Invokana, type 2 diabetes, SGLT2 inhibitor, diabetes medications, pills

Invokana: What You Need to Know

The common type 2 diabetes drug Invokana (an SGLT2 inhibitor) was approved by the FDA in 2013. It lowers blood sugar by causing the kidneys to excrete excess glucose through the urine. Traditional type 2 drugs, on the other hand, work by stopping the glucose produced by the liver.

However, Invokana has several complications and side effects which have caused the FDA to put a black box warning on the label.

Invokana side effects and complications

It has come to light that Invokana was not tested enough before it was launched and sold. A study found that taking Invokaka or Invokamet led to patients being twice as likely to have an amputation of the toe, foot, or lower leg.  As a result, the FDA made Janssen Pharmaceuticals place a black box warning on the drug, the strongest warning given by the FDA.

Invokana and Invokamet have also been found to increase the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis and severe UTIs. These complications could lead to even worse problems with blood and kidney infections.

In addition, new findings came out last week that link Invokana to the risk of a bacterial infection of the genitals called necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum, or Fournier’s gangrene. This dangerous infection can lead to hospitalization, surgery, complications, and even death.


Proceed with caution

Invokana has been found to have some good side effects, like reducing the risk of heart disease in patients, however with all of the warning signs and side effects it is advisable to proceed with caution.

Many doctors have stopped prescribing the drug, though some still do. Dr. Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinics estimated that 1 in 69 patients who take Invokana for 5 years will have a drug-related amputation. Since around 1.7 million patients filled Invokana prescriptions for SGLT2 inhibitors in 2017, there is a high risk of problems for many of these patients.

Other brand names of SGLT2 inhibitors include Farxiga, Xigduo XR, Qtern, Jardiance, Glyxambi, Synjardy, Steglatro, Segluromet, and Steglujan.

If you have concerns or have experienced problems with Invokana, talk to your doctor.