual tiredness, pale skin)
  • easy bruising/bleeding
  • fainting
  • confusion
  • pain/redness/swelling/weakness of the arms/legs
  • calf pain/swelling that is warm to the touch
  • coughing up blood
  • stomach/abdominal pain
  • yellowing eyes/skin
  • dark urine
  • vision/hearing changes
  • seizures

This medication may rarely irritate the vein it is given into or leak out of the vein and irritate the area. These effects may cause redness, pain, swelling, discoloration, or unusual skin reactions at the injection site, either while the drug is given or rarely 7 to 10 days later. If this drug has leaked out of a vein and caused a skin reaction in the past, you may rarely have a skin reaction in that same area when the drug is given again, even when it is given into another area. Tell your doctor right away of any unusual skin/injection site symptoms.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Precautions

Before using paclitaxel, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to similar drugs (taxane-type drugs such as docetaxel, cabazitaxel); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as polyoxyethylated castor oil), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:

  • blood disorders (such as low white blood cell count)
  • decreased bone marrow function
  • current infections
  • heart problems (such as fast/slow/irregular heartbeat)
  • high or low blood pressure
  • liver disease

This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).

Tell your health care professional that you are using paclitaxel before having any immunizations/vaccinations. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).

Paclitaxel can make you more likely to get infections or may worsen any current infections. Avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, measles, flu). Consult your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.

To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like safety razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.

This product contains alcohol. Children may be more sensitive to the side effects of alcohol, especially drowsiness and confusion.

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially the decrease in bone marrow function and numbness/tingling/burning of the hands/feet.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while using paclitaxel. Paclitaxel may harm an unborn baby. Your doctor should order a pregnancy test before you start this medication. Men and women using this medication should ask about reliable forms of birth control during treatment and for some time afterwards. If you or your partner becomes pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication.

It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast- feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Drug Interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness such as opioid pain or cough relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, lorazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine).

Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.

Overdose

If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Alberta residents can call PADIS (Poison and Drug Information Service) 24 hours a day at 1-800-332-1414. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.

Notes

Lab and/or medical tests (such as complete blood counts) should be done while you are using this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments. Consult your doctor for more details.

Missed Dose

It is important to get each dose of this medication as scheduled. If you miss a dose, ask your doctor or pharmacist right away for a new dosing schedule.

If you have questions about missing a dose or you don't have more medication, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Storage

Not applicable. This medication is given in a clinic and will not be stored at home.

Medical Alert

Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

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