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What you need to know about paclitaxel

What is paclitaxel?

What is paclitaxel?

Paclitaxel was discovered in 1967 in the bark of the Pacific yew tree. The drug blocks a cell’s ability to divide and is often used to treat cancer. For cancer patients, the paclitaxel dose is large and goes throughout the body. The Zilver PTX stent carries a much smaller paclitaxel dose that is applied directly to the artery wall. Your blood may wash away a small amount of the drug.

How does paclitaxel work?

The paclitaxel on Zilver PTX starts to go into your artery wall as soon as your doctor places the stent. Once inside a cell, paclitaxel blocks parts of cells that are involved in cell division. When the cells can’t divide, the excess growth that can close your artery is prevented. Over time, a kind of cell growth that is good takes place. The inner lining of the artery grows over the stent and reduces the risk of blood-clot formation.

Risks of paclitaxel:

The following could happen to you if you get a stent coated with paclitaxel:

  • You could have an allergic reaction to paclitaxel.
  • You could experience unwanted hair loss.
  • Your number of red blood cells could decrease.
  • Your bone marrow could produce fewer blood cells.
  • You could need a blood transfusion.
  • You could experience symptoms in your stomach and intestines.
  • Your number of white blood cells or platelets could decrease.
  • Your liver function could change.
  • The wall of your artery could die or become damaged or inflamed.
  • You could experience joint pain or muscle pain.
  • Your nerves could become damaged.

A signal for increased risk of late mortality has been identified following the use of paclitaxel-coated balloons and paclitaxel-eluting stents for femoropopliteal arterial disease beginning approximately 2-3 years post-treatment compared with the use of non-drug coated devices. There is uncertainty regarding the magnitude and mechanism for the increased late mortality risk, including the impact of repeat paclitaxel-coated device exposure. Physicians should discuss this late mortality signal and the benefits and risks of available treatment options with their patients.

Remember, every patient is different, and your doctor knows you best. After reading the information on this site, make an appointment to talk to your doctor to help you make the right decision about any treatments or procedures.

What you need to know about paclitaxel, a drug used on some balloons and stents to treat PAD in the superficial femoral artery.