Docetaxel is the generic drug name. Taxotere®is a brand name. (There may be other names for this medication.)

How is It Administered?

This medicine is given intravenously (IV), which means it is given through a tube placed in a vein, usually in your arm, wrist, hand, or chest.

Why am I Receiving Docetaxel?

This drug treats various types of cancers including breast, lung, prostate, stomach, and head and neck.

How Does it Work?

Cancer is a group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Both normal and cancer cells go through cycles that include a resting phase, active growing phases, and division. Your chemotherapy schedule is based upon the type of cancer you have, the rate at which the cancer cells divide (reproduce), and the times when each drug is the most likely to be effective. This is why chemotherapy is typically given in cycles.

Docetaxel is in a class of drugs known as taxanes or plant alkaloids. It affects tiny structures (microtubules) inside the cells, which interferes with their ability to reproduce. Docetaxel also interferes with the cell’s ability to make the proteins it needs. Together, these lead to a decrease in cancer cells.

The faster cells are dividing (reproducing), the more likely it is that chemotherapy will damage/kill the cells. Unfortunately, chemotherapy does not know the difference between cancer cells and normal cells that reproduce frequently. The cells in your body that are the most likely to be affected by chemotherapy are the cells that line the digestive tract (mouth, stomach, intestines), hair follicles, and blood cells.

These normal cells will eventually grow back and be healthy. During treatment, however, you may experience side effects from docetaxel’s effect on these cells.

Continue Reading Detailed Drug Profile