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Docetaxel is used in the treatment of breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, cancer of head and neck and prostate cancer

How it works

Docetaxel works by damaging the genetic material (DNA) of the cancer cells and stops their growth and multiplication.

Common side effects

Nausea, Decreased white blood cell count (neutrophils), Tingling sensation of extremity, Numbness of extremity, Abnormal liver function tests, Back pain, Constipation, Diarrhoea, Hair loss, Increased risk of infection, Injection site redness, Injection site swelling, Muscle pain, Joint pain, Nail disorder, Reduced blood platelets, Vomiting

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Expert advice

  • Before docetaxel is administered to you, ensure that all the blood tests and liver-function tests have been adequately performed.
  • Inform your doctor before taking docetaxel if you suffer from alcohol dependence or liver impairment as this medicine contains alcohol (ethanol).
  • Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking this drug as it may cause dizziness.
  • Consult your doctor if you intend to have a child during and 6 months after docetaxel treatment, as it may affect fertility.
  • Inform your doctor before taking docetaxel if you have heart, kidney or liver problems, abnormal liver function, swelling or fluid retention in the body, weakened immune system, infections, problems with bone-marrow, low platelet or white blood cell count, or if you have previously received radiation therapy.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is docetaxel a taxane, anthracycline derivative?
Docetaxel belongs to the taxane class of drugs. It is not an anthracycline derivative

Q. Is docetaxel cytotoxic?
Yes. Since, docetaxel kills the cancer cells in the body; it is regarded as a cytotoxic agent

Q. Does docetaxel cause hair loss, weight gain or bone pain?
Docetaxel may cause hair loss, bone pain or weight gain due to fluid retention. If you experience any such symptoms, please consult your doctor

Q. Where does docetaxel come from?
Docetaxel is derived from the bark of the yew tree found in the pacific region

Q. Is docetaxel FDA approved?
Yes. Docetaxel is approved by the USFDA.

Content on this page was last updated on 13 January, 2017, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)