Side Effects of Invokana Led To Kidney Failure, Lawsuit Claims

A North Carolina woman claims that she suffered severe kidney problems from side effects of Invokana, developing kidney failure after switching to the new generation diabetes drug.

In a complaint (PDF) filed last week against Johnson & Johnson, it’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals subdiary and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp, Judith Buchanan indicates that the drug makers knew about the kidney risks associated with their recently introduced diabetes drug, but misled doctors and consumers, minimizing unfavorable findings and providing inadequate warnings.

Invokana (canagliflozin) is a controversial diabetes treatment that was approved in March 2013, and was quickly adopted by the medical community amid aggressive marketing that suggested it was superior to other diabetes treatments. However, as more individuals have been switched to the new drug, a steady stream of serious side effects have emerged, including a potential risk of kidney failure, diabetic ketoacidosis and other health problems.

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Buchanan indicates that she was prescribed Invokana in January 2015, for treatment of type 2 diabetes. By March 2015, she was off the drug, but had already suffered severe kidney damage, including kidney failure caused by Invokana.

The case joins a growing number of Invokana lawsuits filed by individuals nationwide, each involving similar allegations that the drug makers failed to adequately research the side effects or warn about the health risks. While most of the cases filed so far involve individuals who have experienced diabetic ketoacidosis from Invokana, which is a serious medical emergency caused by a build up of acid levels in the blood, a number of cases also involve renal failure or other kidney problems

Buchanan’s lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on September 16, indicates that an analysis of adverse event reports submitted to the FDA shows that individuals using Invokana are several times more likely to experience kidney damage, yet the drug maker withheld information from consumers and the medical community.

“Defendants knew of the significant risk of severe kidney damage caused by ingestion of Invokana. However, Defendants did not adequately and sufficiently warn consumers, including Plaintiff, or the medical community of the severity of such risks,” according to the complaint. “To the contrary, Defendants conducted nationwide sales and marketing campaigns to promote the sale of Invokana and willfully deceived Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s health care professionals, the medical community, and the general public as to the health risks and consequences of use of Invokana.”

Invokana Litigation

Invokana was the first member of a new class of diabetes drugs introduced in recent years, known as sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, which work in a unique way from other diabetes treatments. Other members of this class include Invokamet, Farxiga, Xigduo XR, Jardiance and Glyxambi.

Only two years after the drug 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.

In June 2016, the FDA required the drug makers to provide new Invokana warnings, indicating that the medication may increase the risk of acute kidney injury and other severe health problems.

In addition to concerns about kidney failure, a number of lawsuits filed against the drug maker alleging that the drug makers knew or should have suspected that the drug could cause diabetic ketoacidosis, which the FDA required the drug makers to add to the warning label in December 2015. The updated diabetic ketoacidosis warnings now urge users to stop taking the drug and seek immediate medical attention if they experience symptoms like abdominal pain, fatigue, nausea, respiratory problems or vomiting.

As Invokana injury lawyers continue to review and file claims for individuals nationwide, it is widely expected that hundreds, if not thousands, of additional lawsuits may be filed in the coming months and years. Similar Invokamet lawsuits, Farxiga lawsuits, Xigduo lawsuits, Jardiance lawsuits and Glyxambi lawsuits are also being reviewed against the makers of these other SGLT2 inhibitors, which have been linked to similar health risks.


  • ArleneOctober 1, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    I had yeast infection real bad had to take extra Ned for that than was changed to jardance same thing took farxia also same thing all in 2015 and 1st part of 2016 was miserable

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