canagliflozin/metformin (Rx)

Brand and Other Names:Invokamet, Invokamet-XR
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Dosing & Uses


Dosage Forms & Strengths



  • 50mg/500mg
  • 50mg/1000mg
  • 150mg/500mg
  • 150mg/1000mg

tablet, extended-release

  • 50mg/500mg
  • 50mg/1000mg
  • 150mg/500mg
  • 150mg/1000mg

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus when treatment with canagliflozin and metformin appropriate

Also indicated to reduce risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (cardiovascular death, nonfatal MI and stroke) in patients with established cardiovascular disease

Take BID daily with meals, with gradual dose escalation to reduce the adverse GI effects due to metformin

Gradually escalate metformin dose to reduce gastrointestinal side effects while not exceeding a total daily dose of 2000 mg

Adjust dose based on effectiveness and tolerability; not to exceed daily dose of 300 mg/2000 mg

Patients on metformin

  • Switch to tablet containing canagliflozin 50 mg with a similar total daily dose of metformin

Patients on canagliflozin

  • Switch to tablet containing metformin 500 mg with a similar total daily dose of canagliflozin

Patients already treated with canagliflozin and metformin

  • Switch to combination products containing the same total daily doses of each component

Extended-release formulation


  • Individualize based on the patient’s current regimen
  • Take tablets once daily with the morning meal
  • Currently not treated with either canagliflozin or metformin
    • Initiate therapy with two tablets, each tablet containing canagliflozin 50 mg and metformin 500 mg
  • Already treated with canagliflozin and metformin
    • Switch to two tablets containing the same total daily dose of canagliflozin and the same, or nearest appropriate, total daily dose of metformin
  • Require additional glycemic control taking a total daily dose of canagliflozin 100 mg
    • May increase dose of canagliflozin to 300 mg once daily; not to exceed 300 mg total daily dose

Dosage Modifications

UDP-glucuronosyl transferase (UGT) enzyme inducers

  • Coadministration with UGT inducers (eg, rifampin, phenytoin, phenobarbital, ritonavir): Consider increasing canagliflozin dose to 150 mg BID in patients currently tolerating 50 mg BID if eGFR ≥60 mL/min/1.73 m² and additional glycemic control is required
  • Consider another antihyperglycemic agent if eGFR is 45 to <60 mL/min/1.73 m²

Renal impairment

  • Obtain eGFR before starting metformin and periodically thereafter
  • Mild renal impairment (eGFR ≥ 60 mL/min/1.73 m²): No dosage adjustment required
  • eGFR 45 to <60 mL/min/1.73 m²: Not to exceed canagliflozin 50 mg BID; for extended release formulation, administer 2 tablets once daily
  • eGFR <45 mL/min/1.73 m²: Contraindicated

Dosing Considerations

Assess renal function before initiating and periodically thereafter

Correct volume depletion before initiating in patients not previously treated with canagliflozin

Not for treatment of type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis

Therapy may need to be discontinued at time of, or prior to, iodinated contrast imaging procedures

Safety and efficacy not established



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            Adverse Effects



            • Female genital mycotic infections (10.4-11.4%)


            • Diarrhea (53.2%)
            • Nausea/vomiting (25.5%)
            • Flatulence (12.1%)



            • Increased urination (4.6-5.3%)
            • Male genital mycotic infections (3.7-4.2%)
            • Vulvovaginal pruritus (1.6-3%)
            • Thirst (2.3-2.8%)
            • Falls (1.3-2.1%)
            • Constipation (1.8-2.3%)
            • Bone fractures (1.1-1.5%)
            • Nausea (2.2-2.3%)
            • Abdominal pain (1.7-1.8%)
            • volume depletion
              • Overall population (2.3-3.4%)
              • Age >75 yr (4.9-8.7%)
              • eGFR <60/mL/min/1.73 mL² (4.7-8.1%)
              • Use of loop diuretic (3.2-8.8%)


            • Asthenia (9.2%)
            • Indigestion (7.1%)
            • Abdominal discomfort (6.4%)
            • Headache (5.7%)

            Postmarketing Reports


            Acute kidney injury and impairment of renal function


            • Acute kidney injury and impairment in renal function


            • Cholestatic, hepatocellular, and mixed hepatocellular liver injury
            • Anaphylaxis
            • Urosepsis and Pyelonephritis


