February 10, 2016 — Janssen Pharmaceuticals is facing a growing number of lawsuits alleging that Invokana can cause ketoacidosis and kidney problems.
One lawsuit (PDF) was filed in Illinois on October 28, 2015 (Case No 3:15-cv-01195). The plaintiff, Anthony Allen, was diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis after taking Invokana. This serious complication occurs when the blood becomes too acidic.
Invokana belongs to a class of diabetes drugs called SGLT2 inhibitors, which lower blood-sugar levels by forcing the kidneys to remove extra glucose (sugar) from the body in urine. Many experts are concerned because it relies so heavily on the kidneys.
In the first year Invokana was on the market, it was linked to over 54 reports of kidney failure or impairment, according to the QuarterWatch (PDF) report by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP).
The FDA has also issued Safety Warnings about the risk of ketoacidosis and life-threatening urinary tract infections that can spread to the kidneys or bloodstream.
Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys are unable to filter the blood and excrete extra water and wastes in urine. Having diabetes is a risk-factor for kidney disease, which typically progresses over many years. In the early stages, it may not show any symptoms. However, long-term risks include kidney failure.
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