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Although it is often felt to be more potent than the similar drug paclitaxel, clinical studies have shown the effectiveness of each drug is nearly identical, but docetaxel has more severe side effects. Moreover, it appears tumors develop a tolerance to docetaxel more quickly. However, one of it's benefits is that it only has to be administered no more than once a week and, in many cases, only once every three weeks.
Like most chemotherapy agents that inhibit cell division, hair loss, bone marrow suppression and nausea are common side effects. It can also cause kidney damage in older patients. It cannot be used on patients with liver damage, or by pregnant women. It is also rarely used on patients under the age of 16 due to a lack of patient data.