In 2014, one study found that 29 million Americans have diabetes and another 86 million (approximately ⅓ of the population) have pre-diabetes. While most of us know that eating right and exercising are the best ways to manage type 2 diabetes, busy lives and daily demands cause us to choose the easiest answer (Which fast food restaurant should we visit for dinner?) instead of the best option (Organic greens with a light vinaigrette, anyone?).
Not only is a large portion of America at risk for the complications that come with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, but it has also created a great demand for medications that can help to balance glucose levels. Unfortunately, every medication has a certain amount of risks, and Invokana (canagliflozin) and Invokamet (canagliflozin/metformin) are no exception.
If you’re taking Invokana or Invokamet or are considering taking one of these medications, here are 4 need-to-know facts:
1. Invokana and Invokamet were note thoroughly tested before being sold.
Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) failed to thoroughly test this new type of diabetes medication (called an SGLT2 inhibitor) before putting it on the market. Invokana and Invokamet work by eliminating excess glucose in the urine as opposed to traditional diabetes drugs that work to stop the glucose produced by the liver. This means that patients are essentially the testing ground to see what could happen, which brings me to point #2:
2. Patients taking Invokana or Invokamet were 2X as likely to have amputations.
One study found that patients taking Invokana or Invokamet were twice as likely to have an amputation of the toes, foot, or lower leg as compared to those who took a placebo. Due to these findings, the FDA required Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Invokana and Invokamet, to place a Black Box warning on their labels – the most severe warning given by the FDA.
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3. Invokana and Invokamet increase the risk for ketoacidosis and severe UTIs.
It was also determined that Invokana and Invokamet posed an increased risk for ketoacidosis and severe urinary tract infections as compared to a placebo. Both could lead to serious conditions that could cause hospitalization or worse due to blood or kidney infections.
4. Leading doctors refuse to prescribe Invokana (though some still may).
Respected doctors even have decided to not prescribe this dangerous drug to their patients. Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, stated that he is “uncomfortable prescribing (Invokana) in view of the amputation risk.”
By Nissen’s calculations, he has determined that one out of every 69 patients who takes canagliflozin for five years will have a drug-related amputation. Invokana was approved for market on March 29, 2013 – which is now just past the five year mark!
But let’s do the math: it was estimated that in 2016 4.5 million Invokana prescriptions were filled in the United States. That means that 65,000 people each year could have an Invokana related amputation totaling over 326,000 patients over this five year period!
If you or a loved one are taking Invokana or Invokamet, talk to your doctor about your concerns and to discuss other, safer options that are available. Additionally, if you took these dangerous medications and had an amputation, you may be eligible to receive a financial settlement. Janssen Pharmaceuticals never fully tested their drugs which put you at risk. Call Periscope Group today. We want to hear your story.