            Black Box Warnings


            • Lactic acidosis
              • Lactic acidosis caused by metformin accumulation (plasma concentration >5 mcg/mL) is a rare but potentially severe consequence; if it occurs, mortality is ~50%
              • Risk increases with certain conditions (eg, renal impairment, sepsis, dehydration, excess alcohol intake, hepatic impairment, and acute CHF)
              • Onset is subtle, accompanied only by nonspecific symptoms (eg, malaise, myalgias, respiratory distress, increasing somnolence, and nonspecific abdominal distress)
              • Laboratory abnormalities include low pH, increased anion gap, and elevated blood lactate
              • If lactic acidosis is suspected, discontinue drug and immediately hospitalize the patient
              • Risk factors for metformin-associated lactic acidosis include renal impairment, concomitant use of certain drugs (e.g., carbonic anhydrase inhibitors such as topiramate), age 65 years old or greater, having a radiological study with contrast, surgery and other procedures, hypoxic states (e.g., acute congestive heart failure), excessive alcohol intake, and hepatic impairment
              • Discontinue metformin at the time of or before an iodinated contrast imaging procedure in patients with an eGFR between 45-60 mL/minute/1.73 m²; in patients with a history of liver disease, alcoholism, or heart failure; or in patients who will be administered intra-arterial iodinate contrast


            • Lower limb amputation
              • An approximately 2-fold increased risk of lower limb amputations associated with canagliflozin use was observed in 2 large, randomized, placebo-controlled trials (CANVAS AND CANVAS-R) in patients with type 2 diabetes who had established cardiovascular disease (CVD) or were at risk for CVD
              • Amputations of the toe and midfoot were most frequent; however, amputations involving the leg were also observed; some patients had multiple amputations, some involving both limbs
              • Before initiating, consider factors that may increase the risk of amputation (eg, history of prior amputation, peripheral vascular disease, neuropathy, diabetic foot ulcers)
              • Monitor patients for infection, new pain or tenderness, and sores or ulcers involving the lower limbs; discontinue if these complications occur
              • Counsel patients about importance of routine preventative foot care


            Moderate renal impairment (eGFR <45 mL/min/1.73 m²), which may also result from conditions such as shock, acute MI, and septicemia; ESRD, or patients on dialysis

            Acute or chronic metabolic acidosis, including diabetic ketoacidosis (see Black Box Warnings)

            History of a serious hypersensitivity reaction to canagliflozin or metformin, such as anaphylaxis or angioedema



            Increased risk of lower limb amputations associated with therapy; lower limb infections, gangrene, and diabetic foot ulcers reported to be most common precipitating medical events leading to the need for an amputation (see Black Box Warnings)

            Alcohol is known to potentiate the effect of metformin on lactate metabolism

            Shock from various causes (eg, acute CHF, acute MI, and other conditions characterized by hypoxemia) has been associated with lactic acidosis and may also cause prerenal azotemia

            Withholding of food and fluids during surgical or other procedures may increase risk for volume depletion, hypotension and renal impairment

            Before initiating therapy, obtain an estimated glomerular filtration rate and obtain an eGFR at least annually; assess more frequently in patients at increased risk for development of renal impairment

            Consider temporarily discontinuing in settings of reduced oral intake or fluid losses; if acute kidney injury occurs, discontinue and promptly treat; monitor renal function during therapy

            Hyperkalemia reported with canagliflozin; monitor potassium levels in patients with impaired renal function and in patients predisposed to hyperkalemia

            Dose-related increases in LDL–C reported with canagliflozin; monitor LDL-C and treat as indicated

            Canagliflozin increases risk for genital mycotic infections; treat if indicated

            Increases risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs), including life-threatening urosepsis and pyelonephritis that started as UTIs; evaluate patients for signs and symptoms of urinary tract infections and treat promptly, if indicated

            Metformin may lower vitamin B12 levels without manifestations; monitor hematologic parameters annually

            Increased risk of bone fracture, occurring as early as 12 weeks after treatment initiation, reported; consider factors that contribute to fracture risk prior to initiating therapy

            Hypersensitivity reactions, including angioedema and anaphylaxis reported with canagliflozin; these reactions generally occurred within hours to days after initiating canagliflozin; if hypersensitivity reactions occur, discontinue therapy; treat and monitor until signs and symptoms resolve


            • Fatal ketoacidosis associated with SGLT2 inhibitors
            • Monitor for signs of ketoacidosis and advise patients to seek immediate medical attention for symptoms (eg, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, confusion, unusual fatigue or sleepiness)
            • Assess patients who present with signs and symptoms of metabolic acidosis for ketoacidosis, regardless of blood glucose level
            • Consider risk factors for ketoacidosis prior to initiating therapy; patients may require temporary discontinuation of therapy in clinical situations that may predispose to ketoacidosis

