paclitaxel

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paclitaxel

Pronunciation:PAK li TAK sel
Brand:Onxol, Taxol

What is the most important information I should know about paclitaxel?

nopregDo not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
donotYou should not be given this medication if you are allergic to paclitaxel, or to other medications that contain an ingredient called Cremophor EL (polyoxyethylated castor oil). This includes cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune) and teniposide (Vumon).

Before you receive paclitaxel, tell your doctor if you have liver disease, heart disease, or a severely weak immune system.

Paclitaxel can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

donotThere are many other medicines that can interact with paclitaxel. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list with you of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor or other healthcare provider who treats you.

What is paclitaxel?

Paclitaxel is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.

Paclitaxel is used to treat breast cancer, lung cancer, and ovarian cancer. It is also used to treat AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma.

Paclitaxel may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving paclitaxel?

donotYou should not be given this medication if you are allergic to paclitaxel, or to other medications that contain an ingredient called Cremophor EL (polyoxyethylated castor oil). This includes cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune) and teniposide (Vumon).

Before you receive paclitaxel, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • liver disease;
  • heart disease; or
  • a severely weak immune system.

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely receive paclitaxel.

nopregFDA pregnancy category D. This medication can cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not receive paclitaxel without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
nobrfeedIt is not known whether paclitaxel passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not receive this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is paclitaxel given?

Paclitaxel is given as an injection through a needle placed into a vein. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. The medicine must be given slowly through an IV infusion, and can take up to 24 hours to complete.

Paclitaxel is usually given every 3 weeks. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Before your injection, you may be given other medications to help prevent a serious allergic reaction to paclitaxel.

emtTell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when the medicine is injected.

If any of this medication gets on your skin, wash the area with soap and warm water right away.

emtYour breathing, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and other vital signs will be watched closely while you are receiving paclitaxel.

Your heart rate may also be monitored through electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG). This machine measures electrical activity of the heart.

Paclitaxel can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you miss an appointment for your paclitaxel injection.

What happens if I overdose?

emtSeek emergency medical attention if you think you have received too much of this medicine.

Overdose symptoms may include numbness or tingling, fever, chills, mouth sores, unusual bleeding or weakness, or any signs of infection.

What should I avoid while using paclitaxel?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity while you are being treated with paclitaxel.

Avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

What are the possible side effects of paclitaxel?

emtGet emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; feeling like you might pass out; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
emtCall your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • slow heart rate;
  • seizure (black-out or convulsions);
  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips;
  • numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands or feet;
  • increased blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats); or
  • warmth or redness under your skin.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • pain, swelling, redness, or skin color changes where the medicine was injected;
  • joint or muscle pain;
  • mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; or
  • hair loss.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect paclitaxel?

donotThere are many other medicines that can interact with paclitaxel. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list with you of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor or other healthcare provider who treats you.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about paclitaxel.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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