Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Paclitaxel


Last updated on 04/08/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Paclitaxel


BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Taxol 泰素, Anzatax 安素泰

DRUG CLASS: Antineoplastics

SUB CLASS: Mitotic inhibitors

USED FOR: Cytotoxic chemotherapy, treatment of breast cancer, treatment of ovarian cancer, treatment of lung cancer, treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), treatment of pancreatic cancer

AVAILABLE DOSAGE FORMS: 6 mg/ml, 30 mg/5ml, 100 mg/16.7ml, 150 mg/25ml (injections)

What is Paclitaxel for?

Paclitaxel belongs to a class of medications called mitotic inhibitors. It works by interfering with the cell cycle and prevents cell division. It is used alone or together with other anticancer medications to treat breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer. Paclitaxel may also be used to treat Kaposi’s sarcoma (a cancer of the lymph and blood vessel linings) in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

How to use it?

Paclitaxel is injected into a vein via a drip as directed by your doctor. Before you start using Paclitaxel, you may be given other medicines to prevent or lessen the side effects of Paclitaxel. The dosage of Paclitaxel is calculated by your doctor based on your total body surface area. Your doctor will advise you on the dosage and frequency depending on your condition.

Treatment of breast cancer
As adjunct to Doxorubicin: 175 mg/m2 via IV infusion over 3 hours once every 3 weeks for 4 courses.

Treatment of metastatic breast cancer
175 mg/m2 via IV infusion over 3 hours once every 3 weeks.

Treatment of advanced ovarian cancer
As monotherapy: 175 mg/m2 via IV infusion over 3 hours once every 3 weeks.
As adjunct to Cisplatin: 135 mg/m2 via IV infusion over 24 hours every 3 weeks.

Treatment of non-small cell lung cancer
As adjunct to Cisplatin: 135 mg/m2 via IV infusion over 24 hours every 3 weeks.

What are the side effects of Paclitaxel?

Common side effects of Paclitaxel include headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, loss of appetite, cough, stomach pain, fever, joint/muscle/back pain, swelling, increased thirst, dry mouth, hair loss and nail discoloration.

Who should not take Paclitaxel?

– People allergic to Paclitaxel or any component of the formulation
– Patients with severely reduced liver function or liver failure
– Patients with serious uncontrolled infection

Pharmacist Tips:

– This medication can cause drowsiness. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how you respond to Paclitaxel.
– Paclitaxel will affect your fertility. Men and women should avoid pregnancy and use effective contraception during treatment and at least for 6 months after the final dose.
– You will need regular blood tests during Paclitaxel treatment. Your doctor may order other tests too.
– Do not breastfeed while using this medicine.

Common dosing schedule:
Your doctor will advise you on the dosing schedule depending on your condition.

Some common medications Paclitaxel may interact with:
– Antibiotics, e.g. Erythromycin, Rifampicin
– Antifungals, e.g. Ketoconazole, Itraconazole, Voriconazole
– Anticonvulsants, e.g. Phenobarbital, Phenytoin, Sodium Valproate
– Antiretrovirals, e.g. Ritonavir, Efavirenz
– Other Cancer drugs, e.g. Cisplatin, Doxorubicin

Paclitaxel may interact with many other medications. Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Paclitaxel in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Paclitaxel is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Paclitaxel in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.