Invokana Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over Risk of Kidney Damage, Death

The makers of Invokana face a class action lawsuit in Canada, due to the potential risk of kidney failure and other injuries linked to the new-generation diabetes drug. 

The Invokana class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of Rosalba Joudry, of Scarborough, Ontario, and seeks to represent users throughout Canada who have suffered kidney problems due to the drug’s side effects. Attorneys representing Joudry are calling for an Invokana recall throughout the country.

According to the complaint, Canadian patients have suffered $1 billion in damages due to side effects of Invokana. The lawsuit accuses the manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen subsidiary, of negligence and failing to provide adequate warnings for the medical community about the risks associated with the drug.

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The case comes amid increasing interest in potential Invokana lawsuits in the United States, which are currently being investigated by hundreds of people who have suffered kidney damage, ketoacidosis and other injuries allegedly caused by the medication.

Invokana (canagliflozin) was the first member of a new class of diabetes drugs introduced in recent years, known as sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. Other medications on the market in the United States that are part of the same class include Invokamet, Farxiga, Jardiance, Xigduo XR and Glyxambi. However, Invokana remains the most widely used of the class.

Although the diabetes drug has only been on the market in the U.S. for two years, amid aggressive direct-to-consumer promotions by the drug maker, it has quickly become a blockbuster treatment. However, as more individuals are switched to the new drugs, information has emerged about several safety concerns, including a potential risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and kidney failure.

On May 15, the FDA announced that it is investigating the potential risk of ketoacidosis from Invokana and other SGLT2 inhibitors, after at least 20 cases of were identified during the first 15 months Invokana was on the market.

All of the cases involved hospitalization or emergency room treatment due to ketoacidosis symptoms while on Invokana or a similar drug. The agency is continuing to review whether additional warnings or prescribing information are needed for the entire class of drugs.

The same month as the FDA warnings, the Institute of Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) released a report that independently evaluates adverse event reports submitted to the FDA, identifying potential safety signals involving kidney toxicity and raising questions about whether the potential Invokana risks may actually outweigh the benefits provided by the diabetes drug.

During the first year Invokana was on the market, ISMP highlighted 457 serious adverse event reports submitted to the FDA involving complications from Invokana. These adverse event reports typically only account for a small portion of the total problems associated with prescription medications on the market.

Many of the reported Invokana problems involved kidney failure, kidney impairment or problems with kidney stones, urinary tract infections, dehydration, hypersensitivity and abnormal weight loss. Looking at reports to the FDA’s adverse event reporting system, the ISMP found that Invokana received more serious adverse event reports than 92% of the other drugs regularly monitored by the group.

Health Canada, the Canadian health agency overseeing pharmaceuticals in that country, launched its own investigation into the potential Invokana risks in June.

It will likely take six to seven months for Canadian courts to decide whether to approve the Invokana lawsuit’s class action status.

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