WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a first-of-its-kind diabetes drug from Johnson & Johnson that uses a new method to lower blood sugar - flushing it out in patients' urine.
The agency cleared J&J's Invokana tablets for adults with Type 2 diabetes, which affects an estimated 26 million Americans. The once-a-day medication works by blocking the kidneys from reabsorbing sugar, which occurs at higher levels in patients with diabetes than in healthy patients. Regulators highlighted the drug as the first in a new class of medications.
People with Type 2 diabetes are unable to properly break down carbohydrates, either because their bodies do not produce enough insulin or have become resistant to the hormone, which controls blood-sugar levels.
Invokana differs from older drugs that work by shrinking the amount of sugar absorbed and stored in the liver. The most common side effects are yeast infections and urinary tract infections, due to the higher amounts of sugar passing through a patient's urine.