Kidney Damage from Invokana Lawsuit
A new class of drugs for Type 2 diabetes is called SGLT2 inhibitors, including Invokana. First heralded as a revolutionary step forward in managing Type 2 diabetes, now the FDA has warned that Invokana use is linked to serious side effects, including ketoacidosis which causes dangerously high acid levels in the blood, which can poison the body.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released multiple safety warnings to patients taking Invokana, and has added potential symptoms and an updated warning label to the medication.
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Kidney Failure from Invokana
The FDA has issued warnings about a connection between Invokana and potentially kidney failure. Many patients taking SGLT2 inhibitors have already heard about the increased risks for ketoacidosis.
The FDA has prepared a list of 19 patients who suffered from life threatening blood (urosepsis) and kidney infections (pyelonephritis). The agency warns patients about the increased incidence of urinary tract infections because the conditions began as urinary tract infections that spread to the kidneys and/or blood. All 19 patients needed to be hospitalized, and some required dialysis for kidney failure and/or admission to the intensive care unit.
Risks to Patients’ Kidneys Were First Observed in 2013
The updated risk information may be startling to patients, but by the time Invokana was approved by the FDA on March 29, 2013, independent medical researchers had identified the drug’s possible connection to kidney related issues. Invokana was the first of the “new generation” of Type 2 diabetes drugs to be released to the market, and during its first year of sales, there were many reports of serious side effects involving kidney damage.
Distressing reports were monitored by QuarterWatch, a nonprofit group that focuses on collecting reports of side effects related to Invokana. The organization reported 457 individuals’ adverse effects to the FDA between April and June of 2014. During those months, nearly 500,000 new prescriptions were written for Invokana, so they estimate that 1 out of 100 patients prescribed the drug suffered from a serious side effect.
Invokana & Kidney Function
The kidneys are two bean shaped organs that purify the blood by removing waste that is eliminated from the body via urine. Blood glucose, our body’s primary source of energy, is collected in the kidneys, where it is filtered and goes back into the blood stream.
Invokana blocks your kidneys’ reabsorption of glucose. Instead, Invokana causes the kidneys to release the glucose through the urine.
In addition, Invokana increases the levels of creatinine in the body, it is normally eliminated in the urine, but the medication causes the kidneys to release it back into the bloodstream. Creatinine is produced by breaking down muscle, and increased levels in the blood can signify decreased kidney functioning.
The Causes of Kidney Failure
When the kidneys lose their ability to purify the blood by removing waste products, according to WebMD, it causes kidney failure. If the blood is not properly filtered, toxins accumulate in the bloodstream and can eventually be fatal. Kidney failure can be chronic, developing over a long period of time or acute, in a matter of days or hours.
It is not possible to include a comprehensive list of all the potential causes of kidney failure. However, there are three main types. They are prerenal, renal, and postrenal.
Prerenal causes reduce the supply of blood that reaches the kidneys, such as dehydration or an obstruction in one of your veins.
Renal causes include damage to the kidney directly. One example is sepsis, a systemic infection that causes inflammation throughout the body. If the kidneys themselves become inflamed, they can stop working entirely.
The kidneys can get blocked up or clogged. That’s what happens in a condition called “rhabdomyolysis,” which is triggered when there are excessive amounts of muscle breaking down. As the muscles break down, the fibers eventually enter the blood stream. The kidneys are overloaded with the muscle fibers that are rapidly being broken down and the organs cannot keep up with their normal role of purification.
Postrenal issues affect how the urine leaves the kidneys. During normal functioning, after being filtered in the kidneys, urine travels through tubes called “ureters” and fills up the bladder.
However, those tubes can get blocked up, by kidney stones or cancerous tumors, or they can become deformed after a traumatic accident. The kidneys continue to produce urine, but it cannot travel to the bladder because the route is blocked, so pressure increases in the kidneys. The extra pressure and stress on the kidneys leads to damage and eventually complete renal failure when the kidneys stop functioning.
Acute & Chronic Symptoms of Kidney Failure
Typically, acute kidney failure causes:
- Fatigue or sleepiness
- Swollen legs and / or feet
- Chest pain
- Disorientation, confusion
- Abnormally low urine volume
- Difficulty breathing
In severe cases, kidney failure can also be accompanied by seizures, even coma. Chronic kidney failure, on the other hand, can present an array of “nonspecific” symptoms, side effects that are associated with numerous other medical conditions. As a result, many cases of chronic kidney failure are not diagnosed before permanent renal damage has occurred.
Acute kidney patients may experience seizures or become comatose. On the other hand, chronic kidney failure can include a wide range of other symptoms associated with many other medical conditions. This means that kidney failure patients are often not properly diagnosed before substantial damage to the organs occurs.
The symptoms of chronic kidney failure tend to develop slowly over time, and can include:
- Chest pain and difficulty breathing, due to possible fluid buildup in the lungs
- Swollen feet, ankles, and legs
- Chronic itchiness
- Changes to urine output
- Decreased appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hypertension, or high blood pressure
- Impaired mental acuity
- Muscle twitching or tics
Patients with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are more likely to suffer from acute renal failure or chronic kidney disease than the rest of the population.
Long-Term Risks of Kidney Failure
Acute renal failure can lead to:
- End-stage renal disease means the kidneys have stopped functioning. The only options for survival are a kidney transplant or dialysis treatment for the rest of the patient’s life, which requires a machine to filter blood and body fluids multiple times per week.
- Death will occur if acute kidney failure goes untreated.
- Chronic kidney disease involves a range of possible complications. Since fluid is retained in the body rather than being filtered and eliminated through urine, blood pressure can get out of control, and the lungs may begin to fill with the excess fluid.
- Hyperkalemia, high levels of potassium in the blood, can permanently reduce heart functioning and lead to irreversible cardiovascular damage. Pericarditis, inflammation and swelling of the pericardium, a sac that surrounds the heart, as well as anemia are common for patients with chronic renal failure. Over time, the central nervous system can become damaged, leading to mood disorders, alterations in personality, or seizures. Over time, bones can become weakened, increasing the likelihood of a fracture. The immune system becomes less effective and the risk of infections increases.
Chronic kidney failure can progress to end stage renal disease and eventually death if it goes untreated.
Contact a Lawyer Knowledgeable about Invokana and Kidney Damage Litigation
Chelsie King Garza is committed to advocating for the rights of patients nationwide, and is currently working on Invokana and kidney damage claims. Free consultations are available for any patient who took an SGLT2 inhibitor and then experienced ketoacidosis or kidney damage. To learn more about your legal options, and to get a no cost case eligibility evaluation, contact Chelsie King Garza today at 713-893-8808.