Pharmaceutical companies are slowly closing in on the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes with the FDA approval of Invokana (canagliflozin), a sugar-controlling tablet manufactured by Janssen.
According to Mary Parks M.D, chief of Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products under the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research of the FDA, Invokana is part of a family of drugs that inhibit subtype 2 sodium-glucose transport proteins (SGLT2), which are responsible for re-absorption of glucose in the kidney. The breakthrough drug also enhances the excretion of glucose, and regulates blood sugar levels of people with diabetes.
Clinical trials in Type 2 Diabetes patients showed remarkable improvement in hemoglobin A1c and blood sugar levels. The drug has been tested to be taken as-is or in conjunction with other more notable antidiabetic drugs such as metformin and insulin.
While trials showed success in treating Type 2 Diabetes, Invokana is not advisable for people with Type 1 Diabetes, high ketone levels in urine or blood, or extensive renal disease. Meanwhile, side effects identified after taking Invokana are urinary tract infection, yeast infection in the vagina, and increase in LDL cholesterol. Frequent urination may also be experienced, as well as sudden drop in blood pressure especially when in an upright position. Expect dizzy spells during the first few months of taking the drug.
Several studies are still being done to ensure safety of Invokana as an approved antidiabetic drug. Some of the studies include monitoring for malignancies, effects on cardiovascular health, potential issues on hypersensitivity, pregnancy-related issues, and effect on bone strength. Despite all these, Aaron Cypress M.D. of Joslin Diabetes Center says Invokana looks to be a promising alternative.