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Amid a growing number of product liability lawsuits filed in courts nationwide over the potential side effects of Invokana, federal regulators have recently approved a new extended release version of the popular diabetes drug, which may soon be the subject of even more cases brought against the manufacturer for failing to adequately warn consumers and the medical community.
Invokana (canagliflozin) is a controversial diabetes treatment that was introduced by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary in March 2013, and was quickly adopted by the medical community amid aggressive marketing that suggested it was superior to other diabetes treatments. The drug maker introduced second version of the drug the following year, under the brand name Invokamet, which combined Invokana with the older diabetes treatment metformin.
As more and more individuals have been switched to the new drugs, a steady stream of serious side effects have emerged, including a risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, kidney failure and other health problems.
Johnson & Johnson now faces Invokana lawsuits and Invokanamet lawsuits pending in courts nationwide, alleging that the drug maker failed to adequately research the medication and withheld important safety warnings in an effort to avoid loss of drug sales.
Last month, the FDA approved an extended release of Invokamet, which will be marketed as Invokamet XR, which may further expand the user base, since the drug is only taken once-daily. However, it is likely to carry the same health risks and drug labels, which many critics indicate still provide false and misleading information.
Only two years after Invokana was approved, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) highlighted serious concerns after analyzing FDA adverse event data in May 2015. Based on problems reported during the first full year the drug was on the market, ISMP identified a risk of kidney damage with Invokana, raising questions about whether the side effects may outweigh the benefits provided by the medication.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) is scheduled to hear oral arguments in December, to decide whether to centralize all federal Invokana and Invokamet cases before one judge for coordinate pretrial proceedings. There are currently at least 57 claims pending throughout the federal court system. However, as lawyers continue to review and file claims, it is widely expected that hundreds, if not thousands of complaints will be filed in the coming months. As more users switch to this new, extended release version of the drug, it is also likely that Invokamet XR lawsuits will be included in the litigation.