Besides the blood problems and the gastric problems I discussed in the last two posts, taxotere can also cause hair loss and have effects on your skin and nails. The q3wk dose of taxotere (higher dose once every 3 weeks) is associated with reversible hair loss in two-thirds of men going on that schedule and the q1wk schedule (lower dose every week) is associated with milder hair loss about in about 50% of men on this schedule. However, the q1wk regimen usually results in more fingernail changes, which may include pain, brittleness, and fluid discharge. Just like my suggestion in post II to suck on ice cubes during the infusion, cooling the fingernails with ice during infusion greatly reduces the risk of this complication.

Irritation of the tear ducts tends to occur more often with the q1wk regimen. This occurs when the tear ducts become scarred and are unable to drain tears adequately. Symptoms of this problem can include redness, chronic watery discharge, and dry eyes. To prevent this problem, many men use artificial tears to flush Taxotere from the eyes during and after each infusion.

Neutopathy is another side effect that can develop over time. Neuropathy is numbness and sometimes tingling in the toes and fingers. Generally, these symptoms are mild and slowly reverse after Taxotere is stopped. High doses of glutamine, an amino acid supplement, can minimize the severity of neuropathy.

Fluid retention can occur with Taxotere, especially with the q3wk regimen. The first signs of this complication are swelling of the feet and ankles along with weight gain. If this fluid retention is in the chest or around the heart, it can be life threatening. Dexamethasone tablets may protect men on taxotere from sign