Invokana, an SGLT2 inhibitor that regulates blood sugar in type 2 diabetics, is the number-one drug in its class. If you have type 2 diabetes, SGLT2 inhibitors like Invokana and Invokamet block glucose reabsorption in your kidneys. These drugs also increase glucose excretion through urine and lower your A1C levels. And while Invokana effectively lowers blood sugar as well as offering some cardiovascular benefits, it comes with a hefty price. That because since 2016, many major health insurance plans stopped covering Invokana and Invokamet. Since it costs $6,400 annually without insurance-mandated price controls, thousands of type 2 diabetics now search for generic Invokana online.
Why Isn’t Generic Invokana Available Right Now?
Unfortunately, active patents ensure that generic Invokana won’t hit U.S. shelves before they’re set to expire. Right now, that first Invokana patent should expire in July 2024. Such patents prevent competing companies from making a generic version of Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ popular drug and selling it for less. Of course, this could change even before Invokana’s first patent expires in July 2024 — but it’s hardly guaranteed. Other circumstances can delay or shorten the exclusivity period for drug patents. Lawsuits are one factor, while gaining or extending Invokana’s U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for other uses are another. Clinical studies are currently underway in hopes of finding new Invokana applications that could extend the drug’s patented lifespan. However, Invokana lawsuits are also piling against manufacturer Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary company, over potentially deadly side effects.
The active ingredient in Invokana is canagliflozin, which is also listed as the drug’s generic name on many different websites. And since clinical trials and medical studies specifically call it canagliflozin (not generic Invokana), patients assume a cheaper version exists. However, nearly all studies reference the active ingredients found in drugs, not the actual brand-name formulations. They may also reference drugs according to the class which they belong to, but not the brand name. If another drug contains canagliflozin alone or combined with other active ingredients, it isn’t necessarily comparable to your Invokana prescription. That’s because your prescription Invokana pill uses a proprietary formula that no other company can legally recreate.
Good Alternatives To Try Until Generic Invokana Is Available
Type 2 diabetes patients with Medicare still have Invokana and Invokamet covered through their healthcare plans. Some pharmacy coupons or cash prices can help lower out-of-pocket costs, too. But for those without insurance or whose pharmacy managers removed the drug from their formulary list, Invokana is incredibly expensive. And it’s now linked to severe side effects — like more than doubling your risk for foot, leg and toe amputations.
Fortunately, there are several good, affordable alternativea to try until generic Invokana finally hits the market, including:
- Metformin. This extremely popular drug helps many type 2 diabetics regulate blood sugar. It works by helping restore your body’s proper response to the insulin your pancreas naturally produces. Metformin also decreases how much sugar your liver makes as well as how much your stomach and intestines will absorb. Since a generic version called glucophage is also widely available, this medication’s extremely inexpensive — especially compared to Invokana.
- Jardiance. Jardiance, much like Invokana, is an SGLT2 inhibitor doctors prescribe type 2 diabetics to help lower blood sugar. But if your family has a history of heart disease, Jardiance can also reduce your heart attack or stroke risks. While Jardiance has no generic alternative currently available, it’s less expensive than Invokana and covered under most private insurance plans. Medicare may also cover it under some (but not all) prescription drug plans.
Generic Invokana or Branded Version: Same Side Effect Risks
Despite its popularity, Invokana’s safety profile is poor compared to other newer, FDA-approved blood sugar medications. Talk to your doctor about increased risk for developing the following serious Invokana side effects:
- Ketoacidosis (a potentially fatal complication that’s otherwise rare in type 2 diabetes patients)
- Strokes (CANVAS study data shows a 46% increased stroke risk within the first 30 days after starting Invokana)
- Renal failure or acute kidney injury/kidney damage
In 2017, the FDA added a black box warning to Invokana informing consumers about increased amputation risks. The agency required it after studies found twice as many lower limb amputations with Invokana compared to the placebo group. Researchers observed this increased risk within affected study subjects less than a year after starting Invokana.
How Injured Invokana Patients Can Qualify for Compensation
If you or someone you love suffered life-threatening side effects while taking Invokana, you may qualify for a cash settlement. To check your eligibility in just minutes online, fill out your free Invokana claim evaluation form today. Once you submit your form, an experienced lawyer will call to discuss your case and possible compensation options. You’ll get a private, in-person consultation to help you get the justice and financial compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Mandy Voisin is a freelance writer, blogger, and author of Girls of the Ocean and Star of Deliverance. As an accomplished content marketing consultant, mom of four and doctor's wife, Mandy has written hundreds of articles about dangerous drugs and medical devices, medical issues that impact disabled Americans, veterans' healthcare and workers' compensation issues since 2016.