Paclitaxel Mechanism of Action:
The main purpose of paclitaxel is to kill cancer cells. When it comes to cancer, the goal is not necessarily just killing all the cancer cells. There are other goals such as preventing cancer from spreading or even slowing down its growth.
One of the most common ways to prevent cancer from spreading is through radiation therapy. Radiation therapy causes damage to healthy tissue. However, it does not always cause immediate death of the cancer cells. Instead, the damage caused by radiation therapy may lead to cell death but at a slower rate than normal cellular aging.
In other words, the cancer cells may survive, but they are unable to spread and cause further harm.
But how does this relate to paclitaxel?
Paclitaxel works by preventing the cancer cells from separating. The cell wall of paclitaxel is very rigid and prevents the cancer cells from moving away from the drug. The rigid cell wall also prevents normal cell wall expansion, which would otherwise be needed for growth. With the inability to separate or to grow, the cancer is unable to further spread.
Paclitaxel is a medication that can be used to prevent the spread of cancer cells. It does not necessarily kill the cancer immediately, but it does prevent it from spreading throughout the body. In most cases, you can think of this as a treatment that is used to slow down cancer growth.
Another common treatment method is to prevent cancer from spreading through surgery. This is a common treatment for women with ovarian cancer. In this case, a physician will go in and remove the ovary and associated tissues. This may sound extreme, but it is quite common and can lead to long-term survival from ovarian cancer.
How does paclitaxel fit in with surgery?
Paclitaxel is an injected drug that can help prevent the spread of cancer cells through the body. In some cases, paclitaxel is injected directly into the ovary to cause immediate death to those cells. This can be a more targeted approach, so side effects due to excessive cell death can be limited.
Another benefit of injecting paclitaxel directly into the ovary is that a smaller dose can be used. A smaller dose can lead to less severe side effects such as hair loss and fatigue. It can also lower the cost of the paclitaxel treatment.
Not all patients are good candidates for this type of treatment, and in some cases it may not even be necessary. However, if you are a candidate for this type of treatment, it may be an option for your physician to explore.
How does paclitaxel work in treating cancer?
Paclitaxel works by preventing the cancerous cells from spreading and growing throughout the body. It does this by stopping the cell wall from growing normally and separate from the rest of the cell.
The result is that the cancerous cells are unable to move away from the drug and they are unable to expand. This causes cell death at a much higher rate than normal cell death due to aging.
This prevents the cancer from spreading through the body and may even cause death of the cancerous tissue.
Is paclitaxel common?
Paclitaxel is not a common chemotherapy drug. In fact, it is mostly used in combination drugs to treat ovarian and lung cancer. It can also be used to treat AIDS related lymphoma.
Is it good medication for cancer treatment?
It is a good treatment option, but it is not the best. It can be used to treat multiple types of cancer and has a fairly high success rate. The main side effect is hair loss and fatigue. This means that it is a fairly safe treatment option.
What are its side effects?
The most common side effect of this drug is hair loss and fatigue. Hair loss occurs because the drug kills the hair follicles, which are responsible for hair growth. Fatigue is caused by the mechanism of action of the drug.
How much does paclitaxel cost?
The average price for a single dose of paclitaxel is $10, but this can vary depending on your health insurance and where you get the injections.
Does it have any interactions?
Yes, there are several drugs and supplements that should not be taken while you are undergoing treatment with paclitaxel. These drugs can cause excessive cell death and prevent the paclitaxel from working.
These drugs and supplements include:
How is paclitaxel administered?
Paclitaxel is most commonly injected into a patient intravenously. It can also be injected directly into the cancerous tissue or into the abdomen to prevent the cancer from spreading.
Is it safe to take paclitaxel?
For the most part, paclitaxel is safe to take and rarely causes death or long-term issues. The only notable side effect is hair loss, which can be prevented with the use of hats or wigs.
Does it make you feel sick?
Some patients report feeling slightly nauseous after receiving treatment. This feeling usually passes quickly and requires no further treatment.
Does it affect fertility?
Yes, paclitaxel can affect human fertility. You may wish to discuss with your physician if you are trying to conceive after undergoing treatment with this drug.
Is the treatment successful?
The success rate with paclitaxel is around 70%. This means that about 30% of the patients who undergo treatment with this drug may experience cancer cell death.
Does it stop the spread of cancer?
The drug can help to slow down the spread of cancer, but it will not prevent it. It will continue to move through the body and kill other cells. It just won’t grow and spread at a fast rate.
Is it used for any other conditions?
There are no known conditions that this drug is used to treat. It is only used to treat and cure cancerous tumors or cells.
Does it cause hair loss?
This drug causes hair loss. If you are undergoing treatment and start to notice that your hair is falling out, you should speak to your physician immediately.
