5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
5.1 Toxic Deaths
Docetaxel administered at 100 mg/m2 was associated with deaths considered possibly or probably related to treatment in 2.0% (19/965) of metastatic breast cancer patients, both previously treated and untreated, with normal baseline liver function and in 11.5% (7/61) of patients with various tumor types who had abnormal baseline liver function (AST and/or ALT >1.5 times ULN together with AP >2.5 times ULN). Among patients dosed at 60 mg/m2, mortality related to treatment occurred in 0.6% (3/481) of patients with normal liver function, and in 3 of 7 patients with abnormal liver function. Approximately half of these deaths occurred during the first cycle. Sepsis accounted for the majority of the deaths.
Non-small Cell Lung Cancer
Docetaxel administered at a dose of 100 mg/m2 in patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer who had a history of prior platinum-based chemotherapy was associated with increased treatment-related mortality (14% and 5% in two randomized, controlled studies). There were 2.8% treatment-related deaths among the 176 patients treated at the 75 mg/m2 dose in the randomized trials. Among patients who experienced treatment-related mortality at the 75 mg/m2 dose level, 3 of 5 patients had an ECOG PS of 2 at study entry [see Dosage and Administration (2.2), Clinical Studies (14)].
5.2 Hepatic Impairment
Patients with elevations of bilirubin or abnormalities of transaminase concurrent with alkaline phosphatase are at increased risk for the development of severe neutropenia, febrile neutropenia, infections, severe thrombocytopenia, severe stomatitis, severe skin toxicity, and toxic death.
Avoid Docetaxel Injection in patients with bilirubin > upper limit of normal (ULN), or to patients with AST and/or ALT >1.5 × ULN concomitant with alkaline phosphatase >2.5 × ULN [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
For patients with isolated elevations of transaminase >1.5 × ULN, consider Docetaxel Injection dose modifications [see Dosage and Administration (2.7)].
Measure bilirubin, AST or ALT, and alkaline phosphatase prior to each cycle of Docetaxel Injection therapy.
5.3 Hematologic Effects
Perform frequent peripheral blood cell counts on all patients receiving Docetaxel Injection. Do not retreat patients with subsequent cycles of Docetaxel Injection until neutrophils recover to a level >1500 cells/mm3 [see Contraindications (4)]. Avoid retreating patients until platelets recover to a level >100,000 cells/mm3.
A 25% reduction in the dose of Docetaxel Injection is recommended during subsequent cycles following severe neutropenia (<500 cells/mm3) lasting 7 days or more, febrile neutropenia, or a grade 4 infection in a Docetaxel Injection cycle [see Dosage and Administration (2.7)].
Neutropenia (<2000 neutrophils/mm3) occurs in virtually all patients given 60 mg/m2 to 100 mg/m2 of docetaxel and grade 4 neutropenia (<500 cells/mm3) occurs in 85% of patients given 100 mg/m2 and 75% of patients given 60 mg/m2. Frequent monitoring of blood counts is, therefore, essential so that dose can be adjusted. Docetaxel Injection should not be administered to patients with neutrophils <1500 cells/mm3.
Febrile neutropenia occurred in about 12% of patients given 100 mg/m2 but was very uncommon in patients given 60 mg/m2.
Three breast cancer patients with severe liver impairment (bilirubin >1.7 times ULN) developed fatal gastrointestinal bleeding associated with severe drug-induced thrombocytopenia. In gastric cancer patients treated with docetaxel in combination with cisplatin and fluorouracil (TCF), febrile neutropenia and/or neutropenic infection occurred in 12% of patients receiving G-CSF compared to 28% who did not. Patients receiving TCF should be closely monitored during the first and subsequent cycles for febrile neutropenia and neutropenic infection [see Dosage and Administration (2.7), Adverse Reactions (6)].
