Diabetics constantly need exceptional care and help regulating blood glucose levels. But new, popular drug Invokana (canagliflozin) is making experts worried. With many unanswered safety questions, they feel Invokana’s modest benefits don’t outweigh its risks. First, let’s examine how Invokana strokes occur. Other potential Invokana complications include lower limb amputations and ketoacidosis.
What Causes the Increased Risk for Invokana Strokes?
Invokana is an SGLT2 inhibitor that eliminates excess blood sugar through your urine. It decreases renal glucose reabsorption and increases urinary excretion, essentially eliminating excess sugar through the bladder. However, this osmotic diuretic effect (the process of losing sugar through urination) can destabilize patients with “underlying coronary artery disease.” This can then lead to blood-clot-related injuries, including heart attacks and Invokana strokes.
What Experts Say about Invokana Strokes
The FDA approved Invokana in 2013 after ordering Johnson & Johnson to conduct five separate post-marketing studies. Among these ongoing studies is the Canagliflozin Cardiovascular Assessment Study (CANVAS). Study data suggests that overall, canagliflozin (Invokana) isn’t associated with increased cardiovascular event risks. However, they find a 46% increased risk for Invokana strokes, particularly during the first 30 days.
Dr. William Hiatt (University of Colorado School of Medicine) on the FDA’s canagliflozin advisory panel voted against approval. “I felt that representing the cardiovascular side of the equation, I should vote no to make sure there’s not 100% agreement that this is a good drug to be put on the market… I’m not sure yet it’s 100% okay, so I voted no.”
Invokana Strokes More Likely Within First 30 Days of Treatment
Dr. Hiatt advises cardiovascular monitoring during the first 30 days after starting Invokana. That’s due to elevated Invokana-induced stroke risks. That said, more recent studies showing Invokana ketoacidosis and amputation risks are also worrisome. Dr. Hiatt says, “Typically with osmotic diuretics or any diuretic after you’ve been on for a while, your body readjusts to it and you reach a new equilibrium, in which case the risk might go down.” Since Invokana strokes are most likely within the first 30 days, Dr. Hiatt recommends staying well-hydrated. If you experience worsening angina or any stroke or cardiac event symptoms, seek medical help immediately.
Dr. David M. Nathan (Harvard Medical School) believes canagliflozin has few redeeming qualities, even without increased risks for Invokana strokes. He notes canagliflozin’s “fairly weak” glucose-lowering potential and believes the drug’s modest benefits do not outweigh its risks.
Weight loss, for example, is touted among Invokana’s main benefits. But Dr. Nathan says, “the weight loss is probably related to a bit of dehydration as well as potentially a slight decrease in calorie absorption because you’re losing it in the urine. Old-fashioned poorly controlled diabetes did the same thing.” Dr. Nathan concludes: “This is not a drug I’d be enthusiastic about.”
Invokana Strokes: What You Can Do
Many Invokana patients understand the risks don’t outweigh the benefits, as other drugs are safer and more tolerable. If you or a loved one suffered stroke, another cardiac event or lower limb amputation, you’re not alone. The FDA received adverse event reports showing Invokana causes cardiac events. Medical studies show it also increases stroke risks, and in May 2016, the FDA warned Invokana doubled the risk of leg, foot and toe amputations.
What You Can Do
Consumers are filing Invokana injury claims to recuperate medical costs, lost wages, and payment for emotional trauma after taking the drug. You can get a free, two-minute Invokana case evaluation today to see if you may qualify for the compensation you deserve.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.