Chemotherapy Drug Taxotere Has Been Linked to Severe Eye Damage
LITIGATION UPDATE January 27, 2022: The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) met on January 27, 2022 and consolidated all Taxotere eye damage lawsuits into a new MDL known as MDL 3023 and held that centralization of the cases in the Eastern District of Louisiana will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation. It was determined that these actions share common factual questions arising from allegations that the chemotherapy drug Taxotere (docetaxel) can cause users to suffer permanent eye damage, and that defendants failed to warn patients.
The JPML held that “Plaintiffs in these actions each allege that they developed excessive tearing (epiphora) as a result of permanent injuries to their tear ducts after chemotherapy treatment with Taxotere. All actions will require discovery regarding Taxotere’s development, marketing, and sale; its alleged propensity to cause eye injury; defendants’ knowledge of the risk of eye damage posed by the drug; and the adequacy of Taxotere’s warning label as to that risk. Centralization will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary.”
You can read the Transfer Order here.
(Note: This is separate from the existing Taxotere MDL involving 30,000 claims that the chemo drug caused permanent hair loss and the manufacturer failed to warn that this was a potential side effect.)
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Taxotere is the brand name for the intravenous chemotherapy drug docetaxel. This drug belongs to a class of drugs known as taxanes, which work by slowing the growth of cancerous cells.
The FDA approved Taxotere in 1996 for limited use. It was approved for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer that had not responded well to alternative treatments. In 2004, Sanofi-Aventis obtained FDA approval for expanded use of Taxotere on all patients with “operable node-positive breast cancer.” This quickly resulted in a greater number of patients being treated with Taxotere.
Taxotere is used to treat
several types of cancer, including:
Head or neck cancer
Sadly, scientific research shows that Taxotere may cause a variety of serious, potentially permanent side effects, ranging from long-term health risks to eye injuries and vision impairment. Taxotere eye side effects may include:
- Blocked tear ducts (nasolacrimal duct obstruction)
- Blurred vision
- Dry eye syndrome (keratoconjunctivitis)
- Excessive tearing or watery eyes (epiphora)
- Eye irritation or itchiness
- Increased eye “floaters”
- Loss of vision
- Permanent eye damage
- Stenosis or narrowing of the tear ducts
- Surgical intervention
- Swollen eyelids
The Taxotere lawsuits filed against the maker of the drug, Sanofi-Aventis, allege that the product label doesn’t adequately warn patients about the potential for irreversible eye injuries or advise patients with side effects to seek immediate treatment or risk permanent damage.
Based on a failure to warn theory, Taxotere has become the subject of a new wave of product liability lawsuits by women alleging that the drug caused permanent vision damage. The lawsuits claim that the manufacturer knew about the risk of vision damage and deliberately failed to warn doctors or patients.
After FDA approval of its expanded use, the number of patients taking Taxotere increased. It soon became apparent that a certain percentage of patients who took the drug suffered permanent damage to their vision. Taxotere impacts the structures involved in the production and drainage of tears (known as the lacrimal system), which is vital for healthy eyes and vision. When taken for chemotherapy, Taxotere is secreted into the tear film. This can cause fibrosis in areas of the lacrimal system, including the puncta and nasolacrimal duct. This scarring can cause permanent occlusion, causing an inability for tears to drain naturally through the lacrimal system. Because the eyes are constantly producing tears, this results in persistent and excessive watering of the eyes (also known as epiphora).
It is believed that Sanofi-Aventis was fully aware of the impact that Taxotere could have on the lacrimal system resulting in potential vision damage. Notwithstanding, they failed to provide adequate warnings to notify doctors and patients about this risk. It is being argued that the information on the Taxotere label is inadequate to put medical providers and users on notice of the potential risk.
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Serious medical issues caused by failure to warn of the risks of prescription medication can lead to long-term and serious complications or even lead to death. Our attorneys are nationally recognized and experienced in all aspects of serious personal injury litigation, including, defective medical drugs and failure to provide adequate warning litigation. Our law firm is located in Central New York and has been serving the Utica NY, Syracuse NY, Watertown NY, Binghamton NY areas for over 60+ years. We know first-hand how devastating it can be to lose a loved one or to suffer serious injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence.
We are committed to helping victims receive settlements fast. Our law firm has secured well over $100 million for our clients in verdicts and settlements. The attorneys at Brindisi, Murad & Brindisi Pearlman are focused on personal injury law and fighting for the rights of injured people. If you have been hurt by the use of the chemotherapy drug, Taxotere, we will fight to help you get the compensation that you deserve.
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