Invokana, also known as canagliflozi, is the latest type 2 diabetes drug to be approved for use on the NHS in England and Wales.
Invokana is the second medication from a class of drugs called SGLT-2 inhibitors to be approved by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence). SGLT-2 (sodium glucose co-transporter 2) inhibitors work by reducing the amount of glucose that the kidneys allow to be reabsorbed back into the blood. This means that excess glucose in the blood is passed out of the body via the urine.
Canagliflozin may be prescribed, in addition to metformin, in patients that are either having problems with low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) on sulfonylureas, or if sulfonylureas are otherwise not appropriate. The new drug may also be used as an additional drug for people with type 2 diabetes on metformin and a sulfonylurea or insulin.
In addition to lowering blood glucose levels, Invokana helps patients with weight loss as excess glucose in the blood is passed out of the body rather than stored as fat. Whilst the medication is effective at lowering blood glucose levels and helping with weight loss, a healthy diet and regular physical activity is needed to support the medication.
Whilst Invokana has been approved for use on the NHS, it will be 3 months before patients, that are eligible for the treatment, will be able to start taking it.

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