Should I Worry About Taking Invokana?


If you have Type 2 Diabetes, your doctor may wish to prescribe you a drug called Invokana (canagliflozin). It is a newer drug for adult diabetes patients, and it may be taken in combination with other drugs or as part of a regime of proper diet and exercise. You may have heard rumors about class action lawsuits claiming that the drug is causing severe complications— and these rumors have a lot of truth in them. You should know a few facts about Invokana before you agree to taking the prescription medication.

What is Canagliflozin?

This drug is used in combination with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar levels. It is taken by people with type 2 diabetes. When taken, the drug works with the body’s natural functions to remove excess sugar from the body. Invokana is canagliflozin by itself. When combined with metformin, the drug is called Invokamet.

During initial clinical trials, the drug seemed to work well. Patients who took the drug as prescribed realized A1C levels of under 7 percent. Once more patients began to take the drug, reports of side effects began to roll in. Patients were diagnosed with kidney issues as a result of taking the drug. Of course, not all patients had difficulties or side effects, but enough did to warrant concern.

Possible Side Effects

As with any drug, there are possible side effects for patients who take Invokana. These side effects include, but are not limited to:

  • A feeling that you are going to pass out
  • Pain or burning while urinating
  • Genital infections
  • Tenderness, pain, infections and ulcers in the feet and legs
  • Slow heart rate, weakness, loss of mobility (all symptoms of high potassium levels)
  • Dehydration
  • Ketoacidosis
  • Swelling in the lower extremities, little or no urination, shortness of breath (signs of kidney problems)

Patients who experience any of these side effects are urged to contact their medical care provider immediately. In addition to these side effects, there are 775 drugs that are known to interact with canagliflozin in a negative way. Any person with type 2 diabetes should tell their doctor about any medications or supplements they take.

The Potential Side Effects of Invokana

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Invokana and Amputations

Beyond the potential side effects that could arise from taking Invokana, people have experienced lower limb amputation as a result of being administered the prescription medication. According to studies, the rate of amputation in patients taking a placebo were 2.8 for every 1,000 patients. When given 100 mg of canagliflozin, the rate of lower limb amputation rose to 6.2 per 1,000, and the rate of amputation was 5.5 per 1,000 for those patients taking 300 mg of the drug.

It is currently not known what is causing this issue. What is clear is that when a patient is prescribed canagliflozin and takes it appropriately, their risk of amputation is increased. Because of this, the drug manufacturer is required to include a black box warning on its label for the drug in both the United States and throughout the European Union.

Lawsuits Have Been Filed

There have been lawsuits filed in the last several years against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of the drug and a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The lawsuits generally claim that the pharmaceutical company did not conduct safety testing prior to releasing the drug to the market. They further claim that Janssen was aware of the risks of the drug but failed to warn doctors and the public at large.

All Invokana-related lawsuits were ordered to be merged in 2016. There is now a multi-district litigation that is expected to be ongoing throughout 2018 in the United States District Court, specifically in the New Jersey District. Court dates are scheduled through December of this year.

Those who are part of the lawsuits have not just taken the drug, but have been negatively impacted by it. Those involved in the legal proceedings have experienced kidney injury, amputation, ketoacidosis or other complications related to the prescription medication. In some instances, patients have passed away due to these complications, and their family members have taken up the fight.

If your doctor has suggested that you take Invokana, have an in-depth discussion before you agree to taking the medication. Do your own research, and determine how comfortable you are after weighing the benefits against the risks. While thousands have taken the drug without ill-effect, others have experienced the need for lower limb amputation, forever changing their lives.

When a patient is injured by taking Invokana in Fort Lauderdale, they may have the right to seek compensation for financial costs associated with their care and more. If you have taken Invokana or any other prescription medication and experienced serious side effects, call our office today to schedule a no-cost case evaluation. We are here for you and your family as you work through this difficult time in your life, and we will help you hold the drug manufacturer responsible for their negligence. Call us today to schedule your consultation, and discover more about your legal rights.

About the Author

Michael Steinger
Michael Steinger

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MICHAEL S. STEINGER, founding partner of Steinger, Greene & Feiner, believes in representing real people, not big businesses. Since the firm’s creation in 1997, Steinger, Greene & Feiner has never represented an insurance company or large corporation, and he vows to keep this promise. Over the course of his career, Michael has handled thousands of Florida accident cases, recovering millions of dollars for his clients and earning him membership into the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Staying up-to-date on the ever-evolving laws protecting injury victims and their families, Michael is an active member of the American Bar Association, the Palm Beach, and St. Lucie Bar Associations, and sits on the Auto Insurance Committee of the Florida Justice Association.