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Generic Name: paclitaxel

It targets fast dividing cells, like cancer cells, and causes these cells to die
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What is this medicine?

PACLITAXEL (PAK li TAX el) is a chemotherapy drug. It targets fast dividing cells, like cancer cells, and causes these cells to die. This medicine is used to treat ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and other cancers.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • blood disorders
  • irregular heartbeat
  • infection (especially a virus infection such as chickenpox, cold sores, or herpes)
  • liver disease
  • previous or ongoing radiation therapy
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to paclitaxel, alcohol, polyoxyethylated castor oil, other chemotherapy agents, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This drug is given as an infusion into a vein. It is administered in a hospital or clinic by a specially trained health care professional.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

It is important not to miss your dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • disulfiram
  • metronidazole

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • cyclosporine
  • dexamethasone
  • diazepam
  • ketoconazole
  • medicines to increase blood counts like filgrastim, pegfilgrastim, sargramostim
  • other chemotherapy drugs like cisplatin, doxorubicin, epirubicin, etoposide, teniposide, vincristine
  • quinidine
  • testosterone
  • vaccines
  • verapamil

Talk to your doctor or health care professional before taking any of these medicines:

  • acetaminophen
  • aspirin
  • ibuprofen
  • ketoprofen
  • naproxen

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medicine. You will need important blood work done while you are taking this medicine.

This drug may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon, as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop.

In some cases, you may be given additional medicines to help with side effects. Follow all directions for their use.

Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.

This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding.

Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medicine.

Avoid taking products that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your doctor. These medicines may hide a fever.

Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.

Men are advised not to father a child while receiving this medicine.

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All visitors to AARP.org should seek expert medical care and consult their own physicians for any specific health issues. Read this disclaimer in its entirety.
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Note: This information is not intended to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions, or adverse effects for this drug. If you have question about the drug(s) you are taking, check with your health care professional.
 
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