Amid mounting FDA warnings that the diabetes drug Invokana may cause kidney damage, a new study out last month confused the issue by suggesting the drug may actually slow kidney damage.
The data comes as the growing number of lawsuits against the manufacturer of Invokana, Johnson & Johnson, has led to victims requesting that cases be consolidated to a central federal court for quicker handling.
FDA Warnings on Invokana
In 2015, the FDA first warned that patients taking Invokana may be at risk of high blood acid levels after receiving an unusually high number of complaints.
Then, in June, the agency strengthened warnings for Invokana and Farxiga to advise patients and doctors of the risk for kidney injury.
The warnings came after the FDA received over 100 reports of patients suffering kidney damage while using the drugs between 2013 and 2015, most of which occurred soon after they began treatment.
Some patients improved after they stopped taking Invokana or Farxiga. However, many needed hospitalization and kidney dialysis.
New SGLT2 Study Suggests Kidney Benefits
Now, however, a new study from the American Society of Nephrology suggests Invokana may reduce kidney function decline better than other diabetes drugs while also lowering blood sugar.
The study, released in August, was conducted on 2 years worth of data from 1,450 patients by researchers at University Medical Center at Groningen, in the Netherlands.
However, it is important to note the study only compared Invokana’s kidney benefits to another diabetes drug, not its overall effect on kidney function.
Rising Number of Invokana Kidney Lawsuits May Lead to Consolidation
This month, a number of victims suing Invokana maker Johnson & Johnson over alleged kidney damage asked a federal court to consolidate all cases into a special multidistrict litigation court for quicker handling.
According to their request, filed September 20th, close to 60 cases have already been filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey under Judge Brian R. Martinotti.
Similar to a class action, a multidistrict litigation court allows victims to file their individual cases in one venue using shared evidence and resources, without having to join their cases together as one.
What Should Invokana Patients Know?
Invokana was approved by the FDA in 2013, and is now prescribed nearly 3 million times each year.
According to the FDA, doctors should determine if patients are at risk for kidney injury before prescribing the drug, and monitor for symptoms of kidney failure, which include:
Patients who notice these symptoms should call their doctor immediately. However, they shouldn’t stop taking Invokana without talking to their doctor first.
Anyone diagnosed with kidney damage after taking Invokana should also talk with a lawyer about their legal rights to join the litigation.
For more information on the side effects and warnings associated with Invokana, or to speak directly with a lawyer, contact DrugNews today.
Salvatore, C. J&J Invokana Suits Should Be An MDL, Patients Say. Law360. (September 22, 2016). Retrieved from www.law360.com
Science Daily. New oral diabetes drugs may also protect patients' kidney health. (August 18, 2016). Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com
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