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Farxiga and Risks of Kidney Problems


What is Farxiga®?

Farxiga® is one of a class of type II diabetes drugs called Sodium-Glucose Costransporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors. SGLT-2 Inhibitors work by altering the normal kidney function so that less sugar is reabsorbed into the blood and the surplus glucose is excreted through the urine.

Farxiga® received FDA approval in January of 2014. Farxiga® was originally developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb, but it was acquired by AstraZeneca in the fall of 2014. By 2015 the FDA had issued a warning that Farxiga®, and similar diabetes drugs (such as Invokana®), may cause diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a condition where the body produces high levels of blood acids that can result in serious health consequences. In 2016 the FDA requested that Farxiga® and other SGLT-2 Inhibitors include warnings on its labels of acute kidney injury. Additionally, there is some indication that AstraZeneca engaged in “off-label” marketing to promote Farxiga® as a weight-loss drug. While a doctor can recommend a drug for “off-label” purposes, pharmaceutical companies can not market or promote a drug for any purpose(s) other than for which it is approved.

What are the Side Effects of Farxiga®

The FDA warnings have linked Farxiga® and other SGLT-2 inhibitors to acute kidney injury. The serious side effects linked to Farxiga® include:

• Kidney failure

• Kidney stones

• Kidney damage

• Urinary tract infections

• Acute Pancreatitis

What are the Symptoms of Ketoacidosis?

Patients using Farxiga® should be alert as to the symptoms of ketoacidosis which include:

• Nausea

• Vomiting

• Difficulty breathing

• Abdominal pain

• Unusual fatigue and or confusion

• Fruity odor on the breath

Ketoacidosis occurs when the body does not have enough insulin (glucose) to burn for energy, and instead the body begins burning fat cells. When the body burns fat, it releases ketones which accumulate in the blood and urine. Ketones are an acidic waste product. High levels of blood acid can shut down normal body functioning resulting in a diabetic coma or sometimes death. The FDA recommends that patients should report symptoms of ketoacidosis to their medical provider immediately and stop taking the SGLT-2 inhibitor.

Farxiga® Lawsuits

Patients who have developed ketoacidosis since beginning Type 2 Diabetes treatment with Farxiga® may want to explore their legal options. Currently there are a number of lawyers pursuing lawsuits against AstraZeneca, the maker of Farxiga®, alleging that the pharmaceutical company failed to warn users of the risks of ketoacidosis. Please contact attorney Brett H. Oppenheimer via Email or call (502)242-8877 for a free consultation about your potential case.

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