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No Taxol available


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Today we were scheduled for the 5th of 12 chemos in this round. After discussing pain meds for the pain still bothering him from the thoracotomy almost a year ago, we got a new pain medication as the old one has been pulled from the market (darvocet). Then the doctor told us that no taxol is available so she is substituting taxotere - that taxol was supposed to be available again by sometime in August.. She thought the pharm companies just wanted a more expensive drug. I read up online and it sounds to me like, since it comes from yew trees, they have a hard producing enough of it. Either way, there wasn't any. Has anyone else run into this?

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I'm sorry to hear this.

There are a number of manufacturers of this drug and they knew this shortage was coming and are working on getting the supplies up - this and a number of other drugs, some with no substitutes. A larger institution may have better access - more suppliers and more leverage. I don't know if it is feasible for you ask for a referral? If you are one of a few patients being treated in your community, they may have trouble getting supplies.

I do think that I have read that this is a result of low-cost generic drugs that the manufacturers just can't make enough profit on. Or, as you suggest - there is more profit elsewhere. I think it is all synthesized now - no longer an issue of yew availability.

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When my husband started treatment his doctor had suggested taxotere over taxol.

He said that taxotere seemed to be tolerated better.

Since Thom never had the taxol I have nothing to compare it to, just wanted to offer our experience.

Good luck,


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I'm on taxotere and so far so good. I read a similar report online that taxotere was beginning to be used routinely because of numbers of patients reacting adversely to an ingredient of the yew. Keep us posted how this plays out.

Judy in KW

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