NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Researchers with strong ties to Johnson & Johnson recently announced that Invokana was a marginally effective antidiabetic drug.

According to Australian Dr. Gregory Fulcher and his colleagues, patients in a clinical trial who took canagliflozin reduced their HbA1c levels by a mere 7 percent over patients who received placebos. This result was achieved when the patients combined Invokana with a regimen that included DPP-IV inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists, suggesting that Invokana alone may have an even more negligible effect. Common side-effects included severe dizziness, genital mycotic infections, postural hypotension, and urinary tract infections.

Dr. Fulcher is a paid Johnson & Johnson consultant who also serves on several company advisory boards.


This powerful drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in March 2013. Invokana utilizes a synthetic sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor to essentially flush glucose out of the blood via the kidney. Only a year earlier, the FDA rejected a similar drug, on the grounds that it was unsafe; the agency approved Invokana only after the manufacturer promised to perform multiple safety studies.

At the same time it approved Invokana, the FDA warned of serious side-effects that accompany its use. These side-effects include:

  • Dehydration: Invokana is a diuretic, so almost any exertive physical activity when taking the drug will cause dizziness or loss of consciousness.
  • Yeast Infection: Both women and men are susceptible to this highly contagious, and highly painful, genital disease.
  • Bladder Issues: Because Invokana forces the kidney to work overtime, severe abdominal pain and serious bladder infections are rather common.
  • Mental Effects: Some patients report anxiety attacks, recurrent nightmares, serious confusion, and deep depression.

Other side-effects include seizures and long-term skin rashes; all these effects are generally even worse in adults over 65 and children under 18.

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