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Systematic (IUPAC) name
Clinical data
Trade names Invokana
AHFS/ entry
  • US: C (Risk not ruled out)
Legal status
Routes of
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability 65%
Protein binding 99%
Metabolism Hepatic glucuronidation
Biological half-life 11.8 (10–13) hours
Excretion Fecal and 33% renal
CAS Registry Number 842133-18-0 YesY
ATC code A10BX11
PubChem CID: 24812758
DrugBank DB08907 YesY
ChemSpider 26333259 N
Synonyms JNJ-28431754; TA-7284; (1S)-1,5-anhydro-1-C-[3-[[5-(4-fluorophenyl)-2-thienyl]methyl]-4-methylphenyl]-D-glucitol
Chemical data
Formula C24H25FO5S
Molecular mass 444.52 g/mol
 N (what is this?)  (verify)

Canagliflozin (INN, trade name Invokana) is a drug of the gliflozin class, used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.[1][2] It was developed by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma and is marketed under license by Janssen, a division of Johnson & Johnson.[3]

Medical use[edit]

Canagliflozin is an antidiabetic drug used to improve glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes. In extensive clinical trials, canagliflozin produced a consistent dose-dependent reduction in HbA1c of 0.77% to 1.16% when administered as monotherapy, combination with metformin, combination with metformin and a sulfonylurea, combination with metformin and pioglitazone, and in combination with insulin from a baselines of 7.8% to 8.1%, in combination with metformin, or in combination with metformin and a sulfonylurea. When added to metformin, canagliflozin 100 mg was shown to be non-inferior to both sitagliptin 100 mg and glimepiride in reductions on HbA1c at one year, whilst canagliflozin 300 mg successfully demonstrated statistical superiority over both sitagliptin and glimiperide in HbA1c reductions. Secondary efficacy endpoint of superior body weight reduction and blood pressure reduction (versus sitagliptin and glimiperide)) were observed as well. Canagliflozin produces beneficial effects on HDL cholesterol whilst increasing LDL cholesterol to produce no change in total cholesterol.[4][5]


Canagliflozin has proven to be clinically effective in people with moderate renal failure and treatment can be continued in patients with renal impairment.

Adverse effects[edit]

Canagliflozin, as is common with all sglt2 inhibitors, increased (generally mild) urinary tract infections, genital fungal infections, thirst,[6] LDL cholesterol, and was associated with increased urination and episodes of low blood pressure.

There are concerns it may increase the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis.[7]

Cardiovascular problems have been discussed with this class of drugs.[citation needed] The pre-specified endpoint for cardiovascular safety in the canagliflozin clinical development program was Major Cardiovascular Events Plus (MACE-Plus), defined as the occurrence of any of the following events: cardiovascular death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke, or unstable angina leading to hospitalization. This endpoint occurred in more people in the placebo group (20.5%) than in the canagliflozin treated group (18.9%).

Nonetheless, an FDA advisory committee expressed concern regarding the cardiovascular safety of canagliflozin. A greater number of cardiovascular events was observed during the first 30 days of treatment in canagliflozin treated people (0.45%) relative to placebo treated people (0.07%), suggesting an early period of enhanced cardiovascular risk. In addition, there was an increased risk of stroke in canagliflozin treated people. However none of these effects were seen as statistically significant. Additional cardiovascular safety data from the ongoing CANVAS trial is expected in 2015.[8]


The drug may increase the risk of dehydration in combination with diuretic drugs.

Because it increases renal excretion of glucose, treatment with canagliflozin prevents renal reabsorption of 1,5-anhydroglucitol, leading to artifactual decreases in serum 1,5-anhydroglucitol; it can therefore interfere with the use of serum 1,5-anhydroglucitol (assay trade name, GlycoMark) as a measure of postprandial glucose excursions.[9]

Mechanism of action[edit]

Canagliflozin is an inhibitor of subtype 2 sodium-glucose transport protein (SGLT2), which is responsible for at least 90% of the renal glucose reabsorption (SGLT1 being responsible for the remaining 10%). Blocking this transporter causes up to 119 grams of blood glucose per day to be eliminated through the urine,[10] corresponding to 476 kilocalories. Additional water is eliminated by osmotic diuresis, resulting in a lowering of blood pressure.

This mechanism is associated with a low risk of hypoglycaemia (too low blood glucose) compared to other antidiabetic drugs such as sulfonylurea derivatives and insulin.[11]


On July 4, 2011, the European Medicines Agency approved a paediatric investigation plan and granted both a deferral and a waiver for canagliflozin (EMEA-001030-PIP01-10) in accordance with EC Regulation No.1901/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council.[12]

In March 2013, canagliflozin became the first SGLT2 inhibitor to be approved in the United States.[13]


  1. ^ New J&J diabetes drug effective in mid-stage study, Jun 26, 2010
  2. ^ Edward C. Chao (2011). "Canagliflozin". Drugs of the Future 36 (5): 351–357. doi:10.1358/dof.2011.36.5.1590789. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Summary Review" (PDF). March 29, 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-09. 
  5. ^ "HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION" (PDF). 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-09. 
  6. ^ Haberfeld, H (ed.). Austria-Codex (in German) (2013/14, supplement 01/14 ed.). Vienna: Österreichischer Apothekerverlag. 
  7. ^ FDA (2015-05-15). "SGLT2 inhibitors: Drug Safety Communication - FDA Warns Medicines May Result in a Serious Condition of Too Much Acid in the Blood". Retrieved 19 May 2015. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Balis, Dainius A; Tong, Cindy; Meininger, Gary (July 2014). "Effect of canagliflozin, a sodium–glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitor, on measurement of serum 1,5-anhydroglucitol". J Diabetes 6 (4): 378–380. doi:10.1111/1753-0407.12116. 
  10. ^ Prous Science: Molecule of the Month November 2007
  11. ^ A. Klement (20 January 2014). "Tubuläre Senkung des Blutzuckers bei Diabetes mellitus: Invokana". Österreichische Apothekerzeitung (in German) (2/2014): 20f. 
  12. ^ "EMEA-001030-PIP01-10". EMA European Medicines Agency. Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  13. ^ "U.S. FDA approves Johnson & Johnson diabetes drug, canagliflozin". Reuters. Mar 29, 2013. U.S. health regulators have approved a new diabetes drug from Johnson & Johnson, making it the first in its class to be approved in the United States.