Connie Shatswell knew in 2010 when she took chemotherapy to treat her breast cancer that she would temporarily lose her thick, brown hair. She assumed her hair would grow back once her treatment ended. But she never guessed that she’d wind up permanently bald.
No one could explain why Connie’s hair never grew back. It wasn’t until she saw a social media post blaming Taxotere chemotherapy as a possible culprit that she realized it was likely the cause.
Connie dug deeper and discovered that five years before she took Taxotere, its manufacturer Sanofi-Aventos conducted a study and found that about 9 percent of Taxotere users suffered permanent hair loss. The company added warnings about this risk to the drug it sold in other countries, but it never updated the label on Taxotere sold in the United States until the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered it to do so in 2015.
Connie is among 2,000 other people who are suing Sanofi-Aventis over this disfiguring Taxotere side effect. The lawsuits have been centralized in a multidistrict litigation located in the Eastern District of Louisiana. The first bellwether trial is scheduled for January 2019.
Those suing Sanofi-Aventis say the company should have warned women of the risk of permanent hair loss so they could decide whether to try other, equally effective chemotherapies that do not result in permanent baldness.
Permanent hair loss is a devastating side effect, especially for women.
“People look and they have a sympathy look. I look like I have cancer,” Connie told News 9, adding that she filed her lawsuit in order to hold someone accountable for withholding Taxotere side effects information. “Can you imagine looking in the mirror and not seeing you? The you, you know?”