In order to control their blood sugar levels, some diabetics use Invokana, the better-known name of the chemical canagliflozin. It is a sodium-glucose cotransporter-2. The drug functions as a cell function inhibitor. To lower the body’s blood sugar levels, Invokana helps the kidneys to reabsorb glucose in the blood stream. It is removed from the body as urine. Although this might sound harmless, Invokana has been linked to many serious health problems. These include:
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
- Renal issues, such as kidney failure and kidney stones
- Ketoacidosis (acidification of the blood stream)
- Brittle bones
- Amputation due to lack of blood flow
- Heart attack
Jansen Health, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, manufactures Invokana, which
really shouldn’t come as any surprise given the substantial continuing legal troubles Johnson & Johnson have found themselves in over the past 18 months. See here.
Doctors and health officials alike has disavowed Invokana. Dr. Sydney Wolfe testified before Congress about the dangers of Invokana and how its clinical trials were misrepresented in order to gain FDA approval in early 2013. He is the cofounder of the Public Citizen advocacy and lobbying group. The advocates renounced the drug further, calling for it to be pulled from the market in 2015. (Read more about it HERE.) Public Citizen has over 350,000 members nationwide and has successfully gotten additional warnings on drugs or had them pulled from the market due to dangerous side effects.
The FDA and Invokana have a long history together. Since being approved, the FDA has added the following adverse effects to the drug’s label:
- May 2015: Invokana must warn patients about the increased risk of ketoacidosis on their label. Type 2 diabetics are twice as likely to develop this. It was also given a “black box” label, the most serious warning the FDA can place on a product because of newfound data showing that Invokana increased the risk of limb amputation.
- September 2015: Invokana must warn patients about the increased risk of bone weakening on their label.
- December 2015: Invokana must warn patients about the increased risk of UTIs and diabetic ketoacidosis on their label.
- June 2016: Invokana must warn patients about the increased risk of renal problems, such as kidney stones, on their label.
One can only ask themselves, what’s the next warning on the horizon with this drug?