Paclitaxel Intravenous

pak-li-TAX-el

Intravenous routeSolution

Paclitaxel should be administered under the supervision of a physician experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents. Appropriate management of complications is possible only when adequate diagnostic and treatment facilities are readily available.

Anaphylaxis and severe hypersensitivity reactions characterized by dyspnea and hypotension requiring treatment, angioedema, and generalized urticaria have occurred in 2% to 4% of patients receiving paclitaxel in clinical trials. Fatal reactions have occurred in patients despite premedication. All patients should be pretreated with corticosteroids, diphenhydramine, and H(2) antagonists. Patients who experience severe hypersensitivity reactions to paclitaxel should not be rechallenged with the drug.

Paclitaxel therapy should not be given to patients with solid tumors who have baseline neutrophil counts of less than 1500 cells/mm(3) and should not be given to patients with AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma if the baseline neutrophil count is less than 1000 cells/mm(3). In order to monitor the occurrence of bone marrow suppression, primarily neutropenia, which may be severe and result in infection, it is recommended that frequent peripheral blood cell counts be performed on all patients receiving paclitaxel .

Anaphylaxis and severe hypersensitivity reactions characterized by dyspnea and hypotension requiring treatment, angioedema, and generalized urticaria have occurred in clinical trials. Fatal reactions have occurred in patients despite premedication and all patients should be pretreated with corticosteroids, diphenhydramine, and H(2) antagonists. Patients who experience severe hypersensitivity reactions to paclitaxel should not be rechallenged with the drug. Paclitaxel therapy should not be given to patients with solid tumors who have baseline neutrophil counts of less than 1500 cells/mm(3) and should not be given to patients with AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma if the baseline neutrophil count is less than 1000 cells/mm(3). Monitor peripheral blood cell counts frequently .

Commonly used brand name(s):

In the U.S.

  • Nov-Onxol
  • Onxol
  • Paclitaxel Novaplus
  • Taxol

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Solution

Therapeutic Class: Antineoplastic Agent

Pharmacologic Class: Mitotic Inhibitor

Uses For paclitaxel

Paclitaxel belongs to the group of medicines called antineoplastics. It is used to treat cancer of the ovaries, breast, certain types of lung cancer, and a cancer of the skin and mucous membranes more commonly found in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It may also be used to treat other kinds of cancer, as determined by your doctor.

Paclitaxel interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed. Since the growth of normal body cells may also be affected by paclitaxel, other effects will also occur. Some of these may be serious and must be reported to your doctor. Other effects may not be serious but may cause concern. Some effects may not occur until months or years after the medicine is used.

Before you begin treatment with paclitaxel, you and your doctor should talk about the good paclitaxel will do as well as the risks of using it.

Paclitaxel is to be administered only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor.

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, paclitaxel is used in certain patients with the following medical conditions:

  • Cancer of the bladder
  • Cancer of the cervix
  • Cancer of the endometrium
  • Cancer of the fallopian tube or lining of the abdomen (spreading from the ovary)
  • Cancer of the esophagus
  • Cancers of the head and neck
  • Small cell lung cancer (a certain type found in the tissues of the lungs)
  • Cancer of the stomach
  • Cancer of the prostate
  • Cancer of the testes
  • Cancer of unknown primary site

Before Using paclitaxel

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For paclitaxel, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to paclitaxel or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

There is no specific information comparing use of paclitaxel in children with use in other age groups.

Geriatric

paclitaxel has been tested in a limited number of patients and has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy CategoryExplanation
All TrimestersDStudies in pregnant women have demonstrated a risk to the fetus. However, the benefits of therapy in a life threatening situation or a serious disease, may outweigh the potential risk.

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Using paclitaxel with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Rotavirus Vaccine, Live

Using paclitaxel with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Aprepitant
  • Bacillus of Calmette and Guerin Vaccine, Live
  • Cisplatin
  • Deferasirox
  • Doxorubicin Hydrochloride
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Fosaprepitant
  • Influenza Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Measles Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Mumps Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Pazopanib
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Live
  • Rotavirus Vaccine, Live
  • Rubella Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Smallpox Vaccine
  • St John's Wort
  • Testosterone
  • Tretinoin
  • Typhoid Vaccine
  • Valspodar
  • Varicella Virus Vaccine
  • Yellow Fever Vaccine

Using paclitaxel with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Dalfopristin
  • Doxorubicin Hydrochloride Liposome
  • Epirubicin
  • Fosphenytoin
  • Phenytoin
  • Quinupristin

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of paclitaxel. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Chickenpox (including recent exposure) or
  • Herpes zoster (shingles)—Risk of severe disease affecting other parts of the body
  • Heart rhythm problems—May be made worse by paclitaxel
  • Infection—Paclitaxel may decrease your body's ability to fight infection

Proper Use of paclitaxel

paclitaxel often causes nausea and vomiting, which is usually mild. However, it is very important that you continue to receive the medicine even if you begin to feel ill. Ask your health care professional for ways to lessen these effects.

Dosing

The dose of paclitaxel will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of paclitaxel. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

Precautions While Using paclitaxel

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that paclitaxel is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

While you are being treated with paclitaxel, and after you stop treatment with it, do not have any immunizations (vaccinations) without your doctor's approval. Paclitaxel may lower your body's resistance and there is a chance you might get the infection the immunization is meant to prevent. In addition, other persons living in your household should not take oral polio vaccine since there is a chance they could pass the polio virus on to you. Also, avoid persons who have taken oral polio vaccine within the last several months. Do not get close to them and do not stay in the same room with them for very long. If you cannot take these precautions, you should consider wearing a protective face mask that covers the nose and mouth.

Paclitaxel can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:

  • If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you get a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
  • Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual bleeding or bruising; black, tarry stools; blood in urine or stools; or pinpoint red spots on your skin.
  • Be careful when using a regular toothbrush, dental floss, or toothpick. Your medical doctor, dentist, or nurse may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check with your medical doctor before having any dental work done.
  • Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have just washed your hands and have not touched anything else in the meantime.
  • Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects such as a safety razor or fingernail or toenail cutters.
  • Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur.

paclitaxel Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Some side effects will have signs or symptoms that you can see or feel. Your doctor may watch for others by doing certain tests.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common
  • Black, tarry stools
  • blood in urine or stools
  • pinpoint red spots on skin
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
Rare
  • Shortness of breath (severe)
  • skin reaction (severe)

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

More common
  • Cough or hoarseness accompanied by fever or chills
  • fever or chills
  • flushing of face
  • lower back or side pain accompanied by fever or chills
  • painful or difficult urination accompanied by fever or chills
  • shortness of breath
  • skin rash or itching
Rare
  • Pain or redness at place of injection
  • sores in mouth and on lips (usually get better within 7 days after treatment)

paclitaxel may also cause the following side effects that your doctor will watch out for:

More common
  • Anemia
  • low platelet count in blood
  • low white blood cell count
Less common
  • Effects on liver
  • low blood pressure
  • slow heartbeat

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Diarrhea
  • nausea and vomiting
  • numbness, burning, or tingling in hands or feet
  • pain in joints or muscles, especially in arms or legs (begins 2 to 3 days after treatment and may last up to 5 days)

paclitaxel usually causes a temporary and total loss of hair (including eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic hair) about 2 to 3 weeks after treatment begins. After treatment with paclitaxel has ended, normal hair growth should return.

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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