The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Johnson & Johnson’s drug Invokana, which will be used to treat type 2 diabetes.
According to the New York Times, Invokana is the first of a new class of diabetes medication. It causes blood sugar to be excreted in the urine, as opposed to many other drugs on the market that work by affecting the supply or use of insulin.
Last year, the FDA rejected another drug in that class from Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca called dapagliflozin, over safety concerns including a possible increased risk of breast and bladder cancers.
Some of the other relatively new types of type 2 diabetes drugs on the market have also raised concerns about cancer.
Studies have linked both Merck’s Januvia and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Byetta to a higher risk of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Byetta has also been linked to an increased risk of thyroid cancer.
The New York Times reports that clinical trials including more than 10,000 patients concluded that Invokana improved patients’ blood-sugar levels, with concurrent weight loss and blood pressure reduction.
But Invokana, which has the generic name is canagliflozin, also carries potentially serious side effects. They include elevated stroke risk and heart attack risk. Clinical trials also showed that the drug raised LDL, or “bad” cholesterol levels, although it raised the level of HDL, or “good” cholesterol as well.
You should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns, and before making any changes in medication. You should also consult with a Lopez McHugh attorney if you or a loved one was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after taking Januvia or Byetta.
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