Invokana is the newest diabetes drug to hit the market and uses an innovative mechanism to help control blood sugar for type 2 diabetes. Invokana, produced by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, will make a splash in the market as this is the first drug of its kind.
The statistic for this drug that I’m most interested in is the reduction in A1C percentage. Hemoglobin A1C is the percent of glucose that is bound to red blood cells. It also gives a three-month big picture of the patient’s control of their blood sugar. The higher the number the higher the person’s daily blood sugars will be; the goal is to be under seven percent. Trials have shown that Invokana has lowered A1C percent by approximately 1 percent over 26 weeks with a 300 mg dose and a 0.77 percent decrease with a 100 mg dosage. A one-percent reduction is approximately a decrease of 14 points on an average daily blood glucose reading. Lower blood sugars overall will prevent complications which can include blindness, renal failure and amputations.
How Invokana Works
Invokana works by reducing absorption of extra sugar in the kidneys instead of excreting it into the urine. (Increased urination is often a warning sign that blood sugars are too high.) Patients on Invokana should be made aware that this is a side effect of their medication and use their glucometer blood sugar readings as a guide for their glucose control. Doctors sometimes look at glucose in urine as a diagnostic tool for blood sugar control but this would not be appropriate for patients taking Invokana.
Side Effects of Invokana
The side effects of Invokana mimic symptoms of high blood sugar which include increased urination, dehydration and increased thirst. The medication may also cause low blood pressure and dizziness. Patients currently taking blood pressure medication should be extra cautious and drink plenty of water. Invokana users may experience sudden drops in blood pressure which may cause them to pass out. Standing up slowly from a chair or bed would help to prevent this from happening. Due to the increased urination, patients will be more prone to urinary tract and yeast infections. The extra sugar eliminated in the urine should produce one desirable side effect: weight loss!
How to Take Invokana
When Invokana is combined with other diabetes medications blood sugar may drop too low. Warning signs of low blood sugar include sweating, shaking and feeling foggy or disoriented. It is important that blood sugars are checked more frequently when starting Invokana to prevent low blood sugar events from happening. Invokana can be taken on an empty stomach or with food before the first meal of the day. This medication would not be appropriate for those with renal impairment including those on dialysis. It is also not approved for type 1 diabetics, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or children.
Invokana, in addition with proper diet and exercise, could be a viable choice for a type 2 diabetics trying to lose weight to help get their disease better under control.