Taxol, a unique diterpene anticancer compound derived from the bark of the Taxus brevifolia (Pacific yew) tree, induces cytotoxicity by a novel mechanism of action. An antimicrotubule agent, Taxol promotes the formation and stabilization of the tubulin polymer unlike other anticancer agents that induce microtubule disassembly. Because of its poor aqueous solubility, Taxol is formulated as a solution in 50% Cremophor EL and 50% dehydrated alcohol, USP. The Cremophor EL and dehydrated alcohol vehicle used in the formulation of Taxol creates some interesting challenges for its preparation and administration. The pharmaceutical concerns associated with the preparation and administration of Taxol are discussed.
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