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Information about Docetaxel

Docetaxel is an antineoplastic agent that has a unique mechanism of action as an inhibitor of cellular mitosis and that currently plays a central role in the therapy of many solid tumor including breast and lung cancer.  Therapy with docetaxel has been associated with a low rate of serum enzyme elevations and rarely to instances of acute hepatic necrosis generally due to severe hypersensitivity reactions or sepsis. 

Liver safety of Docetaxel

Docetaxel has not been clearly linked to cases of idiopathic, clinically apparent acute liver injury

Mechanism of action of Docetaxel

Docetaxel (doe" se tax' el) is a complex diterpenoid molecule that contains a central 8-member taxane ring.  Docetaxel is a semisynthetic analogue of paclitaxel and was initially isolated from the needles of the European Yew tree (Taxus baccata).  It is a potent antineoplastic agent and its mechanism of action appears to be mediated by its binding to microtubulin, which is important in the mitototic phase of cell division.  The binding of docetaxel prevents the disassembly of the cytoskeletal microtubules, preventing cell division and leading to cell death. 

FDA approval information for Docetaxel

Docetaxel was approved for use in the United States in 1996 and it remains an important agent in the therapy of several neoplasms including breast, gastric, prostate, head and neck, and non-small cell lung cancer. 

Dosage and administration for Docetaxel

Docetaxel is available in solution for injection generically and under the brand names such as Taxotere and Docefrez.  Docetaxel is administered intravenously, typically as one hour infusions every three weeks in cycles in combination with other antineoplastic agents.  The dose varies by indication and body weight.  Preexisting liver disease is considered a relative contraindication of its use. 

Side effects of Docetaxel

Side effects are common and include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, mucositis, fatigue, myalgias, skin rash, alopecia, phlebitis, bone marrow suppression, fluid retention, cardiomyopathy, peripheral neuropathy and hypersensitivity reactions.  Premedication with oral corticosteroids is recommended to prevent severe hypersensitivity reactions. 


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