Abraxane vs Taxol
Both Abraxane and Taxol are chemotherapeutic drugs. Taxol has been in the market for a long time and Abraxane is a new entry. It is a new modification of the existing drug with a different manufacturing strategy. Both drugs are used to treat breast cancer and are effective. There are advantages as well as disadvantages associated with both drugs as in any anticancer medicines.
These cytotoxic medicines arrest the growth of cells in case of cancerous tissues. They essentially differ in the component they carry and their effectiveness. A few side effects which were part of the old medicine paciltaxel were done away with the introduction of new generation anticancer drugs.
Abraxane is paciltaxel bound to albumin. The delivery of drug to target cells is easier when attached to albumin. The albumin receptors are common on the surface of tumour cells which facilitates the binding of drug molecule. Inside the tumour cell, a tumour specific protein called SPARC binds to the drug. SPARC usually supplies the nutrients required for the tumour cells. Thus the administration of Abraxane hinders the supply of nutrients while getting effectively delivered at the target cells.
The drug is built on a natural albumin platform devoid of chemical solvents and there is little need for the concomitant or prior medications with anti-hypersensitive drugs. Abraxane is the drug of choice in first and second line of treatment in metastatic breast cancer and is approved in majority of the countries.
Taxol is an antineoplastic drug used in chemotherapy. It is an alkaloid derived from plants and prevents microtubule formation in cells. The drug has proven effects on breast, ovarian, bladder, prostate, esophageal, lung and melanoma cancers. Recently the drug is found to be effective in Kaposi’s sarcoma.
The drug is solvent based and should be carefully administered since it is an irritant. The dosage and duration of administration of drug depends on the Body Mass Index and the severity of the disease. Side effects are common although the symptoms are either one or two in most cases. The most common side effects include hair loss, peripheral neuropathy, vomiting, diarrhoea, myalagia, arthralagia, low blood counts and hypersensitivity.
Usually the drug requires the administration of drugs for hypersensitivity reactions prior to the chemotherapy.
Difference between Abraxane and Taxol
Abraxane is based on albumin as carrier vehicle for the delivery of the drug. Taxol is chemical or solvent based.
Abraxane requires less time usually 30 minutes than Taxol. Due to the chemical componenets, Taxol is administered carefully and takes more than 3 hours for a single administration.
Abraxane is modified with a natural protein albumin and hence less prone to hypersensitive reactions. This eliminates the need for drugs such as antihistamines and steroids before the schedule which prevent the occurrence of hypersensitivity.
Although there have been no proven studies on the difference in efficacy levels, generally Abraxane has been found to be more beneficial due to its non toxic nature and speed of delivery of drug.
Due to its non toxicity the Abraxane is found to have little or no side effects. Since it does not require premedication, there are no side effects associated with these drugs also.
The efficiency of any anticancer drug is based on the increase in longevity or survival time. Abraxane in the recent clinical trials has proved to prolong the survival of the patients by lessening the spread of cancerous tissues to a considerable extent.
The complete cure or response rate from the drugs were found to be higher for Abraxane almost twice that of Taxol.
Taxol being the first generation drug in chemotherapy and its simple manufacturing is less costly than Abraxane
Abraxane when compared with Taxol proves superior in efficacy and offer less side effects. The drug is expensive but promises the patients with a higher rate of recovery and longevity compared to the other chemotherapeutic drugs including Taxol. The effects of the drug on other types of cancer have not been proved, yet for the breast and ovarian cancers it is being increasingly prescribed.
There are less side effects including the grade 4 neutropenia and typical muscle and joint pain associated with lengthy chemotherapeutic schedules. These advantages may be the reasons behind the drug’s ability to capture almost 35 % of the market within a short time since its introduction. The drug has proven effects in other cancers also including the lung cancer.