Invokana: The Latest in Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

If you have type 2 diabetes and have maxed out on first- and second-line drugs for managing your blood sugar, there’s a new, third-line drug on the market you should ask your doctor about: Invokana.

Invokana, a medication that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in March 2013, helps treat diabetes by causing the patient to excrete blood sugar through the urine.

Invokana: How it Works

In non-diabetics, when blood passes through the kidneys, they filter glucose and some water, and return them to the body. Then, waste and excess water are filtered out of the body through urination. On the other hand, those with type 2 diabetes are able to absorb more glucose into the kidneys, which in turn, is reabsorbed back into the body.

This drug works at the kidney tubular level by blocking the reabsorption of glucose into the kidney. “So if you’re blocking that receptor, and you’re not absorbing and putting it back into the bloodstream, you get it excreted into the urine,” Vina Bajaj MD, an endocrinologist at Group Health, explains. “You have more sugar in the urine and less in the bloodstream, so that’s how it brings the sugars down in the blood.”

Am I a Good Candidate for Invokana?

If you’ve tried most of the first- and second-line drugs, and don’t want to go on insulin or an injectable therapy, you may be a good candidate for Invokana, Dr. Bajaj says. However, she stresses that this medication is only recommended for those with type 2 diabetes. It should also be taken in combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise in order for patients to experience the most benefit.

She also warns that some patients who go on Invokana experience the following symptoms:

  • Increased urination frequency
  • Urinary tract infections
Tags Diabetes

Last Updated: March 28, 2014