The type 2 diabetes medication Invokana (generic: canaglifozin) has been linked to reports of kidney failure, according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP).
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one was injured after taking Invokana, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.
Update: Schmidt & Clark, LLP, Investigating New Cases of Kidney Cancer Linked to Invokana
October 16, 2018 - Our lawyers are investigating a troubling link between Invokana and an increased risk of kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma) after the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) found a tripled risk of the disease in diabetes patients who took canaglilozin (the active ingredient in Invokana). Kidney failure and kidney cancer are different diseases, but it is becoming clear that Invokana is having an adverse effect on the kidneys of many patients.
What is Invokana?
Approved in March 2013, Invokana is a sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitor drug used to lower blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. The medication works by inhibiting sodium glucose co-transporter 2, a carrier that aids in the reabsorption of glucose into the bloodstream through the kidneys.
Before it even hit the market, Invokana was a controversial type 2 diabetes medication. In fact, 5 out of 15 FDA advisors who reviewed clinical trial data before it was released recommended that the drug not be approved, with some reviewers expressing concern about its effect on the kidneys. Once Invokana came on the market, its label indicated that it should not be used in patients with pre-existing kidney problems or on those undergoing dialysis.
On May 6, 2015, a report published by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) discussed a potential link between Invokana and kidney damage. The group identified 457 incidents of implied renal toxicity associated with the drug since its March 2013 approval, which included reports of:
- Kidney failure
- Impaired renal function
- Kidney stones
- Urinary tract infection
Of these, 54 involved cases of kidney failure or renal impairment. “The unanswered question about canagliflozin—shared in part by other diabetes medications—is whether it has clinical benefits, and whether those benefits outweigh its risks,” ISMP said.
The same month the ISMP report was released, FDA issued a warning which stated that use of SGLT inhibitor diabetes medications like Invokana may cause ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition that can lead to kidney failure, diabetic coma and even death. According to the FDA:
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that the type 2 diabetes medicines canagliflozin, dapagliflozin, and empagliflozin may lead to ketoacidosis, a serious condition where the body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones that may require hospitalization. We are continuing to investigate this safety issue and will determine whether changes are needed in the prescribing information for this class of drugs, called sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors.”
How Can Invokana Cause Kidney Failure?
Kidney failure affects over 100,000 people in the U.S. each year. Nearly half of these cases occur in diabetes patients, as the kidneys are no longer able to effectively filter waste from the bloodstream. Kidney failure can result from a severe diabetic attack, and it appears that, by stimulating the secretion of glucagon, Invokana may increase the risk of kidney problems or even full-blown kidney failure.
Kidney Failure Symptoms
- Little or no urine when you try to urinate
- Swelling in the legs and feet
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea / vomiting
- Feeling confused, anxious and restless, or sleepy
- Pain in the back just below the rib cage (flank pain)
To treat acute kidney failure, doctors must first identify what is damaging the kidneys. If Invokana is suspected as the likely cause, your doctor will likely recommend changing to a diabetes medication with fewer side effects.
Your doctor will also work with you to prevent complications and allow your kidneys to heal. Treatments to help prevent acute kidney failure complications include:
- Intravenous (IV) fluids
- Medications to control blood potassium - glucose or sodium polystyrene sulfonate (Kayexalate, Kionex)
- Drugs to restore blood calcium levels
- Dialysis to remove toxins from your blood
Kidney Failure Stages
The 5 stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD) are based on glomerular filtration rate (GFR), a test that estimates how much blood passes through the glomeruli -- tiny filters in the kidneys that filter waste from the blood -- each minute:
- Stage 1 (90+ GFR) - Normal kidney function but urine findings or structural abnormalities or genetic trait point to kidney disease.
- Stage 2 (60-89 GFR) - Mildly reduced kidney function, and other findings point to kidney disease.
- Stage 3A (45-59 GFR); Stage 3B (30-44 GFR) - Moderately reduced kidney function.
- Stage 4 (15-29 GFR) - Severely reduced kidney function.
- Stage 5 (<15 or on dialysis) - Very severe, or endstage kidney failure (also referred to as established renal failure).
