Many experts, including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), have been calling diabetes one of the greatest “epidemics” of our time. While that may sound dramatic, consider that 30 million Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and the number of patients is predicted to increase to nearly 55 million over the next decade. It’s no wonder that new treatments and products are being introduced to market. Unfortunately, some of these newer medications like Invokana may cause more harm than good.

Invokana’s Lethal Side: Giacomo Lo Re’s Story
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Giacomo Lo Re’s Story

Giacomo Lo Re left Sicily 50 years ago and “came from sleeping a family of six in one bed to coming to the U.S. and grabbing everything this country has and saying, ‘I’m going to provide a life for my family,’” explained his daughter-in-law Maria Lo Re.

Lo Re was in his late 60’s and was retired when he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He was given Invokana, not insulin, to “improve his quality of life.” Lo Re started using Invokana in August 2016 and by the end of September, he knew that something wasn’t quite right. He complained of mild discomfort while urinating and genital skin irritation, so his primary physician recommended basic anti-itch skin creams and suggested a follow-up visit in three months.

On Jan. 27, 2017 Lo Re rushed to the hospital with symptoms including fever, diarrhea, vomiting, chills and headache, as well as worsening pain, thought to be urinary stones connected to diabetes. Lo Re was sent home with prescriptions for a painkiller and urinary aid, but went to the emergency room the next morning. He died later that day. An autopsy revealed sepsis as the cause of death.

Lo Re ended up having Fournier’s gangrene, a rare but serious genital infection, that has been linked to Invokana use. Unfortunately, Lo Re and his doctors weren’t told about the potential for this horrible condition at the time.

Problems With Invokana

Invokana was approved by the FDA in 2013 and while the researchers did test for glucose levels, they failed to determine the long term effects that could occur. This is an important point to know because Invokana (canagliflozin) is an SGLT2 inhibitor and works in a totally different way than traditional diabetic medications. This is why the original label didn’t have warnings that included the additional risk of lower leg and foot amputations or Fournier’s gangrene (the warnings came out in May 2017 and August 2018, respectively). There still isn’t a warning about sepsis.

The FDA reported that “from March 2016 through September 2018, there were 4,891 reported cases of infections and infestations associated with SGLT2 inhibitors, including 248 cases of sepsis, 1,326 cases of fungal infection and 591 cases of gangrene,” cited news magazine Democrat & Chronicle.

If you took Invokana between March 2013 to August 2018 and experienced Fournier’s gangrene or if you took this drug between March 2013 to May 2017 and suffered a lower leg or foot amputation, call Periscope Group today at (800) 511-3838. We want to help you if we can.

 

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Sources
“Lawsuit claims Johnson & Johnson misled public about diabetes drug that killed New Yorker”. Democrat & Chronicle. Accessed April 3, 2019. https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/health/2019/03/27/lawsuit-johnson-johnson-diabetes-drug-death/3166571002/
“Diabetes: Biggest epidemic in human history”. Optum. Accessed April 3, 2019. https://www.optum.com/resources/library/diabetes-backgrounder.html
“FDA Drug Safety Podcast: FDA confirms increased risk of leg and foot amputations with the diabetes medicine canagliflozin (Invokana, Invokamet, Invokamet XR)”. FDA. Accessed April 3, 2019. https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/DrugSafetyPodcasts/ucm560492.htm
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