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Ryan R. Bradley
Ryan R. Bradley
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Invokana and SLGT2 Inhibitor Breakdown, Part Two: The Side Effects


Invokana Side Effects can Out-Weigh the Benefits

In our last article, we walked through the background of Invokana and other SGLT2 Inhibitors.  Despite high hopes for the new type of treatment for Type-2 Diabetes, over the past few years since the class of drugs were initially marketed, a variety of serious complications have prompted action by both the Food and Drug administration as well as the consumer protection community. Koester & Bradley has been monitoring the Invokana Side Effects since the beginning and wants to educate the almost 30 million individuals with Type-2 Diabetes about the risks and benefits of SGLT2 Inhibitors.

Invokana-Related Ketoacidosis

Ketoacidosis is a medical condition where high levels of ketones are produced in the body.  Ketones are actually three water-soluble molecules that are produced by the human liver from fatty acids.  Ketones are generally produced during periods of low food intake such as fasting, low carbohydrate intake, exercise, and in people with untreated Diabetes.  Essentially, Ketones are the result of glucose production from non-carbohydrate sources.  Carbohydrates are the normal source of glucose.

Ketoacidosis, or Diabetic Ketoacidosis,  can result in a patient suffering a diabetic coma, extended hospitalization, and even death.  Accordingly, this condition is not one to be taken lightly.  Ketoacidosis develops when the body is unable to produce enough insulin, which insulin plays a major role in helping sugar (glucose) enter cells, and provides needed energy to the muscles and other tissues.  In ketoacidosis, the body fails to adequately regulate ketone production causing such a severe accumulation of keto acids that the pH of the blood is substantially decreased. In extreme cases ketoacidosis can be fatal, however this is not generally the case since these individuals are typically monitored by their doctors anyway for their diabetic condition.  Without enough insulin, the body breaks down fat as an alternative source of energy, which causes a buildup of ketones.  Ketones can become toxic to the body if not kept in check.  Thus, excess ketones result in ketoacidosis if untreated.  Ketoacidosis is one of the primary side effects and concerns of SGLT2 Inhibitors such as Invokana.  If you are taking Invokana, and develop any of the following symptoms, please contact your doctor immediately:

  • Excessive Thirst
  • Excessive or Frequent Urination
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Fruity scented Breath
  • Confusion

Some of these symptoms such as thirst and excessive urination are not uncommon in diabetic patients which means that there can be a temptation of the patient to ignore them.  Keep in mind that Ketoacidosis, or DKA, occurs approximately 200,000 times per year in the United States and underscores importance of medical monitoring is you are taking Invokana.

Invokana-Related Kidney Failure

Kidney failure occurs when your kidneys stop functioning without the use of dialysis or a kidney transplant.  This is obviously a very serious condition and one which needs immediate medical attention as soon as symptoms develop.  The kidneys are about the size of a normal fist and are located just below the rib cage.  They are shaped like the beans–hence the bean variety that bears their name.  Despite their small stature, each day the kidneys filter approximately 120-150 quarts of blood and condense it down to 1-2 quarts of urine.

The primary role of the kidneys is actually quite simple.  The Kidneys help filter waste products from the blood. They are also involved in helping to control blood pressure, electrolyte balance, and red blood cell production. When your kidneys stop functioning properly, waste products, fluids, and electrolytes build up in the body and can cause weakness, shortness of breath, lethargy, confusion, abnormal heart rhythms and sudden death.  Invokana Symptoms | Koester & BradleyAccordingly, if you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact your doctor immediately, and make sure that SGLt2 Inhibitor Kidney Failure is not the culprit.  Symptoms from Invokana-Related problems can present in less than two months.

Invokana-Related Myocardial Infraction (Heart Attack)

Myocardial Infraction is a very serious medical conditions generally referred to as a heart attack.  A heart attack happens when the flow of blood to a section of the heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked and the heart cannot get oxygen.  Obviously, if the flow of blood is not restored quickly, the section of the heart muscle relying on the oxygen rich blood begins to die.  While heart attacks typically occur as a result of coronary heart disease, extensive adverse event reports filed with the Food and Drug Administration have shown that Myocardial infraction is also linked to Invokana and SGLT2 Inhibitors.  Similar to kidney failure, if the symptoms of a heart attack, in particular chest pains, upper body discomfort, and shortness of breath, present in you or a loved one seek medical assistance immediately.


The FDA and Doctors have Confirmed the Dangers of Invokana

Due to the high volume of adverse side effects associated with Invokana, Farxiga, and Jardiance, there have been studies confirming the dangers.  These studies spurred the FDA in May 2015 to issue a drug safety communication that warned patients and doctors that these drugs – and other SGLT2 inhibitors – may lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). If left untreated, according to the FDA, this condition can be fatal.

After the initial warning, in December 2015, the FDA ordered manufacturers of SGLT2 inhibitors to add warnings regarding the risk of ketoacidosis and urinary tract infections to the drugs’ labels.  This type of labeling determination occurs when a manufacturer, in this case Johnson & Johnson, should have applied the waring label in the first place and chose not to.

Litigation followed, patients who developed ketoacidosis or UTIs after taking the drugs filed lawsuits claiming Janssen and J&J failed to warn of the risks of the drugs. People who filed lawsuits also said the drugs caused strokes, blood clots and acute kidney injuries that required hospitalization.  These lawsuits are expected to continue and grow in number.  In the next section of this Invokana series we will discuss the pending action and in the mean time feel free to contact us with any questions.

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