Invokana is a drug that’s supposed to help Type 2 diabetics lower their blood sugar levels. Since it was approved for use in the United States in 2013, millions of diabetics have turned to Invokana to control blood sugar and live a healthy life. Unfortunately, diabetics were not warned of extremely dangerous side effects—including ketoacidosis, a condition that can cause diabetic coma and death.
If you experienced any serious side effects while using Invokana, there’s a good chance you’re eligible for a financial recovery to pay for your medical costs, lost work time, and other losses. The attorneys of John Foy & Associates are here to help. We are one of the largest and most seasoned medical injury law firms in the country. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get a free consultation today.
Why is Invokana prescribed?
Invokana is the brand name of canagliflozin, a drug for type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a condition where the body either cannot produce insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it has. Insulin is vital to the body as it helps cells absorb glucose (blood sugar). If glucose cannot be absorbed by cells, it remains in the bloodstream and builds up to dangerous levels. Without treatment, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney damage, nerve damage, stroke, coma and death.
Canagliflozin or Invokana is the first of a new class of diabetes drugs called SGLT2 inhibitors. These drugs work by allowing the kidney to remove glucose from the blood and eliminate it in your urine. Without the drug, your kidney tries to re-absorb glucose and keep it in the bloodstream. Invokana prevents this by blocking a protein in the kidney called SGLT2.
Invokana is not meant to treat diabetes single-handedly. It’s meant to be combined with a healthy diet that keeps blood sugar from spiking, and regular exercise. But it is supposed to help the body get rid of extra glucose and avoid the most dangerous risks of diabetes. Unfortunately, it can become life threatening in its own right.
What problems or risks are associated with Invokana?
Invokana has a variety of potential side effects, but some of the most serious are kidney failure, heart attack and ketoacidosis. Each of these conditions can be life threatening:
- Kidney failure is a severe condition where the kidneys stop functioning. Your kidneys help cleanse your blood of waste products, and maintain the balance of water and electrolyte levels in your body. When the kidneys fail, you either need a kidney transplant or you need to go on dialysis, a process that artificially filters the blood. Kidney failure is a lifelong, irreversible condition. Invokana can cause kidney disease or kidney damage, conditions which can lead to kidney failure.
- Heart attack is a life threatening event that happens when something restricts blood flow to the heart. Without proper blood flow the heart cells do not get enough oxygen and they can stop working or even die off. The death of heart cells is irreversible and heart attacks can often be fatal. Some studies have shown a higher rate of heart attacks among those taking Invokana.
- Ketoacidosis is a highly dangerous condition facing diabetics. It happens because a diabetic’s body has to burn fat as a fuel source instead of using blood sugar. This process releases byproducts known as ketones, which can build up to dangerous levels in the body. Ketoacidosis is normally rare among Type 2 diabetics, but there have been numerous cases among patients taking Invokana. Early stages can cause thirst, urination, headache, and a “woozy” or “fuzzy” feeling, as well as nausea and vomiting. Untreated, it can lead to a coma, heart failure, kidney failure and potentially death.
The exact mechanism by which Invokana causes ketoacidosis is still being researched. But the link is clear. Ketoacidosis is one of the most dangerous conditions a diabetic can face.
Do other drugs have these same problems?
Yes, any drug from the SGLT2 inhibitor class potentially carries the same risks. This includes the compounds canagliflozin, dapagliflozin and empagliflozin. Common brand name drugs that use these ingredients include:
- Xigduo XR
Who is responsible for the problems caused by Invokana?
When patients are not warned about the effects of a drug, the makers of that drug are responsible for the harm that it causes. Patients with type 2 diabetes were not warned of the risk of ketoacidosis and other serious side effects. If manufacturers had reported this side effect, many patients could have been prescribed a different medication instead—particularly those with existing risk factors for heart problems and kidney problems. The makers of Invokana, Johnson & Johnson, are directly liable for the results.
The FDA has already tightened rules on Invokana and other SGLT2 inhibitors. In May 2015 the FDA issued new labeling requirements for the entire SGLT2 class, ordering that the risk of ketoacidosis be included. This will help physicians choose not to use the drug when it’s likely to put patients in danger. However, that does not help the patients who have already been exposed—or those who developed life threatening conditions.
If you or someone you love experienced ketoacidosis, heart problems, kidney problems, or any other serious health condition while taking Invokana, you may have a case for a complete financial recovery. The attorneys of John Foy can help you determine if your case qualifies. We are experienced at handling medical injury claims, and we have worked on hundreds of cases involving prescription drugs and their side effects. Our focus is on helping you and your family find closure and the ability to move on financially.
No financial recovery can make up for serious injuries, suffering or loss. But you deserve to be free of medical debt and should get the treatment you need. Let our attorneys help you. We offer a FREE consultation and we charge nothing unless we get you a financial recovery. Call 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.