Paclitaxel

Brand Names

Taxol®, OnxalTM (There may be other brand names)

How is it Administered?

Paclitaxel is injected into a vein (intravenously or IV).

What is it Used For?

This drug is used to treat cancers of breast, ovary, lung, and other solid tumor cancers.

How Does it Work?

Cancer is a group of diseases in which abnormal cells reproduce without control. Your chemo schedule is based upon your cancer type, how fast the cancer cells multiply, and the time of the cells’ reproductive cycle when the medication is the most likely to be effective. This is why chemotherapy is typically given in cycles.

Paclitaxel is in a class of drugs known as taxanes or plant alkaloids. Taxanes interfere with reproduction. If the cells are unable to multiply, they die. The faster cells are reproducing, the more likely it is that chemotherapy will damage/kill the cells. Since there are cells in the body that naturally reproduce quickly, these cells are the most likely to be damaged by chemotherapy. These normal cells will eventually grow back and be healthy. During treatment, however, you may have side effects from chemo’s effects on the cells lining your digestive tract, your hair follicles, and in your bone marrow.

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