March is National Kidney Month is an awareness campaign that should be important to people with type 2 diabetes. That is because diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, the last stage of kidney disease in which the kidneys fail to filter impurities from the blood, requiring kidney transplantation or dialysis. Many conditions, diseases and medicines can create situations that lead to acute and chronic kidney disease that can lead to kidney failure.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is usually caused by a long-term disease like diabetes or high blood pressure that slowly damages the kidneys and reduces function over time. It is characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over a period of months or years.
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a sudden episode of kidney failure or kidney damage that happens within a few hours or a few days. The condition causes a build-up of waste products in the blood and makes it hard for the kidneys to keep the right balance of fluids in the body. AKI can range from minor loss of kidney function to complete kidney failure. It is generally caused by an event that leads to kidney malfunction, such as dehydration, blood loss from major surgery, or the use of some medications.
Symptoms of AKI include reduced urinary output, swelling due to fluid retention, nausea, fatigue, and shortness of breath. In some cases symptoms may be subtle or not present at all.
In June 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Drug Safety Communication warning that type 2 diabetes drugs Invokana, Invokamet, Farxiga and Xigudo XR, had been associated with an increased risk of acute kidney injury. This is particularly concerning because people with diabetes are already at an increased risk of kidney damage. The drugs are in a class of type 2 diabetes medications called SGLT2 inhibitors.
Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals face hundreds of lawsuits over claims that the top-selling SGLT2 inhibitor Invokana caused patients to develop AKI, but failed to warn consumers of this risk.