Invokana and Medicare Advantage: What You Need to Know

In this article...
  • Learn about the diabetes drug Invokana, including what it's used for, who should and shouldn't take it and whether Medicare Advantage covers the cost of it.

Invokana is a SGLT-2 inhibitor, part of a class of drugs that lower blood glucose levels. It works by making insulin more effective and helping cells respond to it better. This helps optimize blood sugar levels in the body. Invokana is the brand name for the generic drug canagliflozin.

It is an expensive drug, as only the brand name option is available at present. But if you have a Medicare Advantage plan that covers Invokana, you can lower your monthly cost by hundreds of dollars.

What Conditions Does Invokana Treat?

Invokana is used to treat type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It occurs when your body can't properly use insulin to process blood sugar. This can happen because a problem with your pancreas causes insulin resistance. It also occurs frequently in people who are overweight, obese or sedentary.

Invokana works by helping the body's cells become more sensitive to insulin, making it easier for insulin to move glucose from the blood into your cells. It can lower the risk of several serious medical conditions that may result from type 2 diabetes, including heart attack, stroke, heart failure and end-stage renal disease.

How Do I Take Invokana?

Invokana is taken as a pill, and it comes in two doses: 100 mg and 300 mg. Most patients start with 100 mg once per day and then move to the 300 mg dosage only if necessary.

Invokana is typically taken in the morning before breakfast. You can take it by itself or with another diabetes medication, such as metformin. Doctors often prescribe Invokana to patients with type 2 diabetes when metformin alone fails to bring the patient's blood sugar readings to acceptable levels. 

Who Shouldn't Take Invokana?

Certain people shouldn't take Invokana due to certain health conditions or contraindications with other medications they're on. Before starting Invokana, you should discuss your medical history with your doctor to make sure you aren't one of these people.

People with type 1 diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis or severe kidney problems should avoid Invokana. If you develop any new health conditions while taking Invokana, you should inform your doctor right away, as your doctor may need to adjust your dosage or switch you to a different drug.

You should also let your doctor know if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while taking Invokana. The drug should not be taken at all during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

Are There Side-Effects From Taking Invokana?

Invokana is considered a safe drug overall. But like all prescription medications, it can cause side effects in certain patients. Some patients can resolve side effects from Invokana with a dose adjustment. Others must discontinue the medication altogether. The most common side effects from Invokana include:

  • Reduced urination or pain while urinating
  • Pain, tenderness or swelling in the legs or feet
  • Dehydration symptoms
  • Elevated potassium levels
  • Genital infections

In rare cases, serious and even life-threatening side effects have been reported with Invokana use. These include kidney failure, ketoacidosis and a drop in blood pressure, which, in severe cases, can lead to cardiac arrest due to lack of blood flow back to the heart.

Does Invokana Come in a Generic Form?

Unfortunately, there is no generic form of Invokana available as of 2022.

Does Medicare Cover Invokana?

Many Medicare plans cover Invokana, but you need to make sure you have a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage (MA-PD). About 35% of Medicare prescription drug plans cover Invokana, so it's important to review any plan you're considering closely to make sure this drug is covered. A licensed insurance agent can help you select the most comprehensive and affordable plan based on your medical history and the drugs you're taking.

How Much Does Invokana Cost With and Without Coverage?

Invokana is an expensive drug. If you're paying for it out of pocket, it can run you as much as $550 to $650 per month. With the right Medicare Advantage plan, however, you can get it for as little as $25 per month depending on your plan's copay. If your plan has a deductible you're required to meet before your copay kicks in, the cost of Invokana during the deductible period is still usually less than $100 per month.

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