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. Sometimes used in combination with other cancer medicines.
Taxol, Nov-Onxol, Novaplus Paclitaxel, Onxol
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You should not be treated with this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to paclitaxel or Cremophor® EL (also called polyoxyethylated or polyoxyl 35 castor oil). Some other medicines that might contain Cremophor® EL are cyclosporine (Sandimmune®) and teniposide (Vumon®).
How to Use This Medicine
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- You will be given other medicines before you are given paclitaxel. These other medicines may help prevent some side effects of paclitaxel.
- Do not let any of this medicine get on your skin or in your mouth, nose, or eyes. If any medicine does get on these areas, tell your caregiver right away.
- Your health caregiver may check your blood pressure, heart rate, and other vital signs while you are receiving this medicine.
If a dose is missed:
- This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor 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 about all other treatments you are using for cancer, including cisplatin (Platinol®) or doxorubicin (Adriamycin®). Tell your doctor about all other medicines you have used to treat cancer in the past.
- Talk to your doctor before getting flu shots or other vaccines while you are receiving paclitaxel.
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 breast feed while you are using this medicine.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you have heart disease, heart rhythm problems, or liver disease. Tell your doctor if you have nerve problems, such as numbness or tingling.
- 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, stay away from people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Signs of infection include coughing, blood in your urine, severe pain, or having trouble breathing. Call your doctor right away if you think you have any of these signs, or if you have a fever higher than 100.4 degrees.
- Tell your doctor if you have ever had a severe side effect from using this medicine. Some previous side effects you need to report are bleeding problems or heart problems.
- 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.
- Fast, slow, or uneven heartbeat.
- Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, body aches.
- Light-headedness or fainting.
- Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet.
- Severe nausea, diarrhea, vomiting.
- Severe skin rash.
- Skin redness, swelling, pain, blistering, or peeling where the IV needle is inserted. This may happen while you are receiving this medicine or up to 10 days later.
- Unusual bleeding or bruising.
- Unusual tiredness 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.
- Muscle, bone, or joint pain.
- Sores or white patches on your lips, mouth, or throat.