Invokana – Diabetes Medication

Generic Summary

  • Trade name: Invokana
  • Generic name: Canagliflozin
  • Drug class: SGLT2 Inhibitors
  • Manufacturer: Janssen Pharmaceuticals

What is Invokana?

Invokana is an oral medication for people with type 2 diabetes. It helps by lowering blood glucose levels through encouraging the body to filter out more glucose from the blood and expelling it with urine.

With this drug, patients can reduce their blood glucose levels without increasing the likelihood of weight-gain, as long as they maintain a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise. Invokana should be taken once daily with or without food.

Who Can Take Invokana?

Adults with type 2 diabetes can take Invokana. It was only released in the UK in February 2014. As a result, the medication is currently awaiting guidance from NICE as to whether it will be recommended for use on the NHS.

Who Can’t Take Invokana?

Invokana tablets should never be used by:

  • People with type 1 diabetes
  • People with low kidney function
  • People who are taking strong diuretic medication

Side Effects

The following side effects can occur when taking Invokana:

  • Hypoglycemia can happen if Invokana is taken with sulphonylurea medication or insulin.
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Genital thrush
  • Increased risk of urinary tract infections.
  • Increased need to urinate.
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • LDL cholesterol increase
  • Decrease in kidney function.

Always refer to your patient information leaflet that comes with your medication. If you have any concerns regarding side effects, consult a healthcare professional.

Long-Term Effects

Invokana is a relatively new medication, therefore the full extent of its long-term effects is unknown and can’t be accurately predicted. However, there have been some findings in clinical studies that indicate a fall in eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate). This is a marker that shows how well the kidneys are function. Patients who take Invokana and demonstrate a drop in eGFR could experience safety issues related to a drop in kidney function with the drug.

There are also questions about whether Invokana presents a risk to heart health. In one of the clinical trials, 13 patients suffered a major cardiovascular event, including heart attacks and strokes. These events happened within the first 30 days of taking the drug when compared with the placebo patient. The number of cardiovascular incidents levelled out after a month.