J&J's Failure to Warn
Many believe that the link between Invokana and kidney failure was known -- or should have been known -- before it was introduced to the U.S. market in March 2013. Since the medication works by blocking the function of the kidneys, it's easy to understand how this mechanism of action could potentially cause damage to the organ. The elderly -- particularly those over the age of 75 -- as well as patients with a prior history of kidney disease, are those most likely to experience kidney problems from Invokana.
Has Invokana Been Recalled?
Since the first adverse events associated with Invokana were reported to the FDA shortly after the drug was approved in March 2013, many have questioned whether its potential risks outweigh the benefits, and if Invokana should be removed from the market. While it is likely that Invokana will be recalled in the near future, the manufacturer may be required to provide stronger and more effective warnings for users and the medical community. With additional information about the drug's risks, doctors and users will be informed with more accurate information to decide for themselves whether to use the drug.
Kidney Damage Alleged in Illinois Invokana Lawsuit
April 29, 2016 - An Illinois man who allegedly suffered kidney damage after taking Invokana has filed a products liability lawsuit against Janssen. Plaintiff claims that shortly after beginning treatment with the diabetes medication in Nov. 2013, he developed severe kidney injuries which resulted in physical and emotional damages including “pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and economic loss including significant expenses for medical care and treatment which will continue in the future.”
Invokana Kidney Damage Lawsuit Filed in New Jersey
April 25, 2016 - A Texas woman who allegedly developed kidney damage and diabetic ketoacidosis after using Invokana for just one month has filed a product liability lawsuit (PDF) against Janssen Pharmaceuticals in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey Trenton Division. The suit alleges plaintiff’s injuries were “preventable and resulted directly from Defendants’ failure and refusal to conduct proper safety studies, failure to properly assess and publicize alarming safety signals, suppression of information revealing serious and life threatening risks, willful and wanton failure to provide adequate instructions, and willful misrepresentations concerning the nature and safety of Invokana.”
California Woman Alleges Kidney Failure from Invokana
March 31, 2016 - A California woman who was allegedly hospitalized for acute kidney injury and acute kidney failure after taking Invokana as directed has filed a product liability lawsuit against Janssen. Plaintiff claims that Invokana is significantly more dangerous than can reasonably be expected, and that the manufacturer knew or should have known that the drug’s warning label was incorrect and misleading. The woman is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $75,000 against Janssen.
Canadian Invokana Lawsuit Seeks Class-Action Status, $1B in Damages
March 21, 2016 - An Invokana kidney failure lawsuit filed last September by a Scarborough, Ontario woman seeks $1 billion in damages from Janssen and class-action status from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, according to CBC News. The complaint alleges that Invokana can cause some users to develop severe kidney damage and even kidney failure (renal failure) leading to death. Under Nova Scotia law, the lawsuit must first be certified as a class action before it can proceed.
Lousiana Man Alleges Kidney Damage from Invokana
March 2, 2016 - Another product liability lawsuit has been filed against Janssen Pharmaceuticals alleging serious injuries from Invokana. This case, brought on behalf of plaintiff Charles Maddox in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, accuses the drugmaker of failing to disclose the "unreasonably dangerous risks" associated with Invokana. According to the complaint, Maddox developed severe kidney damage and diabetic ketoacidosis after taking Invokana for less than 7 months.
Tennessee Man Blames Invokana for Kidney Failure
February 9, 2016 - A Tennessee man who alleges he developed kidney failure from Invokana has filed a product liability lawsuit against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp.
According to the complaint, plaintiff began using Invokana to treat his type 2 diabetes in Nov. 2013. Shortly thereafter, however, he claims to have suffered reduced kidney function, kidney damage, and ultimately kidney failure. Plaintiff alleges he developed these complications as a result of plaintiffs’ failure to warn of the potential health risks associated with Invokana. Had he been aware of the dangers, plaintiff claims he would never have taken the medication.
The lawsuit was filed Dec. 14, 2015 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. Plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $5 million.
Do I Have an Invokana Kidney Failure 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 investigating potential settlements in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one was injured by the side effects of Invokana (canagliflozin), you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a class action suit and our lawyers can help.