Paclitaxel

23

Summary

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Key Points

  • Paclitaxel
    • Mechanism
      • Taxane drug class
      • Antimicrotubule compound that blocks cell division at the M phase
    • Clinical Use
      • Cancer / Chemotherapy
        • Ovarian and breast cancer
        • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
        • Kaposi sarcoma
    • Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
      • Common chemotherapy side effects
        • Bone marrow suppression
          • Common side effect of many chemotherapeutic drugs due to damage of rapidly-dividing blood cell progenitors
          • Leads to anemia (low red blood cells)
            • Fatigue, dyspnea, pallor
          • Leads to leukopenia (low white blood cells)
            • Increased risk for infection
          • Leads to thrombocytopenia (low platelets)
            • Petechiae, purpura, bleeding
        • GI disturbances
          • Nausea, vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea
          • Common side effect of many chemotherapeutic drugs due to damage of rapidly-dividing gut wall
          • An antiemetic may be ordered prior to chemotherapy
        • Alopecia (hair loss)
      • Hypersensitivity reactions
        • Black box warning
        • Patients are usually premedicated with dexamethasone (steroid), diphenhydramine (antihistamine), and an H2 blocker.
      • Peripheral neuropathy
      • Joint pain