Treatment Name: Docetaxel (Taxotere®) + Prednisone
Docetaxel (Taxotere®) + Prednisone is a Chemotherapy Regimen for Prostate Cancer
How does Docetaxel + Prednisone work?
Docetaxel is designed to directly kill prostate cancer cells. Prednisone is designed to slow the growth of prostate cancer cells by decreasing testosterone production from the adrenal glands.
Goals of therapy:
Docetaxel + Prednisone has been shown to increase survival time and improve quality of life, but is not commonly given with the goal of cure for prostate cancer.
- Docetaxel intravenous (I.V.) infusion given over one hour on Day 1
- Dexamethasone 8 mg (two x 4 mg tablets) by mouth twelve hours, three hours, and one hour before the docetaxel infusion
- Prednisone 5 mg tablet by mouth twice daily for 21 days in a row
Docetaxel is usually given in an infusion center, or clinic. Docetaxel is repeated once every 21 days. This is known as one Cycle. Typical duration of therapy is usually until the medication no longer works or the patient cannot tolerate it.
Prednisone is usually taken at home.
Click here for common starting doses.
In clinical studies the most commonly reported side effects with Docetaxel + Prednisone are shown here:
- Anemia [low red blood cell count] (67%)
- Hair loss (65%)
- Fatigue (53%)
- Nausea and Vomiting (42%)
- Low white blood cell count (41%)
- Infection (32%)
- Diarrhea (32%)
- Sensory nerve pain (30%)
- Changes in finger and toe nails (30%)
- Mouth pain (20%)
- Swelling of the arms and legs (19%)
- Change in taste (18%)
- Loss of appetite (17%)
- Shortness of breath (15%)
- Muscle pain (14%)
- Decreased heart function (decreased LVEF) (10%)
- Tearing of eyes (10%)
Percentage of patients that discontinued the study due to unacceptable side effects was 11%
How often is monitoring needed?
Labs (blood tests) may be checked before treatment and prior to each cycle of Docetaxel + Prednisone. Labs often include: Complete Blood Count (CBC), Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), and prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels, plus any others your doctor may order.
How often is imaging needed?
A PET or CT scan may be required before treatment, or at intervals determined by your doctor.
How might blood test results/imaging affect treatment?
Depending upon the results, your doctor may advise to continue chemotherapy as planned, or delay or switch therapy if it is not working.
- Remember to take the dexamethasone tablets the day before and day of treatment with docetaxel. This drug helps prevent infusion reactions. If you forget be sure to alert the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist at the infusion center. An intravenous dose of dexamethasone may be given if you forget a dose(s) at home
- For twice daily prednisone tablets, take the second dose with dinner. Prednisone makes it difficult to sleep so taking the second dose earlier in the evening may help reduce trouble sleeping
- A pharmacist should ALWAYS review your medication list to ensure that drug interactions are prevented or managed appropriately
- Clinical trials may exist for Prostate 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 Docetaxel (Taxotere®) + Prednisone, 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 Docetaxel (Taxotere®) + Prednisone. 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 Docetaxel (Taxotere®) + Prednisone 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 Docetaxel (Taxotere®) + Prednisone