Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common chronic health conditions in the United States. Diabetes can cause a number of complications if not managed properly, and some people may have been given Invokana to control their blood glucose. Some patients, however, who experienced diabetic ketoacidosis after taking Invokana may be entitled to compensation due to known problems with this medication.
What Is Invokana?
Invokana is a medication prescribed for people with Type 2 diabetes that was first approved by the FDA in 2013. It belongs to a class of drugs known as sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. Invokana works by preventing sugar from being absorbed into the blood, which keeps insulin levels stable in diabetic patients.
The Link Between Invokana and Diabetic Ketoacidosis
As Invokana became a popular medication for treating Type 2 diabetes, patients started experiencing diabetic ketoacidosis. This condition occurs when the body burns fat because it doesn't have enough insulin to convert glucose into energy. The byproduct of fat burning is ketones, which can essentially poison the body if they are allowed to build up in the blood.
Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include:
- Trouble breathing
- Fatigue or a feeling of sleepiness
- Sore, stiff, or aching muscles
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirstiness lasting for over one day
- Vomiting, nausea, and/or stomach pain
- Breath with a fruity smell
If left untreated, diabetic ketoacidosis can be fatal. The condition is diagnosed with ketone testing following a blood or urine sample, but a doctor may also order a glucose blood test, potassium blood test, arterial blood gas test, or amylase blood test before proceeding with treatment.
There are three standard treatments for diabetic ketoacidosis:
- Fluid therapy. This treatment uses IV fluids to address problems caused by dehydration.
- Insulin therapy. Doctors can administer insulin to help the body use glucose and prevent acid from continuing to build up.
- Electrolyte therapy. Administering insulin can cause potassium levels to drop, which can lead to an irregular heartbeat or a possible heart attack. Intravenous potassium and phosphates are used to prevent this complication.
Although diabetic ketoacidosis is the most common of the serious side effects associated with Invokana, there have also been complaints that the drug can cause acute kidney injuries, strokes, blood infections, and/or blood clots. An interim clinical trial has found that there is an increased risk of leg and foot amputations in patients taking Invokana or Invokamet.
Lawsuits Against Invokana
The FDA issued an official warning in May 2015 saying that Invokana had been linked to diabetic ketoacidosis. In December 2015, the agency required an official label change noting the increased risk of both diabetic ketoacidosis and urinary tract infections. In June 2016, the FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication warning stating they'd received notice of 101 confirmable cases of acute kidney injuries related to Invokana and other SGLT2 inhibitors. However, Invokana has yet to be formally recalled due to these risks.
Many people believe the steps the FDA has taken are not enough. The Invokana lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson claim the manufacturers should be held legally liable for producing a defective drug and failing to adequately warn doctors and patients about the risk of complications from the medication.
We Can Help
If you were prescribed Invokana and didn't experience complications, you are not eligible for compensation. However, if you experienced diabetic ketoacidosis or another serious side effect, you may be entitled to file a claim. Other drugs in the same class as Invokana include Farxiga, Xigduo, Jardiance, and Glyxambi. As SGLT2 inhibitors, these medications carry similar health risks. Patients who were diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis or another serious side effect after taking these medications may also be eligible for compensation.
The attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault are committed to protecting the legal rights of patients who’ve been harmed by the medications they relied on to keep them safe. If you’ve experienced a serious complication such as diabetic ketoacidosis after taking Invokana, compensation may be available. Visit us at one of our six convenient office locations for a free consultation.