Is the drug only used in cancer treatment?
While this drug is most commonly used to treat cancer, it can also be used to treat a skin condition called psoriasis. This condition causes the skin to develop red patches and scales.
Is it effective?
It is effective in treating cancer, but not always effective in treating psoriasis.
Are there any replacement drugs?
There are no known drugs or supplements that can replace this one. It is used in such a specific manner that there is no need for a replacement, nor is one available.
Is there a generic version?
There is currently no generic version of paclitaxel.
Is it safe to take while breastfeeding?
There is no known information regarding the safety of paclitaxel while breastfeeding. You should always consult with your physician before taking any medication while breastfeeding.
What if I’m pregnant?
Talk to your doctor before taking this medication if you’re pregnant or think you may be.
Are there any withdrawal symptoms?
You should not experience any withdrawal symptoms upon stopping this medication. If you still have cancer cells in your body, they will continue to grow and spread.
What if I’m allergic to it?
You should not take this medication if you are allergic to it or any of the ingredients in it. If you suffer from any allergies, you should let your physician know about them before starting this or any other medication.
What if I have an allergic reaction?
Allergic reactions can sometimes happen with this drug. If you notice signs of an allergic reaction, such as a rash or difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention.
What are some non-prescription alternatives?
There are no alternatives to this prescription. You cannot get it in a non-prescription form.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek immediate medical attention if you believe that you’ve overdosed.
What are some common side effects?
The most common side effects include hair loss, frequent menstrual bleeding, feeling tired all the time, and feeling sick to your stomach. There are a number of other side effects as well.
In what order are the side effects listed in the information sheet?
The most common side effects are listed first.
How long does it take to work?
This medication can take up to three days to begin working. If there are no signs of progress, you should contact your physician immediately.
Does it treat the underlying cause of cancer?
It treats the symptoms of cancer, but not the cause. The cause of cancer is still a mystery to modern science.
How does it kill cancer cells?
It interferes with the production of DNA in cancer cells, which effectively stops their growth and prevents them from spreading.
What are the different types of chemotherapy?
There are several types of chemotherapy, including:
Alkylating agents: work by changing the DNA structure of cancer cells so they cannot reproduce.
Antitumor antibiotics: work by stopping the growth of cancer cells.
Plant-derived compounds: induce programmed cell death (apoptosis) in cancer cells.
Topoisomerase inhibitors: prevent cancer cells from replicating.
Vinca alkaloids: block the growth of DNA in cancer cells, thereby stopping their growth and division.
How does it work for my kind of cancer?
Chemotherapy is known as a “cell poison”, since it kills all rapidly-dividing cells in the body. It is still the most effective treatment for most types of cancer.
What if I have a cold or the flu?
You should not take this medication if you have an active infection or a fever. Wait until you have recovered before taking this medication.
What should I do if I forget to take a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose.
What are the side effects?
Some of the more common side effects include:
Nausea and vomiting
Loss of appetite
Feeling tired or fatigued
Fever or chills due to infection
Breathing difficulties due to chest congestion
Sore mouth and throat
These are just some of the more common side effects. The information sheet has a more comprehensive list.
Why would it say not to take this medication with food?
Your chemotherapy medication could be severely affected by some foods and beverages. It’s important you avoid anything with a high fat content, as this may increase the chances that your medication will not work.
When should I seek immediate medical attention?
You experience chest pain.
You feel dizzy and lightheaded.
You have trouble breathing.
Mucus or blood is coming out of your nose or mouth.
You vomit blood or material that looks like coffee grounds.
You feel a constant pain in your chest that does not go away.
Your lips or fingertips turn blue.
You experience a fast heart rate for no reason.
Your legs or arms feel numb or tingly.
You feel a lump on your neck or chest that was not there before.
How can I reduce the risk of side effects?
Talk to your physician about which medications are likely to cause the least amount of side effects for you. Some side effects can be alleviated by taking medications to counter them.
What if I have more questions?
You may call your physician or contact the Cancer Information Service (cancersupport.nofee.org).
Sources & references used in this article:
- Solid-state characterization of paclitaxel (Y Yamada, K Shirao, A Ohtsu… – Annals of …, 2001 – European Society for Medical …)
- Divide and conquer: new generation of drugs targets mitosis (RT Liggins, WL Hunter, HM Burt – Journal of pharmaceutical sciences, 1997 – Elsevier)
- Paclitaxel nanoparticles for the potential treatment of brain tumors (K Garber – Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2005 – academic.oup.com)
- Paclitaxel production using co-culture of Taxus suspension cells and paclitaxel-producing endophytic fungi in a co-bioreactor (JM Koziara, PR Lockman, DD Allen… – Journal of controlled …, 2004 – Elsevier)