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.
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 (e.g., antihistamines, corticosteroids) to help prevent an allergic reaction. However, severe allergic reactions may still occur in a few patients. Seek immediate medical attention 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 (e.g., fever, chills, cough, persistent sore throat, painful/difficult urination).
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 available from your pharmacist before you start using paclitaxel. If you have any questions, consult 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.
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 persist or worsen, 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, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she 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:
- signs of anemia (e.g., unusual tiredness, pale skin)
- easy bruising/bleeding
- pain/redness/swelling/weakness of the arms/legs
- calf pain/swelling that is warm to the touch
- coughing up blood
- persistent nausea/vomiting
- stomach/abdominal pain
- yellowing eyes/skin
- dark urine
- vision/hearing changes
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.
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 (e.g., low white blood cell count)
- decreased bone marrow function
- current infections
- heart problems (e.g., 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).
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received polio vaccine by mouth or flu vaccine inhaled through the nose.
Since this medication can increase your risk of developing serious infections, wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections. Avoid contact with people who have illnesses that may spread to others (e.g., flu, chickenpox).
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.
Caution is advised when using this drug in children because it contains alcohol. Children may be more sensitive to the side effects of alcohol, especially drowsiness and confusion.
Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to its side effects, especially the decrease in bone marrow function and numbness/tingling/burning of the hands/feet.
Men using this medication should not plan to father a child while receiving treatment. This medication may affect sperm production in men and increase the risk of harm to the unborn baby. Therefore, reliable forms of birth control should be used during treatment and for some time afterwards. Consult your doctor for more details. If your partner becomes pregnant while you are using this medication, tell your doctor right away.
This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. It is important that men and women using this medication use reliable forms of birth control (such as condoms, birth control pills) while using this medication. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor right away.
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 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.
Some products that may interact with this drug include:
- other drugs that may decrease bone marrow function (e.g., azathioprine, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole)
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.
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. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., complete blood counts) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist right away to establish a new dosing schedule.
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).
Information last revised October 2018.
Copyright(c) 2018 First Databank, Inc.
Conditions of use: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information in not intend to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects nor should it be construed in indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.