Diabetes has become an epidemic. According to Diabetes.org, 9.3% (29.1 million) of the American population was reported to have diabetes in 2012. 8.9 million of these cases were undiagnosed.
While diabetes is manageable in many cases, it can sometimes result in death. It is currently ranked 7th amongst the top leading causes of death in the US. 69,071 people died of diabetes in 2010 and it is believed to have contributed to the death of over 234,000 people.
The most common type of diabetes is Type 2 diabetes, which if left untreated can result in the development of heart disease, nerve damage, blindness, kidney failure, stroke as well as many other conditions.
Managing diabetes using Invokana
There are various medications used to control the effects and symptoms of Type 2 diabetes. Many work towards lowering blood sugar level and Invokana is one such drug.
Invokana is a prescription medication that is designed to stimulate the kidneys to extract sugar from the blood and expel it from the body in the form of urine. This reduces blood sugar levels in the body and improves the patient’s glycemic control.
Serious side effects
There are various side effects of using Invokana. While some are normal for any diabetes medication, others are proving to be deadly.
- Kidney damage
Some patients have experienced kidney damage that has led to poor extraction of waste products from the blood. Damage to the kidneys also results in fluid and electrolyte imbalance. Patients experience lethargy, shortness in breath, weakness and confusion. Damage to the kidneys may also result in sudden death.
- Heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues
The drug has caused blockage of arteries in some patients. Poor blood circulation can result in heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues. It can also result in your body’s organs being starved of the oxygen and nutrients they need to function properly.
This is a condition that results from low levels of insulin. As a result, the body turns to fat for energy. This results in the build of ketones in the bloodstream. These are toxins that cause ketoacidosis.
Why are the makers of Invokana being sued?
Every drug has side effects. However, manufacturers have a responsibility to warn patients and physicians of the possible side effects especially when they are life threatening. The makers of Invokana, Johnson & Johnson are being sued for failing to provide adequate notification concerning heart attacks, ketoacidosis and kidney failure.
There have been at least 56 law suits filed against the drug manufacturers in different states including Georgia, New York, Illinois, New Jersey and California. A motion was brought before the New Jersey federal court to consolidate these cases under a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). With more than 1 million prescriptions already made for the drug, it is likely that there will be more plaintiffs joining the fight.
So far, the FDA has not recalled Invokana. However, the FDA requires health professionals to inform patients on the risks involved in using Invokana as well as signs and symptoms of adverse effects. This came after their safety warning issued on June 17th.