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  • Generic Name: (paclitaxel)
    Other Brands: N/A
  • Last Revised: 08/2015
    • What is this medication and its most common uses?

      Paclitaxel is an anticancer medicine used to treat cancers of the breast, lung, or ovary. Paclitaxel is also used to treat Kaposi's sarcoma (a type of cancer) in people who have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Paclitaxel is administered as intravenous (into your vein) injections.

    • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

      How does this medication work?

      Paclitaxel is thought to work by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in the body.

      What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

      What: By stopping the growth of cancer cells, paclitaxel may help to relieve your symptoms associated with cancer.

      When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions.

      How do I know it is working?

      Your healthcare provider may order tests regularly to check how well this medication is working.

    • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

      The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

      Paclitaxel should only be administered under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider who is experienced in administering chemotherapy medicines for cancer.

      Paclitaxel can cause serious, life-threatening allergic reactions, with symptoms such as hives; low blood pressure; shortness of breath; or swelling of your face, eyes, lips, or tongue. Tell your healthcare provider if you have a history of severe allergic reactions to paclitaxel. Your healthcare provider will likely prescribe other medicines before administering paclitaxel.

      Your healthcare provider will not administer paclitaxel to you if you have certain types of tumors and low white blood cell counts, or AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma and low white blood cell counts. Your healthcare provider will do routine blood tests during treatment with paclitaxel.

      More common side effects may include: low red blood cell counts; feeling weak or tired; hair loss; numbness, tingling, or burning in your hands or feet; joint and muscle pain; nausea and vomiting; diarrhea; mouth or lip sores; infections; swelling of your hands, face, or feet; bleeding events; irritation at the injection site; low blood pressure.

      Less common side effects may include:

      Harm to your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant while receiving paclitaxel.

      Paclitaxel may also cause injection-site reactions, high or low blood pressure, or a slow heart rate.

    • Who should not take this medication?

      Your healthcare provider will not administer paclitaxel to you if you are allergic to it, any of its ingredients, or to other medicines that contain polyoxyl 35 castor oil.

      Your healthcare provider will not administer paclitaxel to you if you have certain types of tumors and low white blood cell counts, or AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma and low white blood cell counts.

    • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

      Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with paclitaxel. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have liver or heart problems, or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What is the usual dosage?

      The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

      Adults: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you, based on your height and weight.

      If you have liver impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

    • How should I take this medication?

      Your healthcare provider will administer paclitaxel to you.

      To lower the chance of an allergic reaction, you will receive other medicines (such as dexamethasone) before each treatment with paclitaxel. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.

    • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

      Do not miss any scheduled follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider.

      Do not become pregnant or breastfeed while you are receiving paclitaxel.

    • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

      If paclitaxel is used with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Paclitaxel may interact with numerous medications. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking.

    • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

      Paclitaxel can harm your unborn baby if you receive it during pregnancy. Do not become pregnant or breastfeed while you are receiving paclitaxel. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

      Paclitaxel should be given under special circumstances determined by your healthcare provider. If you miss your scheduled dose, contact your healthcare provider for advice.

    • How should I store this medication?

      Your healthcare provider will store this medication for you.

    • Who should I contact in case of emergency or overdose?
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      In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
      National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222

      This PDR+ drug information has been developed by the Physicians’ Desk Reference Network (PDRN), a source of medication information trusted by doctors for over 65 years.

      This monograph summarizes the most important information about your medication and does not cover all the information you may need. If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more about your medication, ask your healthcare provider; he/she will be able to provide answers to your questions. This medication should only be used by the patient for whom it was prescribed and should not be shared with other people.
    • Additional patient resources.
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