Research has shown that taking the diabetes drug Invokana (canagliflozin) can trigger diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially fatal condition.

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Can Invokana Trigger Diabetic Ketoacidosis?

Invokana is used to treat Type 2 diabetes. There are more than 450,000 Invokana prescriptions filled every three months in the United States. The drug is made and marketed by Janssen, a partner of Johnson & Johnson. It was the first drug of its kind to treat Type 2 diabetes and drug makers were hopeful it would help patients who did not respond to other diabetes drugs. Sadly, it has been linked to many medical risks, including potentially deadly diabetic ketoacidosis.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to process insulin. The disease affects about nine million Americans. Over time, it can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, damage to the feet and hands, and other health problems.

In order for the body to manage sugar and turn it into energy, insulin must help cells absorb it. When this does not happen because of problems with insulin, sugar remains in the blood system, causing blood glucose levels to raise to unhealthy levels. This is why diabetics must pay attention to their blood sugar.

About Invokana

Invokana is part of a group of drugs known as SGLT2 anti-diabetics. It works by preventing glucose from being reabsorbed by the kidneys. It also allows excess sugar to be let out in urine. Studies have shown Invokana users excrete up to 450 calories of extra sugar in urine.

Despite Invokana working for some users, it comes with a variety of side effects. Most are mild and might be a problem with all diabetes medications, including:

  • Yeast infection
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Photosensitivity
  • Increased LDL (bad) cholesterol

One of the biggest concerns for Invokana users is the drug’s link to diabetic ketoacidosis. The risk was so serious that in 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning for Invokana and drugs like it. The warning came after more than 20 SGLT2 inhibitor users reported symptoms of the condition.

Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when ketone levels rise too high. When glucose cannot be used as energy by the body’s cells, the body needs to break down fat to use for energy. As this occurs, ketones are produced and acid levels in the blood rise too high. Once this happens, it is just a short time before diabetic ketoacidosis becomes a life-threatening ordeal.

What are the Symptoms of Diabetic Ketoacidosis?

  • Intense thirst
  • Increased need to use the bathroom
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fruit-smelling breath odor
  • Shortness of breath

More advanced symptoms include:

  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Unconsciousness

In addition to diabetic ketoacidosis, Invokana can also cause problems with blood pressure, interferes with the kidneys, and might trigger allergic reactions. The FDA has also expressed concerns over Invokana’s ability to increase users’ risk for heart attack since it raises LDL cholesterol levels.

The consumer safety group Public Citizen has asked the FDA to limit certain ad methods for Invokana, including claims the drug could help with weight loss and lower blood pressure.

Invokana Lawsuits

Invokana users who have suffered side effects might be able to get a legal settlement to help them with medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Many have needed to go to the hospital and receive long-term medical care.

Those who have lost loved ones due to Invokana use are also encouraged to contact a legal expert to determine if money is available. Settlements have already occurred in diabetes drugs lawsuits and the same could happen for Invokana users. If you or a loved one has been injured by Invokana use, it’s important you take action as soon as possible.

View Sources

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