For breast and non-small cell lung cancers, premedication consisting of an oral corticosteroid, such as dexamethasone 16 mg per day (e.g. 8 mg BID) for 3 days starting 1 day prior to docetaxel administration, unless contraindicated, can reduce the incidence and severity of fluid retention as well as the severity of hypersensitivity reactions. For prostate cancer, the premedication is oral dexamethasone 8 mg, 12 hours, 3 hours and 1 hour before the docetaxel infusion (see Dosage & Administration).
Haematology: Neutropenia is the most frequent adverse reaction of docetaxel. Neutrophil nadirs occurred at a median of 7 days but this interval may be shorter in heavily pre-treated patients. Frequent monitoring of complete blood counts should be conducted on all patients receiving docetaxel. Patients should be retreated with docetaxel when neutrophils recover to a level of ≥ 1,500 cells/mm3 (see Dosage & Administration). In the case of severe neutropenia (<500 cells/mm3 for seven days or more) during a course of docetaxel therapy, a reduction in dose for subsequent courses of therapy or the use of appropriate symptomatic measures are recommended (see Dosage & Administration). In patients treated with docetaxel in combination with cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil (TCF), febrile neutropenia and neutropenic infection occurred at lower rates when patients received prophylactic G-CSF. Patients treated with TCF should receive prophylactic G-CSF to mitigate the risk of complicated neutropenia (febrile neutropenia, prolonged neutropenia or neutropenic infection). Patients receiving TCF should be closely monitored (see Dosage & Administration and Adverse Reactions).
Hypersensitivity reactions: Patients should be observed closely for hypersensitivity reactions especially during the first and second infusions. Hypersensitivity reactions may occur within a few minutes following the initiation of the infusion of docetaxel, thus facilities for the treatment of hypotension and bronchospasm should be available. If hypersensitivity reactions occur, minor symptoms such as flushing or localised cutaneous reactions do not require interruption of therapy. However, severe reactions, such as severe hypotension, bronchospasm or generalised rash/erythema require immediate discontinuation of docetaxel and appropriate therapy. Patients who have developed severe hypersensitivity reactions should not be re-challenged with docetaxel.
Cutaneous reactions: Localised skin erythema of the extremities (palms of the hands and soles of the feet) with oedema followed by desquamation has been observed. Severe symptoms such as eruptions followed by desquamation which lead to interruption or discontinuation of docetaxel treatment were reported (see Dosage & Administration).
Fluid retention: Patients with severe fluid retention such as pleural effusion, pericardial effusion and ascites should be monitored closely.
Patients with liver impairment: In patients treated with docetaxel at 100 mg/m2 as single agent who have serum transaminase levels (ALT and/or AST) greater than 1.5 times the ULN concurrent with serum alkaline phosphatase levels greater than 2.5 times the ULN, there is a higher risk of developing severe adverse reactions such as toxic deaths including sepsis and gastrointestinal haemorrhage which can be fatal, febrile neutropenia, infections, thrombocytopenia, stomatitis and asthenia. Therefore, the recommended dose of docetaxel in those patients with elevated liver function test (LFTs) is 75 mg/m2 and LFTs should be measured at baseline and before each cycle (see Dosage & Administration).
For patients with serum bilirubin levels > ULN and/or ALT and AST > 3.5 times the ULN concurrent with serum alkaline phosphatase levels > 6 times the ULN, no dose-reduction can be recommended and docetaxel should not be used unless strictly indicated. In combination with cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil for the treatment of patients with gastric adenocarcinoma, the pivotal clinical trial excluded patients with ALT and/or AST > 1.5 x ULN associated with alkaline phosphatase > 2.5 x ULN, and bilirubin > 1 x ULN; for these patients, no dose-reductions can be recommended and docetaxel should not be used unless strictly indicated. No data are available in patients with hepatic impairment treated by docetaxel in combination in the other indications.
Patients with renal impairment: There are no data available in patients with severely impaired renal function treated with docetaxel.
Nervous system: The development of severe peripheral neurotoxicity requires a reduction of dose (see Dosage & Administration).
Cardiac toxicity: Heart failure has been observed in patients receiving docetaxel in combination with trastuzumab, particularly following anthracycline (doxorubicin or epirubicin)-containing chemotherapy. This may be moderate to severe and has been associated with death (see Adverse Reactions).
When patients are candidates for treatment with docetaxel in combination with trastuzumab, they should undergo baseline cardiac assessment. Cardiac function should be further monitored during treatment (e.g. every three months) to help identify patients who may develop cardiac dysfunction. For more details see summary of product characteristics of trastuzumab.
Others: Contraceptive measures must be taken by both men and women during and for at least three months after cessation of therapy (see Use in Pregnancy & Lactation).
Additional cautions for use in adjuvant treatment of breast cancer: Complicated neutropenia: For patients who experience complicated neutropenia (prolonged neutropenia, febrile neutropenia or infection), G-CSF and dose reduction should be considered (see Dosage & Administration).
Gastrointestinal reactions: Symptoms such as early abdominal pain and tenderness, fever, diarrhea, with or without neutropenia, may be early manifestations of serious gastrointestinal toxicity and should be evaluated and treated promptly.
Congestive heart failure: Patients should be monitored for symptoms of congestive heart failure during therapy and during the follow up period.
Leukemia: In the docetaxel, doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (TAC) treated patients, the risk of delayed myelodysplasia or myeloid leukemia requires haematological follow-up.
Patients with 4+ nodes: The benefit/risk ratio for TAC in patients with 4+ nodes was not defined fully at the interim analysis (see Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics under Actions).
Effects on ability to drive and use machines: This medicinal product contains 27 vol % ethanol (alcohol), i.e. 160mg (average dose) contains 4100 mg alcohol, equivalent to less than 100 ml beer. The amount of alcohol in this medicinal product may impair the ability to drive or use machines.
Use in the Elderly: There are no data available in patients > 70 years of age on docetaxel use in combination with doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide.
Of the 333 patients treated with docetaxel every three weeks in a prostate cancer study, 209 patients were 65 years of age or greater and 68 patients were older than 75 years. In patients treated with docetaxel every three weeks, the incidence of related nail changes occurred at a rate ≥ 10% higher in patients who were 65 years of age or greater compared to younger patients. The incidence of related fever, diarrhea, anorexia, and peripheral edema occurred at rates ≥ 10% higher in patients who were 75 years of age or greater versus less than 65 years. Among the 300 (221 patients in the phase III part of the study and 79 patients in the phase II part) patients treated with docetaxel in combination with cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil in the gastric cancer study, 74 were 65 years of age or older and 4 patients were 75 years of age or older. The incidence of serious adverse events was higher in the elderly patients compared to younger patients. The incidence of the following adverse events (all grades): lethargy, stomatitis, neutropenic infection occurred at rates ≥ 10% higher in patients who were 65 years of age or older compared to younger patients. Elderly patients treated with TCF should be closely monitored.