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Plaintiff Demands Compensation for Life-Threatening Invokana Complications

InvokanaAnthony R. Allen has filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharm Corp. He claims that the defendants’ prescription medication, Invokana, resulted in serious injuries that could have claimed his life.

Allen is an Illinois resident who began using Invokana in December of 2014. The plaintiff’s Invokana lawsuit claims that he used the medication in accordance with the prescribing instructions; however, he suffered from diabetic ketoacidosis as an alleged result of the drug.

The case was filed on October 28, 2015 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. He demands compensation in excess of $75,000 for his economic and non-economic damages.

About Invokana

Invokana was developed in collaboration between Johnson & Johnson and Tanabe. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, advertised, marketed, and distributed Invokana in the U.S. Invokana (canagliflozin) was approved by the FDA in March 2013 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Along with diet and exercise, this oral diabetes medication can help patients manage blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications.

Invokana is in a class of drugs known as sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. Unlike previous generations of diabetes medications, Invokana works differently in the body. It blocks the ability of the kidneys to reabsorb glucose back into the bloodstream. Instead, a percentage of excess glucose is expelled in the urine, which prevents it from being metabolized and affecting blood glucose levels. However, Allen’s lawsuit points out that since the drug was approved for use by U.S. patients, the FDA received “a significant number of reports of diabetic ketoacidosis among users of Invokana.”

In a non-clinical review of adverse event reports submitted to the FDA, it has been suggested that Invokana users may be several times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis.

Plaintiff developed diabetic ketoacidosis

At some unspecified time after the plaintiff began using Invokana late in 2014, he presented at a hospital with symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis. This is a life-threatening condition characterized by the dangerous accumulation of ketones in the bloodstream. Without sufficient insulin in the body, the body’s cells cannot take in enough blood glucose to use as energy. Because of this, they begin to break down fat for fuel instead. Consequently, the breakdown of fat for energy results in increased ketone levels in the bloodstream.

The symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis can develop rapidly. While the plaintiff did not provide specific information about his medical condition, diabetic ketoacidosis commonly causes symptoms such as confusion, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, excessive thirst, and frequent urination. If left untreated, diabetic ketoacidosis can result in loss of consciousness and death. Patients are also at an increased risk of cerebral edema, hypokalemia, and hypoglycemia.

This lawsuit claims that the plaintiff would never have put himself at risk of diabetic ketoacidosis had he been fully advised of the potential complications of Invokana. He brings counts of design defect, failure to warn, and willful and wanton conduct or gross negligence, among others.