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Diabetes Sufferers: Were You Injured by Invokana?

By David Boehrer | Posted on June 12, 2019

Invokana, a prescription medication used to treat diabetes, is linked to bacterial genital infections and other serious medical conditions, even death.

Diabetes Sufferers Beware

Recently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about dangerous side effects linked to Invokana, a prescription drug used to treat Type 2 diabetes. The warning states that Invokana, as well as other drugs known as sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, increase the risk of serious genital infections. Invokana works by increasing the rate at which the kidneys remove sugars from the bloodstream, so it’s often used to reduce high blood sugar levels.

According to FDA reports, between 2013 and 2018 there were 12 cases of serious injuries linked to Invokana and a flesh-eating genital infection known as Fournier’s Gangrene. At least one patient died from his injuries and others suffered serious complications and disfiguring surgeries. The FDA expects there may be more cases of gangrene that were not reported by diabetic patients.

The FDA warns that diabetic patients taking SGLT2 inhibitors including Invokana, Farxiga, and Jardiance are at increased risk for developing Fournier’s Gangrene, a dangerous and potentially deadly infection that causes the death of muscle, tissue, nerves, and blood vessels. Infections of the genitals usually develop within several months of taking the drugs. If left untreated, gangrene can spread quickly to other areas including the legs, stomach, and chest.

Fournier’s Gangrene is a bacterial infection that usually enters the body through cuts or breaks in the skin. In males, infection usually starts in the perineum area between the anus and the scrotum. In females, it starts near the vulva. Common symptoms include:

  • Swelling and pain in the genitals or anal area
  • Unpleasant odor near affected skin tissue
  • Crackling sound when touching the affected area
  • High fever
  • Dehydration
  • Anemia

In 2017, the FDA issued a Black Box warning that Invokana and other SGLT2 inhibitor medications also increase the risk for serious injuries and medical conditions including leg and foot amputations, ketoacidosis, kidney failure, strokes, and heart attacks. The FDA is currently warning diabetic patients that they may suffer serious side effects from Invokana that can result in life-altering injuries, permanent disabilities, and even death.

Invokana Injury Lawsuits Filed

As a result of Invokana injuries, numerous lawsuits have been filed against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of the diabetes drug, and its parent company Johnson & Johnson. Injury cases are concentrated in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, while over 1,000 lawsuits have been filed for pretrial proceedings as part of federal multi-district litigation. All injury cases are related to serious drug side effects including Fournier’s Gangrene, limb amputations, diabetic ketoacidosis, and kidney failure.

In the United States, Type 2 diabetes affects an estimated 28 million people. The most common drug used to treat it is Invokana, which means that millions of people are at risk of injuries from Invokana side effects. In prescription drug liability cases, penalties are harsh against drug companies that try to hide unfavorable facts about their products in order to sell higher volumes of drugs. In many cases, it’s proven that drug manufacturers know about drug risks and potential side effects long before drugs are released to the public, but consumers are never informed of those risks.

Dangerous prescription drugs often have serious consequences for unsuspecting patients who are not informed of risks. When injuries occur from side effects, injury attorneys in Henderson NV can often recover damages for patient injuries. Damages usually include:

  • Loss of income and job opportunities
  • Loss of the ability to work or job opportunities
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Punitive damages

If a person dies from his/her injuries, family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit with attorneys in Henderson NV. Recoverable damages usually include funeral expenses, medical expenses prior to death, loss of economic support, and loss of companionship.

When Invokana was first released in the United States, it was viewed as a revolutionary drug that would completely alter treatment for patients with Type 2 diabetes. Many physicians and medical specialists believed that it would make blood sugar management much easier for diabetic patients. The warning signs of potentially dangerous side effects from Invokana were always present. Even during clinical trials of the drug, there were serious side effects including kidney damages, strokes, and heart attacks. Although the FDA expressed concerns about the dangers, they allowed the release of Invokana because they were told that long-term studies would be performed to monitor drug safety.

In late August 2018, the FDA issued a new warning about Invokana after one patient died and 11 other patients were hospitalized because of severe genital infections. In October 2018, Johnson & Johnson agreed to settle a large number of Invokana lawsuits and class actions. More settlements are expected in 2019.

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