Why is it prescribed?

Paclitaxel is used in combination with other medications for the treatment of Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)

Products that have this ingredient include •Paclitaxel Injection •

See other drugs used in the treatment of •non-small cell lung cancer •

More common side effects - talk to health-care providers if bothersome:

  •  muscle or joint pain on the arms and legs
  •  nausea and vomiting
  •  hair loss
  •  diarrhea
  •  changes in skin or nail appearance
  •  soreness or ulceration of the mouth.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • blurred vision or other visual changes
  • cough or hoarseness with fever or chills
  • fever or chills
  • fast or irregular heartbeat, or lightheadedness occurring during your treatment
  • pain or redness at the site of the injection
  • severe weakness or tiredness
  • signs of clotting problems (e.g., unusual nosebleeds, bruising, blood in urine, coughing blood,  bleeding gums, cuts that don’t stop bleeding)
  • signs of infection (symptoms may include fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness)
  • signs of liver problems (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools)
  • shortness of breath or wheezing
  • symptoms of a urinary tract infection (e.g. pain when urinating, urinating more often than usual, low back or flank pain)

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • chest pain
  • seizures
  • signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
  • signs of bleeding in the stomach (e.g., bloody, black, or  tarry stools, spitting up of blood, vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds)
  • signs of a heart attack (e.g., chest pain or pressure, pain extending through shoulder and arm, nausea and vomiting, sweating)
  • signs of a severe skin reaction such as blistering, peeling, a rash covering a large area of the body, a rash that spreads quickly, or a rash combined with fever or discomfort

This medicine belongs to a group of medicines called antineoplastic or cytotoxic medicines. It works by killing cancer cells and stopping cancer cells from growing and multiplying.


Do not use paclitaxel if:

  • you have an allergy to any medicine containing paclitaxel or any medicines containing PEG 35 castor oil (Cremophor® EL), such as cyclosporin injection or teniposide injection.
  • you have a very low white blood cell (WBC) count.
  • you have an infection or high temperature. Your doctor may decide to delay your treatment until the infection has gone. A mild illness, such as a cold, is not usually a reason to delay treatment.

Discuss use of paclitaxel with your physician or pharmacist if you have or have had;

  • liver disease
  • heart problems
  • any blood disorder with a reduced number of red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets
  • any disease of the nerves
  • lowered immunity due to diseases such as HIV/AIDS
  • Lowered immunity due to treatment with medicines such as cyclosporin, or other medicines used to treat cancer (including radiation therapy)

Drug interactions - These medications may interact with paclitaxel.  Consult your physician or pharmacist if you are taking:

  • cisplatin
  • doxorubicin
  • cimetidine 
  • ketoconazole 
  • verapamil 
  • diazepam 
  • quinidine 
  • dexamethasone,c
  • yclosporine
  • teniposide
  • etoposide
  • vincristine
  • testosterone
  • 17-ethinyl estradiol
  • retinoic acid
  • quercetin

Use in pregnancy: Although studies of use of this medication by pregnant women are lacking, paclitaxel may cause harm to a developing baby and should not be used during pregnancy. 

Use in breastfeeding: It is not known if paclitaxel passes into breast milk. Use in not recommended.  If breastfeeding, discuss use with physician

Page Last Updated: 25/11/2015