Invokana Enters Trials for Treatment of Diabetic Kidney Disease
By Kelly Close
In February, Johnson and Johnson announced that its SGLT-2 inhibitor for type 2 diabetes, Invokana (canagliflozin), will undergo trials as a treatment for diabetic kidney disease (nephropathy). That is great – it means J&J is serious about fighting kidney disease and that it thinks it has a treatment for it. As a reminder, you’ve probably heard about nephropathy when your doctor or nurse has talked about long-term healthcare complications (that dreaded term) related to diabetes. So, nephropathy occurs when high blood glucose levels over time cause damage to the kidney. According to our interview with the noted endocrinologist Dr. Norman Rosenthal at J&J, it is not yet entirely well understood how exactly Invokana might work to help chronic kidney disease patients; what experts there do say is that how it works to reduce kidney disease the mechanism is likely independent from its glucose-lowering benefits. Previous trials have shown a promising improvement in kidney health after taking Invokana, with about 50% improvement in urinary albumin/creatinine ratio (a measure of how healthy the kidney is – learn more here) compared to a 39% improvement from using losartan, the current standard-of-care therapy for nephropathy.
The new trial testing Invokana in nephropathy (CREDENCE) is expected to finish around February 2019, so it will be several years before we know if Invokana can ultimately be prescribed for nephropathy. Nevertheless, this is major news for Invokana, as we do not know of any other SGLT-2 inhibitors being studied for the treatment of kidney disease. Nephropathy continues to be a major unmet need in patients with diabetes, so any therapy that markedly improves kidney function would be a huge win for patients – and healthcare providers. – NL/KC