Diabetes is a debilitating condition, and one that often worsens over time. Patients struggling with their diabetes diagnosis can face a whole host of frightening symptoms. In addition to dietary restrictions, the need to check blood glucose levels and take supplemental insulin, many people with diabetes experience dry mouth, frequent urination, blurry vision, increased risk of yeast infections and pain or numbness in the feet or legs.

This pain is called diabetic neuropathy, and it is the result of nerve damage caused by high glucose levels in the blood. Left untreated, the pain and nerve damage can get worse. While there are several kinds of diabetic neuropathy with varying symptoms, all of them are serious. In some cases, ongoing issues can lead to amputation of the toes, feet or lower legs. This risk exists for everyone with diabetes, but it is especially high for those taking the drug Invokana (generic name Canagliflozin).

Invokana can double your risk of amputation

Invokana is a popular medication prescribed to help those with type 2 diabetes. Instead of replacing insulin, it blocks or inhibits the ability of your body to transport glucose internally. It does carry a known risk of low glucose levels, as it keeps your body from reabsorbing glucose in the kidneys. Studies also indicate it can help reduce the risk of an adverse cardiovascular event, e.g., a heart attack, in patients with type 2 diabetes.

However, those potential benefits do not cancel out the fact that this drug doubles your risk of losing a limb to amputation. Seven out of every 1,000 people treated with Invokana had an amputation within a year, while only 3 of 1,000 people on placebos required an amputation. The toes and middle of the foot are the areas most commonly affected. In order to inform the public about this potential risk, the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) required a new warning on the label advising medical professionals and patients of the increased risk of amputation.

Invokana has other serious side effects

If you know about the potential increased risk for amputation, that can help you make an informed medical decision about whether or not this drug is right for you. Invokana also has an FDA-required warning about the potential risk of acute kidney injury in those taking the drug. Kidney damage can also increase diabetic neuropathy in your feet and legs, because it can lead to swelling of these areas of the body.

Before you ever take the drug, your doctor will test your kidney function. However, tests before administration won’t eliminate the risk of severe injury caused by this medication. Patients with severe negative outcomes related to this drug may have options for compensation.