Invokana Doubles The Risk of Foot Amputation

| June 2, 2017

Three years ago, I warned Real Diabetes Truth readers here that Invokana, a diabetes drug that had just been launched in the UK, could turn out to be the worst yet in terms of dangerous side effects. And now, my suspicions have been confirmed by EU and USA regulators, who have ordered that the drug must carry a “black box” warning relating to amputation risks.

Two large clinical trials have shown that Invokana doubles the risk of foot and leg amputations in type 2 diabetes patients, compared to placebo. Full results from the trials have not yet been published, but the regulators felt they had to act quickly when informed of these findings by the drug’s manufacturer, Janssen.1

I said in my earlier post that we might need to wait several years before Invokana’s true trail of destruction became clear. But your feedback comments on that post already show that those of you who have been prescribed it have experienced urogenital and oral yeast infections, unbearable joint pain, and kidney failure that needed hospital treatment.

Dr Sidney Wolfe, the former director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, has flagged up the risk of blood clots in patients taking Invokana, who he estimates are 50 per cent more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than those taking similar antidiabetic drugs. There are also concerns that Invokana could cause heart failure, a risk already linked with other diabetes drugs, like Actos and Onglyza.

Meanwhile, dozens of studies, case reports and clinical trials have shown Invokana can also cause:

  • diabetic ketoacidosis (high acidity in the blood, which can be fatal)2
  • low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)
  • acute kidney damage
  • elevated potassium in the blood (which can cause heart rate abnormalities and cardiac arrest)
  • raised levels of LDL-cholesterol (the bad kind)
  • osteoporosis, leading to bone fractures, and
  • acute pancreatitis3

First, do no harm?

This is just crazy. People with diabetes know they are already at risk of foot and leg amputation, heart problems, kidney damage, osteoporosis, acute pancreatitis and diabetic ketoacidosis. Taking Invokana raises every single one of those risks even higher – with the potential added misery of a genital or urinary tract infection, or crippling joint pain. And I thought the golden rule for doctors was “First, do no harm”!

In responding to the latest findings, Janssen has the nerve to insist “patient safety is our highest priority”. If so, why don’t they immediately withdraw Invokana from sale? Of course, we know that won’t happen – because Big Pharma’s highest priority is actually making as much money as it can.

In the US, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Invokana. But, even when courts rule against pharmaceutical companies like Janssen, for selling drugs that ruin people’s lives, the fines and compensation they are made to pay are just small change, compared to the profits those drugs bring in. To add insult to injury, Big Pharma can even offset court-ordered damages against taxes, like any other “business expense”!

If you have diabetes and your doctor suggests you should take Invokana (also known as canagliflozin), there are just three little words you need to remember: No! No! No!

On a warm summer day, many of us enjoy a cold beer. The bad news is that it probably raises your risk of obesity more than you think, as I explain in my next blog post.

Wishing you the best of health,

Martin Hum
PhD DHD Nutritionist
for Real Diabetes Truth

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1. The proof is in: Invokana puts diabetic patients at greater risk for amputation. Drug Safety News 18 May 2017.

2. Gelaye A, Haidar A, Kassab C, Kazmi S, Sinha P. Severe ketoacidosis associated with canagliflozin (Invokana): a safety concern. Case Rep Crit Care. 2016; 2016:1656182.

3. Chowdhary M, Kabbani AA, Chabra A. Canagliflozin-induced pancreatitis: a rare side effect of a new drug. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2015; 11:991-994.

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Category: Diabetes Drugs

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