Paclitaxel (Injection)

Introduction

Paclitaxel (pak-li-TAX-el)

Treats different kinds of cancer, including cancer in the lungs, ovary, or breast. Also may be used to treat Kaposi's sarcoma in people who have AIDS. This is an antineoplastic agent (cancer medicine).

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Novaplus Paclitaxel, Paclitaxel Novaplus, Nov-Onxol

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to paclitaxel or Cremophor® EL (also called polyoxyethylated castor oil). Some other medicines that might contain Cremophor® EL are cyclosporine (Sandimmune®) and teniposide (Vumon®). You should not receive this medicine if you have severe neutropenia (very low white blood cells).

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins. This medicine is usually given every 3 weeks and is used together with other cancer medicines, such as cisplatin or doxorubicin.
  • You may also receive other medicines to help prevent allergic reactions and nausea or vomiting from paclitaxel.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

If a dose is missed:

  • This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or treatment clinic for instructions.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using buspirone (Buspar®), eletriptan (Relpax®), felodipine (Plendil®), gemfibrozil (Lopid®), lovastatin (Mevacor®), midazolam (Versed®), repaglinide (Prandin®), rosiglitazone (Avandia®), sildenafil (Viagra®), simvastatin (Zocor®), or triazolam (Halcion®). Tell your doctor if you are using medicine to treat an infection (such as clarithromycin, telithromycin, Biaxin®, or Ketek®), medicine to treat a fungus infection (such as itraconazole, ketoconazole, Nizoral®, or Sporanox®), medicine to treat depression (such as nefazodone or Serzone®), medicine to treat HIV or AIDS (such as atazanavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir, Crixivan®, Fortovase®, Invirase®, Norvir®, Reyataz®, or Viracept®), medicine to treat tuberculosis (such as rifampin, Rifadin®, or Rimactane®), or medicine for seizures (such as carbamazepine or Tegretol®).
  • Talk to your doctor before getting flu shots or other vaccines while you are receiving this medicine. Vaccines may not work as well, or they could make you ill while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Do not breastfeed while you are receiving this medicine.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have liver disease, heart disease, heart rhythm problems, or nerve problems (such as pain, numbness, or tingling in the hands, arms, legs, or feet).
  • This medicine lowers the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
  • This medicine may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you have a cough; dizziness; wheezing; trouble with breathing; chest or throat tightness; swelling in your face or hands; fever; chills; rash; itching or hives; skin redness; or lightheadedness or faintness while you are receiving this medicine.
  • This medicine may cause peripheral neuropathy. Check with your doctor right away if you are having burning, numbness, tingling, or painful sensations in the arms, hands, legs, or feet while using this medicine.
  • Cancer medicines can cause diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting in most people, sometimes even after receiving medicines to prevent it. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control these unwanted effects if you still have nausea or vomiting after receiving the medicine.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Blue lips, fingernails, or skin.
  • Chest pain.
  • Decrease in how much or how often you urinate.
  • Fast, slow, or uneven heartbeat.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet.
  • Pain, itching, burning, swelling, or a lump under your skin where the needle is placed.
  • Severe skin rash.
  • Severe stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting.
  • Shortness of breath or troubled breathing.
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness.
  • Warmth or redness in your face, neck, arms, or upper chest.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Hair loss.
  • Mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
  • Mild skin rash.
  • Muscle, bone, or joint pain.
  • Sores or white patches on your lips, mouth, or throat.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

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

Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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