Paclitaxel or Taxol is used for resistant cases of ovarian cancer. Paclitaxel or Taxol given in combination with another cancer drug - cisplatin - can increase survival rates by about 50%. Paclitaxel or Taxol is also used in some cases of metastatic breast cancer.
Paclitaxel or Taxol's source is the Pacific yew tree, and it has a novel mechanism of action - it promotes micro tubule formation which stabilizes the involved cells.
Paclitaxel or Taxol has serious side effects - severe hypersensitivity reactions, blood problems such as neutropenia, and nervous system damage. To prevent and/or reduce the hypersensitivity reactions, antihistamines, steroids, and even drugs that block histamine-2, for example cimetidine, are given prior to Paclitaxel or Taxol. The nervous system damage or neuropathy is dose dependent, and in combination with cisplatin is increased.
Because Paclitaxel or Taxol has serious side effects, it is used when other drugs have not succeeded. People taking Paclitaxel or Taxol require constant monitoring to detect side effects early and to minimize side effects.
Paclitaxel or Taxol is often combined with other drugs - either to increase its effectiveness or to reduce its side effects.
N Engl J Med 1996;334:1,30
The relevant product monographs must be regarded as the appropriate sources of prescribing information.