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Paclitaxel (Injection)

Paclitaxel (pak-li-TAX-el)

Treats cancer, including lung, ovary, or breast cancer and Kaposi sarcoma.

Brand Name(s):

Nov-Onxol

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

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 dose and schedule. This medicine is given through a needle placed in a vein. 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.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to 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®).
  • This medicine may interfere with vaccines. Ask your doctor before you get a flu shot or any other vaccines.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • It is not safe to take this medicine during pregnancy. It could harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
  • 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 may make you bleed, bruise, or get infections more easily. Take precautions to prevent illness and injury. Wash your hands often.
  • 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 do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. 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


Last Updated: 11/4/2014
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