Docetaxel (Taxotere)

The Basics

Docetaxel (brand name- Taxotere, Docefrez) is an FDA approved treatment used alone or in combination with other medications for certain types of breast, lung, prostate, stomach, and head and neck cancers. Docetaxel injection is also sometimes used to treat ovarian cancer (cancer that begins in the female reproductive organs where eggs are formed).

Docetaxel injection is in a class of medications called taxanes. It works by stopping the growth and spread of cancer cells.

Let us walk you through key things you need to know about docetaxel.

How should I take Docetaxel?

Patient getting IV chemotherapy

Docetaxel injection comes as a liquid to be given into a vein by a doctor or nurse in a hospital or clinic. Because certain docetaxel injection preparations contains alcohol, you may experience certain symptoms during or for 1–2 hours after your infusion. If you experience any of these symptoms, tell your doctor right away: confusion, stumbling, becoming very sleepy, or feeling like you are drunk.

Your doctor will probably prescribe a steroid medication such as dexamethasone for you to take during each dosing cycle to help prevent certain side effects. Be sure to follow the directions carefully and take this medication exactly as prescribed.

Talk to your doctor about how you are feeling during your treatment. Do not stop taking treatment without talking to your doctor. You can help them by tracking your side effects in Ankr.

What are the side effects of Docetaxel ?

Common side effects

Serious side effects

Docetaxel injection may increase your risk of developing other cancers, such as blood or kidney cancer, several months or years after treatment.

Cetuximab may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication. If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

What special precautions should I follow?

Before using docetaxel injection,

  • tell your doctor about your allergies
  • tell your doctor about other intakes
  • also tell your doctor if you drink or have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or if you plan on fathering a child. Talk to your doctor about birth control methods that you can use to prevent pregnancy during this time.

While you are on docetaxel injection

  • if you or your partner become pregnant while using docetaxel injection, call your doctor immediately. Docetaxel injection may harm the fetus.
  • tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. You should not breastfeed while you are using docetaxel injection and for 2 weeks after the final dose.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using docetaxel injection.
  • you should know that docetaxel injection may contain alcohol that could make you drowsy or affect your judgment, thinking, or motor skills. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.

I forgot a dose. What should I do?

Call your doctor right away if you are unable to keep an appointment to receive a dose of docetaxel injection.

In case of an emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.

Symptoms of overdose:

  • sore throat, fever, chills, and other signs of infection
  • sores in the mouth
  • skin irritation
  • weakness
  • numbness, tingling, or burning sensation in the hands or feet

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

Brand names

  • Docefrez®
  • Taxotere®

This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.

Last Revised- 06/09/2023, FDA updated- 08/15/2019, SG

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DISCLAIMER: No part of this content constitutes medical advice, opinion, or should be used for medical decision making without consultation with a licenced medical practitioner and under a patient-provider relationship. All information on the website is provided without any claims of accuracy. For full terms and conditions, visit this link. Content curated by the Ankr team.

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