A category of medications known as SGLT2 Inhibitors has recently garnered some negative attention, including some heat from the FDA. These Type 2 diabetes drugs are successful and fairly well known; however, the FDA and users are becoming wary of potential side effects.
SGLT2 Inhibitor Side Effects
Users of SGLT2 inhibitors such as Invokana/Farxiga have started reporting that the drug produces an adverse side-effect called ketoacidosis. This condition occurs when acid builds up in the blood, leading to a myriad of issues and complications. Ketoacidosis is typically experienced by those with Type 1 diabetes because their bodies do not produce insulin. Their bodies cannot rely on glucose (sugar) to operate, so they feed on fat cells. If you ever hear people raving about a low carb or Atkins diet, this is the same reason why. The decreased carb intake forces the body into a similar but different state called ketosis, which transfers the body’s fuel over from carbs and glucose to fat. This is why people can shed weight so quickly on those diets.
Digression aside, ketoacidosis produces a dangerous excess of ketones, which are toxic to the body’s chemical balance. This condition leads to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, confusion, fatigue, abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing.
In May of this year, concerns over these side effects formally prompted the FDA to issue a warning, claiming that the side effects could be fatal. No deaths have resulted from SGLT2 inhibitors just yet, but around 20 people ended up in the ER as a result of ketoacidosis induced by drugs; such as Invokana and Farxiga. If left untreated, this side effect can result in coma and even death, which is why it is so important that users of these drugs go to the ER should they experience any of the side effects listed above.
Potential Invokana Lawsuits
There are currently zero complaints pending against the manufacturer of Invokana, Janssen. Lawyers are still in the early phase of investigation and examination of whether these manufacturers should have warned about the potential side-effects of SGLT2 Inhibitors. Still, plaintiffs’ lawyers and the FDA are not the only ones raising questions about these drugs. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices suggested that SGLT2 Inhibitors; such as Invokana may also cause kidney failure, dehydration, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections. Some lawyers have also started examining whether there is a connection between heart attacks and SGLT2 inhibitors. Are there more questions than answers right now? Yes. But these are important questions and we need to figure them out sooner, rather than later.
In fairness, it is important to keep in mind just because a drug has the potential to produce harmful side-effects; not every user has a claim. Drug manufacturers are sued by people who get injured because of an unforeseen side effect. I defended pharmaceutical companies early in my career. I’ve seen it happen. But way too many times, I see drug manufacturers who can foresee these effects and conceal them from potential users to ensure that their product is as marketable as possible. At this point, I tend to suspect the latter when these types of stories come out. Is that the man with the hammer seeing everything as a nail? Maybe. But I don’t think so.
What the Lawsuits Might Allege
Should lawsuits go ahead against the manufacturer of Invokana, Janssen, they would likely allege that the manufacturer concealed the side effects or should have warned about the possibility of ketoacidosis. That is generally what these types of cases are about. Rarely do these types of lawsuits claim that the product should be recalled and should never have been on the market. Instead, we claim that if you know there is a problem with your drug; give the doctors and patients a loud and clear heads-up, so they can make an informed choice. Just because a drug is right for one person does not mean it is right for another. Because different people have different health conditions and different risk/benefit analysis as to whether to take the drug in the first place.
If you think you have been affected by an SGLT2 inhibitor, the best move is to contact an attorney. If lawsuits start getting filed, you want to have your case ready to go.
Settlement Value of Invokana Claims
I just said there have not been any lawsuits filed. Now we will talk about the settlement value of Invokana lawsuits? It is worth talking about because people who have suffered serious injuries or suffered the loss of a loved one want to know what the value of a potential claim might be.
So let’s assume Janssen is responsible for these injuries. How much would a jury award a victim or the family in a wrongful death case? First, you have to say that it is impossible to say and there are no reported deaths from Invokana.
But that does not tell you anything. So let me say this: there is data that shows that the average wrongful death verdict is in the neighborhood of $4 million (the median is somewhere around $1.5 million).
As to other possible claims such as kidney failure and heart attacks, I have a hard time imaging a jury finding liability in a pharmaceutical case and not awarding over a million dollars. The mass tort settlement value of these types of cases — should a class action type MDL get formed — the average settlement value of the claims would be much lower than the trial value. How much lower? It depends on so many factors. Therefore, it is impossible to even throw out any statistical data.
Should You Keep Taking Invokana or Farxiga?
This is a good question. All drugs come with potential benefits and potential risks. But, ultimately you do not want to decide on whether to keep taking Invokana or Farxiga by what you read on a plaintiffs’ attorneys’ blog. Instead, you want to talk to your doctor and discuss the risks and benefits as they apply to you.
Contact Our Law Firm
Our attorneys are reviewing Invokana and other SGLT2 Inhibitor lawsuits from across the USA. If you think that you may have been affected by these drugs, call us at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation.