Invokana: Diabetes Drug May Cost an Arm or a Leg

Type 2 diabetes currently affects the lives of almost 30 million Americans, and that number is growing. Since its release in 2013, Invokana (also known as canagliflozin) has been prescribed as a way to control the disease; in just a short five-year period, the drug has become one of the most popular treatments for Type 2 diabetes. It is also the darling of Big Pharma, who pitched Invokana to doctors and patients as an exciting new lifestyle drug which could not only control diabetes but also potentially help patients lose weight and reduce high blood pressure. Basically, a miracle drug!

Invokana Falls from Grace

Until the other foot dropped, that is. A rash of recent cases involving dangerous side effects due to Invokana use have brought the drug crashing back down to earth where it belongs. Indeed, some of the same doctors who were singing its praises when Invokana first hit the market are now backing away from prescribing it, or at the very least suggesting that any patients who take the drug be closely monitored for side effects. So, what are the risks associated with Invokana?

The Risk of Invokana to Treat Diabetes

According to the Chairman of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 1 out of every 69 of his patients taking canagliflozin for five years will end up with a drug-related amputation. These amputation commonly involve the toe, foot, or part of the leg, and are reportedly twice as likely to occur in patients taking Invokana for several years as opposed to other diabetic drugs. This may be due to the fact that Invokana works differently from other drugs in its market by causing excess glucose produced in the body to exit through the urine.

FDA Warnings and Lawsuits over Invokana

In May 2016 and again in May 2017, the FDA issued warnings which addressed the increased risk of amputation due to Invokana use. Patients who have suffered the adverse effects of the drug and lost part or all of a limb have, with the help of their lawyers, seized on these warnings to bring lawsuits against the manufacturers of Invokana and Invokamet, Janssen Pharmaceuticals. According to the lawsuits, Janssen knew or should have known about the risks of amputation, but they not only did they fail to warn patients, they continued to market the drug aggressively. Janssen also, allegedly, misled doctors and patients over the risks associated with their drug. Finally, Janssen allegedly failed to conduct any long-term scientific studies to evaluate kidney damage, ketoacidosis, and increased amputation risk. Instead, they surged ahead selling the drug to millions of patients.

Unsafe Drug and Medical Device Law Firm

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If you or someone you know has suffered health issues due to Invokana or any other drug or medical device, please contact our unsafe drug and medical device attorneys for a free consultation toll-free at 215 462 3330 or by using our online contact form.