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By: Marilyn McGoldrick, Esq.

The Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation has transferred all existing Invokana (canagliflozin) and Invokamet (canagliflozin/metformin) cases alleging ketoacidosis, kidney disease and other serious injuries filed in federal courts to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey on December 7, 2016. If you have been injured by taking Invokana or Invokamet, there is still time to file a claim.

A total of 55 cases alleging injuries from these diabetes drugs were transferred to a consolidated docket known as an MDL before the Honorable Brian R. Martinotti. An MDL (stands for MultiDistrict Litigation) is created to efficiently handle similar complex cases. In an MDL, while the cases share common legal and factual issues, each case is still resolved individually.

Invokana and Invokamet are classified as sodium-glucose-cotransporter-2 drugs (a/k/a SGLT2 inhibitors).  SGLT2s work by  preventing the kidneys from reabsorbing blood sugar. This lets the sugar leave the body through the urine, thereby lowering blood glucose levels. SGLT2s are prescribed for Type 2 diabetes.

Invokana, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and marketed in the U.S. by J&J subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, was the first SGLT2 approved by the FDA.  Invokana went on the market on March 29, 2013; Invokamet was not approved until August 8, 2014. Between March 2013 and October 2015, the FDA received reports of 101 cases of acute kidney injury, including kidney impairment or failure; kidney stones, dehydration; urinary tract infections, weight loss, hypotension (low blood pressure) and hypersensitivity.

In May 2015 the FDA warned that patients should be alert to the symptoms of too much acid in the blood (ketoacidosis), and seek medical attention immediately if “difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, confusion, and unusual fatigue or sleepiness”  is experienced while taking SGLT2s. The FDA had received 20 complaints from March 2013 to June 2014 of ketoacidosis, diabetic ketoacidosis, or ketosis in patients taking SGLT2s.

In June of 2016 the FDA strengthened the existing warning on Invokana and Invokamet to include information about acute kidney injury, adding recommendations to minimize the risk of such injury. This stronger warning also included the SGLT2s Farxiga and Xigduo XR.

However, in consolidating the Invokana and Invokamet cases in New Jersey, the Panel decided against consolidating any other SGLT2 drugs in the MDL. Instead, the court chose to consolidate only the canagliflozan drugs, finding:

“…the Invokana/Invokamet actions involve common questions of fact, and [] centralization of these cases will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation. The actions share factual questions arising from allegations that taking Invokana or Invokamet may result in patients suffering various injuries, including diabetic ketoacidosis and kidney damage. The actions thus implicate numerous common issues concerning the development, manufacture, testing, regulatory history, promotion, and labeling of the drugs.”

If you have taken Invokana, Invokamet, or another SGLT2 diabetes drug and have experienced side effects, you should call your doctor immediately for diagnosis and treatment. If you have been diagnosed with ketoacidosis or any other serious side effect after taking Invokana, Invokamet, or any SGLT2, you may have a claim for damages. Call Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at our toll free number 888-341-1405 or tell us your story here for a free, no obligation case evaluation.