Structural formula for Paclitaxel

Paclitaxel (Taxol) is an antineoplastic medication used as an injection to treat cancer of the breast and ovaries.

It must not be used in pregnancy or children, and only with caution in breastfeeding and neuropathy (nerve disease). Regular blood tests are necessary to check the function of blood cells.

Common side effects include:

  • flushes,
  • rash,
  • shortness of breath,
  • chest pain,
  • fainting,
  • joint and muscle pain.

Less common effects may include:

  • low blood pressure,
  • slow heart rate,
  • damage to nerves (pins and needles sensation, numbness),
  • damage to liver,
  • jaundice (yellow skin).

The active ingredients were originally derived from the bark of the Pacific yew tree.

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