Unauthorized Acid Trips

June 5th, 2017

The FDA has issued a warning for patients taking the Type 2 diabetes drug canagliflozin, also known by its brand name, Invokana. Use of Invokana can lead to dangerous levels of ketones – acids in the bloodstream. This is known medically as acidosis and can lead to a number of problems – bone disease, delayed growth, dehydration, swelling of the brain, pancreatitis, several types of kidney problems, and even death. As if that wasn’t enough, just last month “(t)he FDA found people who took Invokana had leg and foot amputations twice as often as patients who took a placebo.”

Canagliflozin is in a category of drugs called SGLT2 (Sodium-GLucose coTransporter-2) inhibitors. These drugs help lower blood sugar by causing the kidneys to remove sugar from the body through urine. But they are not without side effects.

If you have been prescribed Invokana for diabetes make sure you keep in close contact with your doctor. You may need to watch out for symptoms of ketoacidosis. These include decreased alertness, flushing, frequent urination or thirst (lasting over a day), headache, nausea, stomach pains or fruit-smelling breath.

At this point canagliflozin has been approved for use with Type 2 diabetes. Your physician can prescribe it for other things, but both the patient and the prescriber need to be aware of the risks.