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Invokana FAQ

Invokana has been linked to serious side effects. Learn the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Invokana.

The type 2 diabetes medication Invokana has been linked to serious side effects including ketoacidosis, heart attack, kidney failure, urinary tract infections (UTIs) and more. This article contains answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Invokana.

Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one was injured by Invokana, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.

What is Invokana?

Invokana (generic: canagliflozin) is an oral diabetes medication that helps control blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes (formerly known as noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus {NIDDM} and adult-onset diabetes). The drug was developed by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, and is marketed under license by Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a Johnson & Johnson company). Invokana was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) on March 29, 2013.

How Does it Work?

Invokana belongs to a class of drugs called sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors that work by inhibiting blood glucose co-transporter 2, a carrier that aids on the reabsorption of glucose into the bloodstream through the kidneys. The excess glucose is then flushed out of the body, which is why the drug also acts as a potent diuretic. Invokana is designed to be used in conjunction with diet and exercise to manage type 2 diabetes.

Why is Invokana Not For Use by Patients with Type 1 Diabetes?

The main reason for this is because Invokana has not been studied in type 1 diabetics. Since the drug works by increasing the amount of glucose (sugar) that is removed from the body through urine, its effect is independent of insulin. This is important because one of the main differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is that patients with type 1 typically produce little to no insulin. So in theory, Invokana may not be effective for treating type 1 diabetes.

Can it Help With Weight Loss?

Although not approved for weight loss, Invokana was associated with modest weight loss in early clinical trials of heavy patients who didn’t have hyperglycemia. In a phase IIb trial, obese and overweight patients who didn’t have diabetes lost a significantly larger proportion of body weight on any of 3 doses of Invokana compared with placebo (P<0.05). This amounted to a “relatively modest” loss of about 2% to 3% of body weight, compared with only about 1% loss with placebo.

What Side Effects Have Been Linked to Invokana?

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  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis, also known as DKA, diabetic acidosis, metabolic acidosis or ketoacidosis
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • Kidney Failure (Renal Failure)
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Kidney Infections (Pyelonephritis)
  • Kidney Stones
  • Bone Fractures
  • Bone Abnormalities
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
  • Severe Dehydration / Fluid Imbalance
  • Abnormal Weight Loss
  • Hypersensitivity (Allergic Response)
  • Blood Infections (Urosepsis)
  • Fungal Infections
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[av_toggle_container initial=’0′ mode=’toggle’ sort=”] [av_toggle title=’Other, more moderate side effects of Invokana may include (click to expand):’ tags=”]
  • Increased Urination
  • Yeast Infections (both men and women)
  • Vaginal Itching
  • Thirst
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
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What is the FDA Warning on Invokana?

On May 15, 2015, FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication warning that Invokana and other diabetes medications from the SGLT2 inhibitor class had been linked to diabetic ketoacidosis. From March 2013 to June 6, 2014, at least 20 cases of DKA in patients who used the drugs were reported to the FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting System. As a result of these problems, on December 4, 2015, new warnings were added to the labeling of SGLT2 inhibitors.

What is Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)?

Ketoacidosis occurs when too many ketones build up in the bloodstream, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Ketones are acidic byproducts of the body’s attempt to gain fuel from fat and muscles when there is not enough glucose to convert to energy. High levels of ketones are poisonous, and this condition could lead to heart attack, kidney failure, diabetic coma and even death if left untreated.

What are the Warning Signs?

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  • Decreased alertness
  • Rapid breathing
  • Dry skin / mouth
  • Flushed face
  • Frequent urination 
  • Fruity-smelling breath
  • Headache
  • Muscle stiffness / aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
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What About Kidney Failure?

Another potential adverse effect of Invokana is kidney failure. Because the drug’s mechanism of action is to inhibit normal kidney function so that sugars may be excreted from the body through urine, this may increase the risk of severe, potentially fatal kidney problems. In 2015, the Institute for Safe Medications Practices (ISMP) reported that a large percentage of the 457 adverse events associated with Invokana in the first year it was available were linked to kidney failure.

How Can Invokana Cause UTIs?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the second most commonly reported side effect associated with Invokana, occurring when bacteria travel through the urethra into the bladder. Bacteria is more likely to develop in Invokana users because the medication expels sugar through the urine, which can create additional bacteria. If left untreated, UTIs can spread into the kidneys and cause blood infections, which can be fatal.

Has There Been a Recall?

At this time, Invokana has not been recalled and is still being prescribed to millions of diabetes patients around the country. However, the investigation into the drug is still in its early stages. It often takes many years, thousands of hours of attorney time and millions of dollars for all the facts about a defective drug to come out.

Have Lawsuits Been Filed?

As health officials continue to investigate the health risks of Invokana, our lawyers are accepting potential lawsuits on behalf of people who have been injured by the drug. We are currently reviewing claims for patients who developed diabetic ketoacidosis, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure or any of the other serious side effects listed above after taking Invokana.

What do the Complaints Allege?

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  • Failure to warn of risks
  • Negligence
  • Manufacturing a defective drug
  • Misrepresenting the dug’s risks and benefits
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Is There a Time Limit to File a Claim?

Each state has a statute of limitations (SOL) on how long a person has to file an Invokana lawsuit. If a claim is not entered before the SOL ends, the person will be unable to pursue compensation for his or her injuries. If you’ve been injured by Invokana, act now and contact our lawyers to protect your legal rights.

Has a Class Action Been Filed?

To date, an Invokana class action lawsuit has not been filed, and it is unlikely that one will be certified for patients who allege injuries from the drug. However, if multiple claims are filed alleging similar injuries from Invokana and other SGLT2 inhibitors, a multidistrict litigation (MDL) may be formed to consolidate the cases for pretrial handling. MDLs, which are different from class actions, are commonly established when many lawsuits are filed against the same defendant, and when the injuries to each plaintiff are unique.

Has There Been a Settlement?

The first Invokana lawsuits were filed in mid-2015, and the proceedings are still in their early stages. It will likely be several more years before the manufacturer considers offering settlements. However, while there have been no reports of any Invokana settlements or resolutions in the litigation, our lawyers feel that Janssen will eventually be required to pay substantial compensation as a result of their decision to place profits ahead of patient safety when they withheld information about the medication’s potential health risks.

Do I Have an Invokana Lawsuit?

The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Invokana lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.

Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one has been injured by Invokana side effects, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.

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