Invokana (canagliflozin) was introduced to the market in March 2013 and quickly became a blockbuster Type 2 diabetes drug. However, in the two years since coming on the market, hundreds of individuals have suffered serious to catastrophic health events, including heart attack, stroke, kidney failure or needing to be hospitalized due to diabetic ketoacidosis.

What is Invokana?

Invokana was the first in a new class of diabetes drugs known as sodium-glucose co-transportor 2 inhibitors. These SGLT2 inhibitors work by inhibiting kidney functions to increase the amount of sugar excreted in urine, and increase glucose production and lower blood glucose levels. Other drugs in the class of SGLT2 inhibitors include Invokamet, Farxiga, Xigduo XR, Jardiance, and Glyxambi.

Even in just the first year of Invokana coming on the market, hundreds of reports were submitted to the FDA, of adverse events including kidney stones, kidney impairment, kidney failure, urinary tract infections, and abnormal weight loss. The FDA issued a warning about Invokana on May 15, 2015, saying that patients taking canagliflozin or other drugs in the SGLT2 class should be especially observant for any signs of diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, a serious condition where the body produces high levels of ketones (blood acids). Ketoacidosis almost always requires hospitalization. DKA is typically rare in people with type 2 diabetes, but may occur because of the SGLT2 inhibitor.  Symptoms of DKA include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Confusion
  • Unusual fatigue.

According to the FDA safety announcement issued in May 2015, a search of the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) database identified 20 cases of acidosis reported as DKA, ketoacidosis or ketosis in patients treated with SGLT2 inhibitors from March 2013 to June 2014.  In all 20 cases, patients required hospitalization or emergency room visits for treatment.

A number of Invokana lawsuits have been filed, including one filed in October 26, 2015 in the U.S. District Court, Easter District of California. In that case, the Plaintiff was prescribed Invokana by her doctor to improve glycemic control in conjunction with a diet and exercise regimen. She was hospitalized with DKA in October 2013. Her complaint alleged (like other similar complaints), that manufacturer Johnson & Johnson had knowledge of data linking Invokana to DKA, but did not warn physicians about the risks and need for monitoring, or take other actions to ensure patient safety.

If you have taken Invokana and suffered diabetic ketoacidosis or other serious health complications, you may be entitled to compensation in a lawsuit against Johnson  & Johnson. Contact Estey & Bomberger for a free consultation and review of your potential case today. All inquiries are confidential and we do not charge any fees unless we recover compensation for you.