Patients turn to their doctor to find ways to manage medical conditions. The treatment plan is based on determining what conditions the person has and weighing the options for addressing them. For some patients, the treatment plan isn’t without risks. There are some instances in which treating the underlying issues can put the patient in danger due to the side effects of drugs or procedures.

For people living with diabetes, trying to find a management program that helps keep their A1C at a suitable level, medications are necessary. One drug, Invokana, is a fairly common option that many doctors use. But are they putting patients at risk?

The Boxed Warning

Invokana, which is a brand name of the generic drug canagliflozin, carries one of the notorious Boxed Warning labels. This is sometimes referred to as the black box warning that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires some medications to carry. This is reserved for drugs that have life-threatening side effects that must be considered before the doctor prescribes the drug.

In the case of Invokana, there are several risks that patients and doctors should consider. One of the life-impacting risks to consider is the risk of amputation. Two large studies found that patients on this drug were twice as likely to have a toe or foot amputation than those who took the placebo. The link between the amputations and the drug hasn’t been definitively proven, but the evidence is compelling.

A theory of impact

One theory of why there is an increase in amputations for these patients has to do with how it impacts the kidneys. Since the drug works through the kidneys, there is a chance that a dehydrated person might have blood vessel constriction in the lower limbs. This reduces blood flow, which can lead to serious infections if there are foot ulcers. The bacterial infection might require amputation.

Amputations aren’t the only risk

Anyone who takes this drug should understand that amputations aren’t the only risk they face. There is a chance of hypotension, negative changes in renal function, hypoglycemia, bone fractures, ketoacidosis, hyperkalemia, urinary tract infections and genital infections, as well as others associated with Invokana.

When adverse reactions occur

A patient who suffers from an adverse reaction to Invokana might require extensive medical care. These individuals might opt to pursue legal options for seeking compensation for the damages they have had to deal with. Holding large pharmaceutical companies accountable for putting dangerous drugs out for patients is critical in these cases.