TAXOL® (paclitaxel)

Information in this fact sheet is meant to assist you in making decisions about your treatment. Always make medication decisions in consultation with your healthcare team.

What is Taxol® used for?

Taxol® is a chemotherapy used to treat cancer of the ovary, the breast, non- small cell cancer of the lung, Karposi’s Sarcoma and prostate cancer.

Taxol® may be used alone or in combination with other anticancer agents.

Taxol® is not recommended for use in children as its safety and effectiveness in patients under 18 years of age has not been established.

What does Taxol® look like?

Taxol® is a clear liquid originally derived from the Yew tree.

How is Taxol® given?

Taxol® is administered into the vein (intravenous) in a hospital clinic. The dose is worked out based on your body weight and height and dose may vary from person to person.

Taxol® only can be administered by a doctor or a nurse. Administration will usually occur at three week intervals. The administration of Taxol® requires all patients to be given premedication prior to Taxol®.

What are the common side effects?

Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you have:

  • severe stomach pain
  • severe diarrhoea.

The most common side effects of Taxol® include:

  • low red blood cell count (anemia), feeling weak or tired
  • hair loss
  • numbness, tingling, or burning in your hands or feet (neuropathy)
  • joint and muscle pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • hypersensitivity reaction – trouble breathing; sudden swelling of your face, lips, tongue, throat, or trouble swallowing; hives (raised bumps) or rash
  • diarrhoea
  • mouth or lip sores (mucositis)
  • infections – if you have a fever (temperature above 38°C) or any other signs of infection, tell your healthcare provider immediately
  • swelling of your hands, face, or feet
  • bleeding events
  • irritation at the injection site
  • low blood pressure (hypotension).

These are not all the possible side effects of Taxol®. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or that do not go away.

What are the less common side effects?

Warning: Taxol® (paclitaxel) should be administered under the supervision of a physician experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents. Appropriate management of complications is possible only when adequate diagnostic and treatment facilities are readily available.

Anaphylaxis and severe hypersensitivity reactions characterised by difficult or laboured breathing (dyspnea) and hypotension requiring treatment, angioedema, and generalised hives (urticaria) have occurred in 2 to 4% of patients receiving Taxol® in clinical trials. Fatal reactions have occurred in patients despite premedication.

Patients who experience severe hypersensitivity reactions to Taxol® should not be rechallenged with the drug.

It is recommended that frequent peripheral blood cell counts be performed on all patients receiving Taxol®.


E.R. Squibb & Sons, L.L.C. May 2011, TAXOL® (paclitaxel) INJECTION (Patient Information Included), E.R. Squibb & Sons, L.L.C., viewed 3rd July 2013.

Macmillan 2011, Paclitaxel (Taxol®), Macmillan Cancer Support 1st Dec 2011, viewed 3rd July 2013.

TGA Consumer Medical Information (CMI), Nov 2012, Taxol®, Therapeutic Goods Administration Nov 2012, Canberra, viewed 3rd July 2013.


Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia develops materials based on best available evidence and takes advice from recognised experts in the field in developing such resource; however it cannot guarantee and assumes no legal responsibility for the currency or completeness of the information.