This anti-cancer drug is used to treat breast cancer, stomach cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and carcinoma of the head and neck.

Drug class: Antineoplastic drug; plant alkaloid; microtubule-targeting agent (taxanes)

Route of administration: Intravenous

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Is it a drug that needs a prescription? YES

Is it an OTC drug? NO

Mechanism of action

Docetaxel works by targeting microtubules and blocking microtubule dissociation, hence suppressing mitosis (cell division). This inhibits malignant cells from growing.

Side effects

Nausea, vomiting, sore mouth, diarrhea, loss of appetite, muscle or joint/bone pain, constipation, extreme fatigue, taste changes, sore throat or mouth, dizziness, swelling/pain/redness at the injection site, hair loss temporarily, changes in fingernail or toenail.

Serious side effects

Swelling or numbness of hands/legs/feet, rapid weight gain, abnormal heart rate, severe headache, shortness of breath, blurred or loss of vision, unexplained bruising or bleeding, stomach pain, chest pain, painful urination, rash/itching/hives,

It may also cause a decreased level of WBCs in the blood.

Use of this medication may rarely increase the risk of developing other cancer, consult the doctor.


Take the following precautions before using this drug and notify your doctor:

  • If you are allergic to it or to other taxanes (including paclitaxel, oraxol, abraxane), or to any other medication, or if you are allergic to polysorbate 80 (inactive ingredient of docetaxel),
  • If you are taking any other medications (prescribed, non-prescribed, or herbal products),
  • If you have a history of congestive heart failure, lung disease, anemia, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, hepatic disease, high or low blood pressure,
  • You should not receive any vaccines while using this drug.
  • If you have had any recent surgery,
  • Avoid alcohol consumption, as it makes you drowsy.
  • Avoid contact with people who have infections to prevent the spread of infections.
  • Use of this medication is not recommended during pregnancy as it may harm the unborn baby.
  • Breastfeeding should be avoided while the treatment is going on and for the next 2 weeks after stopping the use of this drug.
  • You should avoid getting pregnant while using this drug.

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