In March 2016, Joan Mullin filed a complaint against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. She claims that Janssen failed to properly warn consumers about possible Invokana kidney failure risks. Now, the drug giant faces multiple claims from plaintiffs stating the drug caused life-threatening side effects. Since then, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued multiple warnings regarding toe, foot and leg amputation risks, heart attacks, diabetic ketoacidosis and Invokana kidney failure.
Some Background on Invokana
The constantly changing nature of diabetes can make it difficult to regulate how much glucose (sugar) is in your blood. Several new drugs can help type 2 diabetics regulate blood sugar, including Invokana (canagliflozin). Part of the drug family known as SGLT2 inhibitors, Invokana utilizes the kidneys to increase the amount of sugar that goes out of the urine. Some scientists claim that SLGT2 inhibitors come with unintended benefits, like weight loss and easier medication regulation (though experts have differing opinions on the quality of those benefits).
The Problem with Invokana
Because SGLT2 inhibitors rely heavily on kidneys, they can cause renal impairment and kidney damage. SGLT2 inhibitors carry a heavy warning regarding kidney failure—Invokana in particular. Currently, the drug’s website and warning labels state Invokana can cause impairment in renal (kidney) function. The label specifically mentions that patients with hypovolemia (a state of decreased blood volume; more specifically decrease in blood plasma volume) may be more susceptible to kidney failure; it also states that renal function abnormalities can also occur in any patient after they start taking Invokana.
Invokana Kidney Failure
The kidneys are bean-shaped organs, responsible for filtering blood, removing toxins and other waste materials, and balancing fluid levels. When kidney failure occurs, it is because the filtration system in the kidneys (a very delicate processing system) is damaged and no longer functions properly. Because of the stress Invokana places on the kidneys, this delicate system can be impaired by the drug, resulting, in many cases, in kidney failure.
Those taking Invokana should also look for warning signs and symptoms of kidney failure, including:
- Changes in urination
- Swelling in the hands, feet, and limbs
- Skin rash/itching
- Metallic taste in mouth
- Nausea & vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling cold
What the FDA Says
In December 2015, the FDA released a drug safety communication regarding Invokana-related kidney damage. They identified 19 cases of life-threatening blood and kidney infections that started as urinary tract infections caused by SLGT2 inhibitors. All 19 reported cases required hospitalization. Worse, a few were admitted to an intensive care unit for dialysis due to Invokana kidney failure.
Because all kidney failures began with a UTI, the FDA suggests Invokana patients report symptoms immediately. A physician can act quickly in treating your condition before it worsens into kidney failure.
Invokana kidney failure symptoms include:
- Burning feeling when passing urine
- Need to urinate often
- Need to urinate immediately
- Pain in the lower part of your stomach (pelvis)
- Blood in urine
Others may experience vomiting, fever, back pain, and nausea.
What You Can Do
Consumers are filing Invokana injury claims to recuperate medical costs and lost wages, as well as payment for emotional and mental trauma. Many patients died from Invokana-induced kidney failure.
If either you or a loved one suffered Invokana kidney failure, you may qualify for a cash settlement. Get a free Invokana case evaluation today to see if you may qualify for compensation.
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.