Millions of people are living with type 2 diabetes in the United States. Depending on the severity of the condition, some patients may need to take medication to control their symptoms and prevent dangerous complications. Unfortunately, however, one such medication used to treat type 2 diabetes has since been linked to the dangerous condition diabetic ketoacidosis. This medication, Invokana, was designed to improve glycemic control and lower blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. It is also accompanied by several potentially harmful side effects.
FDA Warning About Ketoacidosis
In May of 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning with regard to Invokana and Invokamet use. The warning contained the following information:
- Type 2 diabetes medications Invokana and Invokamet may lead to diabetic ketoacidosis.
- Patients taking the drugs developed diabetic ketoacidosis in 20 reported cases, with additional reports continuing to unfold. In these cases, the patients needed an emergency room visit or hospitalization.
- People taking Invokana must be on the lookout for symptoms of ketoacidosis. Some of the symptoms that may arise include difficulty breathing, vomiting, nausea, confusion, unusual fatigue, and abdominal pain.
As a result of the warning, many patients who have taken Invokana to treat their diabetes and later developed harmful side effects are pursuing legal action against the drug’s maker.
What Is Ketoacidosis?
When the body produces high levels of blood acids known as ketones, this is known as diabetic ketoacidosis. This condition develops when the body cannot produce enough insulin. Without sufficient insulin, the body begins to break down fat as fuel instead of sugar. This process then produces a build-up of acids in the bloodstream known as ketones. Eventually, this will lead to diabetic ketoacidosis if not treated.
Diabetic ketoacidosis can be diagnosed through a physical examination and a combination of blood tests. These tests may include the following:
- Blood sugar level to see if there is a high amount of sugar in the blood. When the body does not produce enough insulin, blood sugar levels rise. The level rises even higher when the body begins to break down fat and protein for energy.
- Ketone level to see if there are ketones in the bloodstream. Ketones appear in the bloodstream when the body breaks down fat and protein for energy.
- Blood acidity to test for excess ketones in the blood. When this occurs, the blood becomes acidic. Acidosis can lead to abnormal functioning of the organs throughout the body.
In addition, the following tests may be used to identify underlying health problems that may have helped cause the diabetic ketoacidosis:
- Blood electrolyte tests
- Chest X-ray
Treatments for Diabetic Ketoacidosis
After developing diabetic ketoacidosis, patients run the risk of falling into a diabetic coma or dying as a result of the condition. Some patients require long-term hospitalization. Since the condition is so dangerous, treatment is necessary. Some of the more common treatments include the following:
- Fluid replacement. Fluids are administered either by mouth or through a vein to replace those lost through excessive urination. Fluid replacement can also help dilute the excess sugar in the blood.
- Electrolyte replacement. Electrolytes are administered through a vein to help keep the heart, muscles, and nerve cells functioning normally. Electrolyte levels are low in those with diabetic ketoacidosis because the absence of insulin can lower the level of several types of electrolytes normally found in the blood.
- Insulin therapy. Insulin therapy is often used because it reverses the processes that cause diabetic ketoacidosis. This therapy is usually administered through a vein. After blood sugar levels are stabilized, some patients can stop intravenous insulin therapy and resume normal insulin therapy.
People who develop diabetic ketoacidosis may need treatment that can be administered in the emergency room. Others may require hospitalization in order to bring their condition under control.
If you took Invokana to treat your type 2 diabetes, it is essential to seek professional guidance in order to protect your legal rights. We have helped many people obtain the compensation they deserve after suffering harm caused by a dangerous drug. We can help you too.