This page is about a chemotherapy drug called cabazitaxel and its possible side effects. There is information about
Cabazitaxel is a type of taxane chemotherapy drug. The taxanes were originally developed from the yew tree. Cabazitaxel is also called Jevtana.
It is a treatment for advanced prostate cancer for men who have had hormone treatment and docetaxel chemotherapy treatments that are no longer working. While you are having cabazitaxel you also take steroid tablets (usually prednisone or prednisolone).
Research is also looking at cabazitaxel as a treatment for other types of cancer.
Cabazitaxel works by stopping cancer cells dividing into 2 new cells and so blocks the growth of the cancer.
You have cabazitaxel into your bloodstream (intravenously) as a drip. It takes about an hour. You can have it through a thin, short tube (a cannula) put into a vein in your arm each time you have treatment. Or you may have it through a central line, a portacath, or a PICC line. These are long, plastic tubes that give the drugs directly into a large vein in your chest. You have the tube put in before or during your course of treatment and it stays in place as long as you need it.
You can read our information about having chemotherapy into a vein.
You have cabazitaxel every 3 weeks.
You take steroids as tablets each day.
You have blood tests before starting treatment and regularly during your treatment. The tests check your levels of blood cells and other substances in the blood. They also check how well your liver and kidneys are working.
We've listed the side effects associated with cabazitaxel. You can use the links to find out more about each side effect. Where there is no link, please go to our information about cancer drug side effects or use the search box at the top of the page.
You may have a few side effects. They may be mild or more severe. A side effect may get better or worse through your course of treatment. Or more side effects may develop as the course goes on. This depends on
- How many times you've had the drug before
- Your general health
- The amount of the drug you have (the dose)
The side effects may be different if you are having cabazitaxel with other medicines.
Tell your doctor or nurse straight away if any of the side effects get severe.
More than 10 in every 100 people have one or more of the side effects listed below.
- An increased risk of getting an infection from a drop in white blood cells – it is harder to fight infections and you can become very ill. You may have headaches, aching muscles, a cough, a sore throat, pain passing urine, or you may feel cold and shivery. If you have a severe infection this can be life threatening. Contact your treatment centre straight away if you have any of these effects or if your temperature goes above 38°C
- Tiredness and breathlessness due to a drop in red blood cells (anaemia) – you may need a blood transfusion
- Bruising more easily due to a drop in platelets – you may have nosebleeds, or bleeding gums after brushing your teeth. Or you may have lots of tiny red spots or bruises on your arms or legs (known as petechiae)
- Diarrhoea occurs in just under 5 out of 10 people (50%)
- Tiredness during and after treatment affects about 4 out of 10 people
- Feeling weak occurs in 2 out of 10 people (20%)
- Feeling or being sick happens in more than 3 out of 10 people (30%)
- Constipation affects about 2 out of 10 people (20%)
- Shortness of breath occurs in just over 1 in 10 people (10%)
- Blood in the urine (haematuria)
- Loss of appetite
- Taste changes
- A cough
- Abdominal (tummy) pain
- Short term hair loss
- Back pain or joint pain – talk to your doctor or nurse as they can prescribe painkillers to help
Between 1 and 10 in every 100 people have one or more of these.
- Urine infections – symptoms include passing urine frequently, pain when passing urine, and a raised temperature. If you have any of these contact your doctor or nurse straight away
- An allergic reaction while having the drip – this nearly always happens in the first 10 minutes. If you are going to have a reaction, it is most likely the first or second time you have the drug. Your nurse will monitor you closely for this. Let your treatment team know straight away if you feel breathless or have swelling of the face, lips, throat or eyelids
- Numbness or tingling in the fingers and toes – you may have trouble with fiddly tasks such as doing up buttons. This can start a few days or weeks after treatment and usually goes away within a few months of the treatment finishing
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Changes in blood pressure
- Indigestion or belching
- Piles (haemorrhoids) – let your doctor or nurse know if you have any pain when opening your bowels
- Muscle spasms
- Hot, flushed skin
- Feeling confused or anxious
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- A feeling of the heart beating very fast (palpitations)
- Risk of a blood clot in the leg – let your doctor or nurse know straight away if you have a sore, red hot area on your leg
- Swollen feet or legs due to fluid build up
Rarely, people having cabazitaxel have a hole in the stomach, food pipe, or bowel. This is called gastrointestinal perforation. Let your doctor or nurse know straight away if you have severe stomach pain or stomach pain that doesn’t go away. If the perforation is not treated it can be life threatening.
Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about all your side effects so they can help you manage them. They can give you advice or reassure you. Your nurse will give you a contact number to ring if you have any questions or problems. If in doubt, call them.
Tell your doctor about any other medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter remedies. Some drugs can react together.
Cabazitaxel may have a harmful effect on a baby developing in the womb. You should not father a child whilst taking this drug or for at least 6 months afterwards. Discuss contraception with your doctor before you start your treatment if there is any possibility that your partner could become pregnant.
Alcohol and cabazitaxel
Cabazitaxel contains a small amount of alcohol, equal to 14 ml of beer or 6 ml of wine. This medicine may be harmful for people with alcohol problems.
You should not have immunisations with live vaccines while you are having chemotherapy or for at least 6 months afterwards. In the UK, these include rubella, mumps, measles (usually given together as MMR), BCG, yellow fever and Zostavax (shingles vaccine).
You can have other vaccines, but they may not give you as much protection as usual until your immune system has fully recovered from your chemotherapy. It is safe to have the flu vaccine.
It is safe for you to be in contact with other people who've had live vaccines as injections. There can be problems with vaccines you take by mouth (oral vaccines), but not many people in the UK have these now. So there is usually no problem in being with any baby or child who has recently had any vaccination in the UK. You might need to make sure that you aren't in contact with anyone who has had oral polio, cholera or typhoid vaccination recently, particularly if you live abroad.
This page does not list all the very rare side effects of this treatment that are very unlikely to affect you. For further information look at the Electronic Medicines Compendium website at www.medicines.org.uk.
If you have a side effect not mentioned here that you think may be due to this treatment you can report it to the Medicines Health and Regulatory Authority (MHRA) at
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