Invokana (canagliflozin) belongs to a class of diabetes medications called sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. Invokana is prescribed to patients with Type 2 diabetes to reduce the amount of sugar that is reabsorbed into the blood through the kidneys. When a patient takes Ivokana, sugar is not reabsorbed, but instead is secreted by the kidneys so that it leaves the body during urination. This results in lowered levels of glucose in the blood.
Invokana was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) in March 2013. Just two years later, in May 2015, the FDA issued a drug safety communication warning patients and doctors that Invokana and other SGLT2 inhibitors may lead to a serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
DKA is a serious medical condition that occurs when the body breaks down fat for energy. In patients taking Invokana fat is broken down for energy because the body lacks the insulin necessary to use sugar (glucose) as a fuel source. The breakdown of fat produces waste products called ketones, which can build up in the body and become toxic. Many patients have reportedly developed DKA after taking Invokana for approximately two weeks
Warning signs of DKA include abdominal pain, aching muscles or muscle stiffness, confusion, difficulty breathing, flushed face, frequent urination or thirst that lasts for a day or more, fruity-smelling breath, nausea, unusual fatigue or sleepiness, and vomiting. The FDA urges patients who are taking Invokana and suffering from these symptoms to seek medical attention immediately, as DKA, which can cause a patient to go into a diabetic coma, require extended hospitalization, and can even result in death, is considered a medical emergency.
Invokana may also cause several other serious side effects. For example, clinical trials designed to test the safety and efficacy of Invokana found that, compared to patients taking a placebo, patients taking Invokana are twice as likely to suffer a leg, foot, or toe amputation. Similarly, in September 2015, after clinical studies showed an increased occurrence of bone fractures among patients taking Invokana, the FDA required the addition of a fracture risk warning to Invokana’s label. Other side effects of Invokana may include serious urinary tract infections, kidney damage and kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke.
Several lawsuits have been filed by patients who took Invokana and were injured. These lawsuits allege that Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of Invokana, failed to warn patients and physicians of the increased risks of kidney failure, ketoacidosis, leg and foot amputations, and heart attack. Plaintiffs in these cases allege that if Johnson & Johnson had provided appropriate warnings, then doctors would have prescribed a medication other than Invokana, or at least would have monitored their health more closely in order to detect potential medication complications earlier.
If you or a loved one has taken Invokana and experienced any adverse side effects, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Canepa, Riedy, Abele, & Fischer are currently offering free case evaluations to patients who have been harmed by Invokana. To learn more about your legal options, please contact us for a free consultation.