5.5 Hypersensitivity Reactions
Monitor patients closely for hypersensitivity reactions, especially during the first and second infusions. Severe hypersensitivity reactions characterized by generalized rash/erythema, hypotension and/or bronchospasm, or fatal anaphylaxis, have been reported in patients premedicated with 3 days of corticosteroids. Severe hypersensitivity reactions require immediate discontinuation of the Docetaxel Injection infusion and aggressive therapy. Do not rechallenge patients with a history of severe hypersensitivity reactions with Docetaxel Injection [see Contraindications (4)].
5.6 Fluid Retention
Severe fluid retention has been reported following docetaxel therapy. Patients should be premedicated with oral corticosteroids prior to each Docetaxel Injection administration to reduce the incidence and severity of fluid retention [see Dosage and Administration (2.6)]. Patients with pre-existing effusions should be closely monitored from the first dose for the possible exacerbation of the effusions.
When fluid retention occurs, peripheral edema usually starts in the lower extremities and may become generalized with a median weight gain of 2 kg.
Among 92 breast cancer patients premedicated with 3-day corticosteroids, moderate fluid retention occurred in 27.2% and severe fluid retention in 6.5%. The median cumulative dose to onset of moderate or severe fluid retention was 819 mg/m2. Nine of 92 patients (9.8%) of patients discontinued treatment due to fluid retention: 4 patients discontinued with severe fluid retention; the remaining 5 had mild or moderate fluid retention. The median cumulative dose to treatment discontinuation due to fluid retention was 1021 mg/m2. Fluid retention was completely, but sometimes slowly, reversible with a median of 16 weeks from the last infusion of docetaxel to resolution (range: 0 to 42+ weeks). Patients developing peripheral edema may be treated with standard measures, e.g., salt restriction, oral diuretic(s).
5.8 Cutaneous Reactions
Localized erythema of the extremities with edema followed by desquamation has been observed. In case of severe skin toxicity, an adjustment in dosage is recommended [see Dosage and Administration (2.7)]. The discontinuation rate due to skin toxicity was 1.6% (15/965) for metastatic breast cancer patients. Among 92 breast cancer patients premedicated with 3-day corticosteroids, there were no cases of severe skin toxicity reported and no patient discontinued docetaxel due to skin toxicity.
5.9 Neurologic Reactions
Severe neurosensory symptoms (e.g., paresthesia, dysesthesia, pain) were observed in 5.5% (53/965) of metastatic breast cancer patients, and resulted in treatment discontinuation in 6.1%. When these symptoms occur, dosage must be adjusted. If symptoms persist, treatment should be discontinued [see Dosage and Administration (2.7)]. Patients who experienced neurotoxicity in clinical trials and for whom follow-up information on the complete resolution of the event was available had spontaneous reversal of symptoms with a median of 9 weeks from onset (range: 0 to 106 weeks). Severe peripheral motor neuropathy mainly manifested as distal extremity weakness occurred in 4.4% (42/965).
5.10 Eye Disorders
Cystoid macular edema (CME) has been reported in patients treated with Docetaxel Injection. Patients with impaired vision should undergo a prompt and comprehensive ophthalmologic examination. If CME is diagnosed, Docetaxel Injection treatment should be discontinued and appropriate treatment initiated. Alternative non-taxane cancer treatment should be considered.
Severe asthenia has been reported in 14.9% (144/965) of metastatic breast cancer patients but has led to treatment discontinuation in only 1.8%. Symptoms of fatigue and weakness may last a few days up to several weeks and may be associated with deterioration of performance status in patients with progressive disease.
5.13 Alcohol Content
Cases of intoxication have been reported with some formulations of docetaxel due to the alcohol content. The alcohol content in a dose of Docetaxel Injection may affect the central nervous system and should be taken into account for patients in whom alcohol intake should be avoided or minimized. Consideration should be given to the alcohol content in Docetaxel Injection on the ability to drive or use machines immediately after the infusion. Each administration of Docetaxel Injection at 100 mg/m2 delivers 2.0 g/m2 of ethanol. For a patient with a BSA of 2.0 m2, this would deliver 4.0 grams of ethanol [see Description (11)]. Other docetaxel products may have a different amount of alcohol.