Invokana is among a class of medications known as sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors. Other drugs in this class include Invokamet, Glyxambi, Xigduo XR, Farxiga, and Jardiance. These drugs are meant to reduce the amount of sugar in a patient’s blood by removing excess levels through urination.
However, some medications (such as Invokana) that are designed to control blood sugar in diabetics can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the article, one of the clinical trials that were submitted to the FDA prior to Invokana approval showed that 13 patients participating in the trial had suffered a stroke or heart attack. This is compared to only one patient in the trial who was taking a placebo.
Concerns continue to grow long after Invokana approval was granted. For example, the FDA issued a Safety Communication in May 2015, warning that 20 patients had reported they developed diabetic ketoacidosis after taking the drug. Then, in September 2015, the agency added new information to the drug’s warning label to inform Invokana users about an increased risk of bone fractures as well as a loss of bone density.
According to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), more than 450 adverse events linked to Invokana have been reported to the FDA. These include urinary tract infections, kidney stones, weight loss and even kidney failure.