Overview | Schedule | Side Effects | Monitoring | Tips | Patient Assistance | Emotional Wellness | Drugs | References
Treatment Name: Carboplatin + Docetaxel (Carboplatin + Taxotere®)
How does Carboplatin + Docetaxel work?
Each of the medications in Carboplatin + Docetaxel are designed to slow the growth of and kill cancer cells.
Goals of therapy:
Carboplatin + Docetaxel is given to shrink lung tumor size and decrease symptoms of lung cancer. Carboplatin + Docetaxel is not commonly given with the goal of cure.
How is Carboplatin + Docetaxel therapy for lung cancer given?
- Docetaxel intravenous (I.V.) infusion over 60 minutes on Day 1
- Carboplatin I.V. infusion over 30 minutes on Day 1
- Dexamethasone 8 mg (two 4 mg tablets) by mouth twice daily the day before, the day of, and the day after docetaxel
Estimated total infusion time for this treatment:
- Up to 3 hours for each cycle. Typically premedications are given to help prevent nausea and vomiting before treatment and can add 30 minutes to treatment.
- Infusion times are based on clinical studies, but may vary depending on doctor preference or patient tolerability. Pre-medications and intravenous (I.V.) fluids, such as hydration, may add more time
Carboplatin + Docetaxel is usually given in an outpatient infusion center, allowing the person to go home afterwards. On occasion, it may be given in the hospital if someone is too sick.
Carboplatin + Docetaxel is repeated every 21 days. This is known as one Cycle. Each cycle may be repeated up to 4 to 6 times, depending upon the stage of the disease. Duration of therapy may last even longer depending upon response, tolerability, and number of cycles prescribed.
Click here for the common Carboplatin + Docetaxel starting doses.
What are the most common side effects from Carboplatin + Docetaxel for lung cancer?
In a multi-drug regimen, each medication has unique side effects. When these medicines are given together, drug-related side effects reported in clinical studies give the best estimate of what to expect. In clinical studies the most commonly reported side effects of Carboplatin + Docetaxel are shown here. Side effects sometimes have percentage ranges [example: 68-90%] because they differed between clinical studies:
- Hair loss (68-90%)
- Low white blood cells [Neutropenia] (74%)
- Nausea (62%)
- Mouth sores (48%)
- Infection (48%)
- Vomiting (42%)
- Tingling or numbness in fingers or toes (33%)
- Fluid retention (23%)
- Rash (19%)
- Hypersensitivity reactions (11%)
- Nail disorders (10%)
On average, between 9% of patients discontinue treatment due to unacceptable side effects.
Importantly, not all people who experience a side effect from Carboplatin + Docetaxel will experience it in the same way. It may be mild in some or severe in others, depending upon the individual. Everybody is different. Additionally, side effects may vary over time. For some, side effects may be a reason to delay or switch treatment, reduce the dose, or avoid treatment with a certain medication altogether.
Side effects may be treatable when they occur or preventable by taking certain medications before they happen. When medications are taken to prevent a problem, this is known as prophylaxis, or "prophy" for short.
After starting treatment with Carboplatin + Docetaxel, be sure to come back and watch all of the side effect videos shown below. Each of these videos contain valuable information about side effect management that will hopefully help you to both feel better and stay out of the hospital.
Watch videos on common Carboplatin + Docetaxel therapy side effects below
How often is monitoring needed?
Labs (blood tests) may be checked before treatment, and periodically in between cycles. Labs often include: Complete Blood Count (CBC), Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), plus any others your doctor may order.
How often is imaging needed?
Imaging may be checked before treatment, at the completion of treatment, or during treatment at your doctor’s discretion. Imaging may include: X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) scans, or positron emission tomography (PET) scans.
How might blood test results/imaging affect treatment?
Depending upon the results, your doctor may advise to continue Carboplatin + Docetaxel as planned, reduce the dose of future treatments, delay the next dose until the side effect goes away, or switch to an alternative therapy.
Questions to Ask Your...
A better understanding of your treatments will allow you to ask more questions of your healthcare team. We then hope that with the answers, you will get better results and have greater satisfaction with your care. Because we know it's not always easy to know what questions to ask, we've tried to make it easy for you!
Choose any healthcare provider below to see common questions that you may want to ask of this person. Then, either print each list to bring to your clinic visits, or copy the questions and send them as a message to your healthcare team through your electronic medical record.
What are the most important things to know about Carboplatin + Docetaxel while receiving therapy?
- You may have an allergic reaction while the docetaxel is being given. To prevent this, you will be given a steroid called dexamethasone to take at home before coming for your treatment. This medication is typically taken for 3 consecutive days starting 1 day prior to treatment
- Carboplatin hypersensitivity reaction can be severe. This reaction is most common after the 6th cycle, but can happen after any dose. Some institutions may use "desensitization protocols" to allow a person to keep receiving carboplatin after they have had a reaction. Desensitization is used if someone is receiving a good response from carboplatin, or if few other chemotherapy options are available
- A pharmacist should ALWAYS review your medication list to ensure that drug interactions are prevented or managed appropriately
- Clinical trials may exist for lung cancer Ask your doctor if any studies are currently enrolling in your area. If not, go to clinicaltrials.gov to search for other centers offering study medications.
Patient Assistance & Co-payment Coverage
Patients under the age of 65 years, or those with private insurance plans:
If you have insurance and are looking for patient assistance or copay assistance for Carboplatin + Docetaxel (Carboplatin + Taxotere®), we have provided links that may help.
Visit our Patient Assistance page and click the links to various patient assistance programs for help paying for Carboplatin + Docetaxel (Carboplatin + Taxotere®). Depending upon your income, they may be able to help cover the cost of:
For Branded medications (may be available for generic medications too), check with the manufacturer to determine if a co-pay card is offered and if it could reduce your monthly copay.
- If you are uninsured, check with the manufacturer to determine if you are eligible to receive medication at no cost.
Medicare and Medicaid patients (Patients 65 years or older):
The clinic providing treatment will likely pre-authorize medications and immune therapies such as Carboplatin + Docetaxel (Carboplatin + Taxotere®) and are the best source to help you understand drug cost.
- Ask to speak with a patient assistance technician or financial counselor at the clinic or hospital administering this therapy.
What is Emotional Wellness?
Emotional wellness is having a positive outlook balanced with a realistic understanding of current life events. This requires both an awareness and acceptance of your emotions. It is with this knowledge that you can develop a plan to take the necessary actions to positively impact your life.
Emotional wellness uses an ongoing process to continually reflect on the stressors of life in a constructive manner to move forward and create happiness.
Because emotional wellness is deeply connected with physical, social, and spiritual wellness, pursuing it often becomes particularly difficult in times of major illness. Despite this difficulty, working toward emotional wellness has been connected to improved treatment outcomes and a higher likelihood of achieving goals of therapy.
Learn more about pursuing emotional wellness while receiving treatment with Carboplatin + Docetaxel (Carboplatin + Taxotere®)