Invokana is a medication commonly used to treat Type 2 diabetes, but unfortunately, has been linked to several risks including diabetic ketoacidosis.  With more than 450,000 prescriptions filled every three months, the dangers of Invokana are an important concern or patients with Type 2 diabetes.  Read on to learn more about Invokana, how to recognize adverse reactions, and how to get help when injuries or illness result.

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What is Invokana?

Invokana is a medication used to treat Type 2 diabetes.  Manufactured by Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson partner, Invokana (canagliflozin) is considered a SGLT2 anti-diabetic drug.  Invokana prevents the kidneys from reabsorbing glucose.  This allows excess glucose (sugar) to be expelled through the urine.

Generally, glucose is filtered by the kidneys and is then reabsorbed into the body for use as energy.  For someone with Type 2 diabetes, blood sugar levels are already high, so when reabsorption occurs, blood sugar levels rise even further.  When blood sugar levels are too high, complications can damage various parts of the body.

According to the manufacturer, when Invokana is used as part of a healthy lifestyle (diet and exercise), patients with Type 2 diabetes may enjoy weight loss, lowered blood pressure, and more regulated blood sugar levels.

What are the Dangers of Invokana?

Like all medications, Invokana is not without risk.  The most common side effects are relatively mild, including:

  • Vaginal yeast infection
  • Penile yeast infection
  • Changes in urination or frequency
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Increased LDL (bad cholesterol)

One of the more serious risk factors associated with Invokana is a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.  The risk is significant, and in 2015, the U.S.  Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a “boxed warning”.  According to the FDA warning, Invokana use causes “an increased risk of leg and foot amputations”.  The FDA ordered better drug labeling and warnings to inform healthcare providers and patients about these risks.

Since the FDA warning, more attention has been paid to the dangers of Invokana – by patients and the medical and legal communities.  Several lawsuits have been filed by patients claiming that the manufacturers of Invokana failed to properly warn doctors and patients about the risks.  Plaintiffs further claim that had they known about the risks, they would have opted for a different method of treatment.  Injuries claimed by plaintiffs in these lawsuits include hospitalizations, surgery, extensive medical treatments, amputation, permanent disability, and even death.

If you are concerned about the dangers of Invokana, and want to learn more about your rights a patient, or if you have suffered negative side effects from taking Invokana, contact Brown & Brothers today.  Speak with one of our medical malpractice attorneys to find out more about Invokana lawsuits and how to protect your legal rights.

What is Diabetic Ketoacidosis?

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a complication of diabetes that occurs when ketone levels are too high.  Ketones are produced by your body when there is not enough insulin to effectively break down glucose.  Without insulin, your body breaks down fat as fuel, rather than glucose, which produces a buildup of blood acids, and thus, ketones.

Diabetic ketoacidosis can develop quickly, and can be extremely dangerous for someone with Type 2 diabetes.  The most common symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion

Any of these symptoms – or a combination thereof – should be taken seriously, and you should contact your doctor right away.  If you have any of these symptoms and your blood sugar is consistently higher than 300 milligrams per deciliter, you should seek emergency treatment.

Without proper treatment, diabetic ketoacidosis can lead to serious complications including brain swelling, loss of consciousness, or even death.

Invokana and Amputation Risk

Invokana also has a less-discussed, but even more concerning risk of side effects that can lead to amputation.  Studies conducted around the time of the FDA warning indicated that the risk of amputation for patients taking Invokana was 5.9 out of every 1,000 patients, as compared to just 2.8 out of every 1,000 patients taking a placebo.

The significant increase in amputations among participants taking Invokana remains a cause for concern.  This risk is heightened for patients with a history of:

  • Prior amputation
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Diabetic foot ulcers
  • Neuropathy

Patients taking Invokana who have these or other conditions may be at a much higher risk of amputation, and should be careful to monitor their overall health.  Even more important, the FDA urges patients to be mindful of symptoms in the feet or legs, including:

  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Ulcers or sores
  • Infection

If you are taking Invokana, and you experience any of these symptoms in your feet or legs, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.  You should not stop taking your diabetes medication unless directed by your doctor.  Depending on symptoms and risk factors, your doctor may decide to stop Invokana in order to reduce the risk of amputation.

Learn More about the Dangers of Invokana and Your Legal Rights

Currently, Invokana is the only drug classified as an SLGT-2 inhibitor that carries the significant risk of amputation.  If you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and your doctor has recommended you start Invokana, you may find it helpful to learn more about the dangers of Invokana, and explore your legal rights.

Doctors have a responsibility to inform you of the dangers and side effects, but sometimes they fail to adequately address all the possible concerns.  If your doctor fails to inform you about certain risks and you are harmed after following their recommendation, your legal rights may have been violated.  To find out more, contact Brown & Brothers by filling out our online form.  Let us schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal rights.

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