Invokana (canagliflozin) is in a new class of drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes, called sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. Invokana’s use has been linked to a dangerous medical condition called ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis often requires hospitalization and can be fatal. If you or someone you love has suffered ketoacidosis while taking Invokana, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and more.
Invokana is in a SGLT2 inhibitor. It is used to lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes by causing the kidneys to remove sugar from the body through the urine. Invokana is not approved for use in type 1 diabetes.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Invokana in March, 2013. It was the first drug to be approved in its class and is believed to be the most popular with more than $278 million in sales in just the first quarter of 2015.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening health condition in which acids called ketones build up in the blood and urine. It happens when your body starts breaking down fat for fuel because it cannot use sugar as a fuel source due to a lack of insulin. Ketones are the waste products of the fat that is broken down, and in high levels they become poisonous.
Diabetic ketoacidosis usually occurs in people with type 1 diabetes, and is rare in type 2 diabetes.
Diabetic ketoacidosis can be fatal if left untreated. Complications of diabetic ketoacidosis can include:
• Heart attack
• Death of bowel tissue
• Swelling of the brain
• Kidney failure
On May 15, 2015, the FDA issued a warning that SGLT2 inhibitors, including Invokana, may cause ketoacidosis leading to hospitalization. The agency said it found 20 cases of acidosis in patients using the drugs from March 2013 to June 6, 2014. Normally, in diabetic ketoacidosis, blood sugar levels are significantly elevated, but in these cases they were only mildly elevated.
Symptoms of Ketoacidosis
Invokana users should seek immediate medical attention if they suffer symptoms of ketoacidosis, which include:
• Abdominal pain
• Difficulty breathing
• Deep, rapid breathing
• Unusual fatigue, sleepiness, or decreased alertness
• Fruity-smelling breath
• Dry mouth and skin
• Flushed face
• Muscle aches or stiffness
• Frequent urination or thirst that lasts for a day or more
Failure to Warn
Invokana maker, Johnson and Johnson, has profited from the fact that the drug was the first in its class to hit the market, and it failure to warn prescribing doctors and their patients of the potential dangers has certainly boosted sales. That failure to warn can also be the basis for lawsuits for innocent patients who were suffered the unexpected consequences of this dangerous drug.