Following oral arguments last week, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) issued an order (PDF) centralizing 55 Invokana lawsuits against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, plus 24 tag-along actions.
All of the lawsuits claim that Invokana causes a variety of injuries, including diabetic ketoacidosis and kidney damage. Janssen is accused of failing to adequately test the drug and warn of its risks.
Invokana and Invokamet lawsuits will be transferred to the U.S. District Court for New Jersey under Judge Brian R. Martinotti — In RE: Invokana (Canagliflozin) Products Liability Litigation — Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2750).
The JPML refused to centralize another 20 lawsuits involving Farxiga (dapagliflozin), Jardiance (empagliflozin), or combination cases, because it might add unnecessary complexity or prolong proceedings.
Invokana, Farxiga, and Jardiance belong to a new class of diabetes drugs called SGLT2-inhibitors, which control blood-sugar levels by forcing the kidneys to eliminate more sugar from the body in urine.
This mechanism has been linked to a wide range of side effects. Increasing urination can cause dehydration and low blood pressure. Excess sugar in urine causes 6-10% of patients to develop urinary tract infections (UTIs), genital infections, yeast infections, pyelonephritis, or urosepsis. Dehydration and infections are also risk-factors for diabetic ketoacidosis and kidney problems.
The FDA has warned about these side effects of Invokana, plus other serious risks like toe amputations and bone fractures. The FDA has also asked Janssen to study the risk of heart attack and stroke after clinical trials found a 50% increased risk of major cardiovascular events in the first 30 days of treatment.
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