Invokana, also known by its generic canagliflozin, is a prescription medication used to control high blood sugar in people who have type 2 diabetes. Proper diet and exercise is used in collaboration with Invokana to help prevent kidney damage, blindness, nerve problems, loss of limbs, and sexual function problems that can occur from high blood sugar. Invokana works by signaling your kidneys to remove more sugar from the blood stream. Invokamet is another prescription drug used to treat type 2 diabetes which is a combination of canagliflozin and metformin. In addition to increasing the removal of sugar by your kidneys, Invokamet also lowers the amount of sugar made in your liver and decreases how much sugar your body takes in through your stomach and intestines. Invokana and Invokamet are members of a new class of diabetes medications called sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. SGLT2 is a protein in humans that facilitates glucose reabsorption in the kidney. These inhibitors block this reabsorption, as well as increase glucose excretion, and lower blood glucose levels. However, these types of diabetes medications have recently been associated with patients developing diabetic ketoacidosis and other complications, leading to many lawsuits.
Lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of both Invokana and Invokamet, that being Janssen Pharmaceuticals and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson. Many of these lawsuits claim that the manufacturers of these drugs failed to warn patients and physicians of the increased risks of kidney failure, heart attacks, and ketoacidosis. The claim argues that if physicians had known the increased risks, they would have prescribed alternative medications, and patients who did take these drugs also would have been more vigilant about monitoring their health and potentially severe side effects. The side effects that patients experienced are serious and can be lethal in cases. Kidney failure is a common complication. The kidneys are essential to filtering out waste from the blood, controlling blood pressure, balancing electrolytes, and producing red blood cells. When the kidneys stop working, waste products and electrolytes can build up causing weakness, shortness of breath, lethargy, confusion, abnormal heart rhythms, and sudden death. Heart attacks were also an alleged side effect of the diabetes medications, a condition in which a blood clot starves part of the heart of oxygen eventually causing the tissue to die.
Lastly, ketoacidosis is claimed to be associated with these medications. Ketoacidosis is a medical condition where high levels of ketones are produced in the body. This condition develops when the body cannot produce enough insulin, causing the body to break down fat as an alternative source of energy. This releases ketones into the bloodstream, which build up and are toxic to the body. All three of these conditions are extremely serious and can cause death if not treated. Another concerning complication that can result from taking this medicine is an increased risk of amputation of the leg or foot. This is necessary when the vascular system cannot transport blood to these areas causing tissue death over time. There have been studies that have found an increase in risk for this complication. These injuries often require hospitalization and the damages to the body can be permanent.
Although the FDA issued a drug safety communication warning about the Invokana diabetic ketoacidosis risk in May 2015, the FDA has not recalled the drug from the market. In late 2015, there was a new requirement that imposed new warning labels of Invokana and similar diabetes drugs warning patients to discontinue use if they experienced signs of ketoacidosis. The FDA claims it is currently investigating the potential connection between these prescription drug medications and alleged life threatening complications. Even without the recall, many lawsuits have been successful in receiving compensation for patients who encountered adverse side effects to either Invokana or Invokamet.
If you or a loved one has taken Invokana or the generic version and have experienced some of these side effects give our Massachusetts drug injury lawyers a call to see if you may have a claim. We can be reached at 800-481-6199.