Invokana® (canagliflozin) is an incredibly popular blood sugar medication for type 2 diabetics. Many patients just starting the drug experience Invokana weight loss, and it’s even been advertised for that purpose. However, Invokana is not a viable weight loss solution and the drug’s side effects can be severe. It is important to understand how Invokana works and its potential side effects before you start taking it.
How Does Invokana Work?
Your body tries to derive as much energy as possible from the food you eat. And during times when your calorie intake becomes irregular, it aggressively conserves glucose. One mechanism involved with this conservation is called sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2). In fact, SGLT2 is responsible for 90% of glucose reabsorption in your kidneys, thus recirculating it throughout your body.
Invokana belongs to a class of drug called SGLT2 inhibitors. In other words, it prevents your kidneys from reabsorbing glucose and instead flushes any excess sugar out through your urine. People without diabetes have a natural blood glucose threshold. Once crossed, their bodies expel extra glucose through urination. Diabetics, on the other hand, have a glucose threshold that’s higher than non-diabetics, meaning they can reabsorb much greater amounts. Patients taking SGLT2-inhibitor drugs like Invokana are able to decrease that naturally higher blood glucose threshold.
What Causes Invokana Weight Loss?
Because your body’s absorbing less glucose, you excrete more blood sugar through urination. Many people taking SGLT2 inhibitors can expel around 100-300 calories in excess glucose per day, causing Invokana weight loss. Invokana weight loss can be beneficial because managing insulin and glycemic levels gets much easier. However, Invokana weight loss is usually temporary, and doctors don’t see it as a good long-term solution.
A 2016 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases study analyzed 242 subjects for one year. Participants taking Invokana lost, on average, about eight pounds during the first six months. After that, their Invokana weight loss slowed and eventually stopped. However, those subjects’ appetites also increased significantly, and they ate more calories each day than they did before signing up. Researchers concluded that while initial Invokana weight loss may be good, your increased appetite makes you likely to gain it all back. The study recommends losing pounds the traditional way by managing diet and exercise instead of relying on Invokana weight loss.
Understanding Invokana’s Potential Dangers
Before you start taking this popular diabetes drug, know that Invokana side effects can be minor as well as severe. Although frequent urination and yeast infections are annoying, those Invokana side effects aren’t usually serious. However, Invokana patients may develop ketoacidosis — a dangerous condition caused by excessive ketone production, which makes your blood too acidic. Diabetic ketoacidosis can cause serious health issues, including:
- breathing problems
- the smell of acetone on your breath
- organ malfunction
- Heart irregularities
- depression of the central nervous system (which leads to coma)
In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration warned patients about the ketoacidosis risk associated with taking SGLT2 inhibitors. The FDA stated patients reported 20 acidosis cases from 2013-2014. All required ER visits or checked into the hospital for treatment. Since then, according to the agency, additional Invokana adverse event reports keep rolling in.
In addition to that Invokana warning, the FDA issued two more in 2015 about bone-fracture risks and urinary tract infections. Then in 2016, the FDA strengthened the existing warning to include acute kidney injury risks.
What You Can Do
If you or a loved one suffered health complications after taking Invokana, you may have a case. Fill out your free compensation review today to see if you may be eligible for compensation. Upon reviewing your information, an experienced attorney in your area will contact you to discuss your options for getting the justice you deserve. In addition, it’s important to regularly monitor your blood sugar at home. We like this Care Touch glucose monitoring kit that comes with everything, is FSA/HSA eligible and includes free overnight shipping.
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.