            Necrotizing fascitis

            • Necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum (Fournier gangrene) reported with SGLT2 inhibitors
            • Signs and symptoms include tenderness, redness, or swelling of the genitals or the area from the genitals back to the rectum, and have a fever above 100.4 F or a general feeling of being unwell
            • If suspected, discontinue SGLT2 inhibitor and start treatment immediately with broad-spectrum antibiotics and surgical debridement if necessary

            Renal impairment

            • Therapy causes intravascular volume contraction and can cause renal impairment; acute kidney injury, some requiring hospitalization and dialysis reported
            • Before initiating therapy, consider factors that may predispose patients to acute kidney injury including hypovolemia, chronic renal insufficiency, congestive heart failure, and concomitant medications (diuretics, ACE inhibitors, ARBs, NSAIDs)
            • Consider temporarily discontinuing therapy in any setting of reduced oral intake (such as acute illness or fasting) or fluid losses (such as gastrointestinal illness or excessive heat exposure)
            • Canagliflozin increases serum creatinine and decreases eGFR; ensure normal renal function before initiating and at least annually thereafter

            Lactic acidosis

            • Risk increases with degree of renal dysfunction and age (see Black Box Warnings)
            • Metformin-associated lactic acidosis cases associated primarily with significant renal impairment; risk of metformin accumulation and metformin-associated lactic acidosis increases with severity of renal impairment; metformin substantially excreted by kidney
            • Metformin-associated lactic acidosis have resulted in death, hypothermia, hypotension, and resistant bradyarrhythmias
            • Onset is often subtle, accompanied only by nonspecific symptoms such as malaise, myalgias, respiratory distress, somnolence, and abdominal pain
            • If suspected, discontinue therapy immediately and institute general supportive measures in hospital setting; prompt hemodialysis recommended
            • Metformin use in patients with impaired hepatic function has been associated with cases of lactic acidosis

            Iodinated contrast imaging procedures

            • Discontinue metformin at the time of or before an iodinated contrast imaging procedure in patients with an eGFR between 45-60 mL/minute/1.73 m²; in patients with a history of liver disease, alcoholism, or heart failure; or in patients who will be administered intra-arterial iodinate contrast
            • Reevaluate eGFR 48 hr after the imaging procedure; restart metformin if renal function is stable


            • Canagliflozin can increase the risk of hypoglycemia when combined with insulin or an insulin secretagogue; a lower dose of insulin or insulin secretagogue may be required
            • Metformin: Hypoglycemia does not occur in patients receiving metformin alone under usual circumstances of use, but could occur when caloric intake is deficient, when strenuous exercise is not compensated by caloric supplementation, or during concomitant use with other glucose-lowering agents (eg, sulfonylureas, insulin) or ethanol


            • Canagliflozin causes intravascular volume contraction
            • Symptomatic hypotension can occur after initiating, particularly with eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m², elderly patients, coadministration with diuretics or medications that interfere with the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (eg, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers), or patients with low systolic blood pressure
            • Assess volume status and correct hypovolemia in patients with renal impairment, the elderly, in patients with low systolic blood pressure, or on diuretics, ACE inhibitors, or ARB; monitor for signs and symptoms during therapy

            Pregnancy & Lactation



            • Based on animal data showing adverse renal effects, not recommended during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy
            • Data are limited in pregnant women and are not sufficient to determine a drug associated risk for major birth defects or miscarriage


            • Metformin was not teratogenic in rats and rabbits at doses up to 600 mg/kg/day; determination of fetal concentrations demonstrated a partial placental barrier to metformin

            Clinical considerations

            • Poorly controlled diabetes in pregnancy increases maternal risk for diabetic ketoacidosis, preeclampsia, spontaneous abortions, preterm delivery, stillbirth, and delivery complications
            • Poorly controlled diabetes increases fetal risk for major birth defects, stillbirth, and macrosomia related morbidity


            Breastfeeding not recommended


            • No information regarding distribution in human milk or effects on the breastfed infant or milk production
            • Present in milk of lactating rats
            • Since human kidney maturation occurs in utero and during the first 2 yr of life when lactational exposure may occur, there may be risk to the developing human kidney


            • Excreted into milk in rats and reaches levels comparable to those in plasma; breastfeeding not recommended

            Pregnancy Categories

            A: Generally acceptable. Controlled studies in pregnant women show no evidence of fetal risk.

            B: May be acceptable. Either animal studies show no risk but human studies not available or animal studies showed minor risks and human studies done and showed no risk.

            C: Use with caution if benefits outweigh risks. Animal studies show risk and human studies not available or neither animal nor human studies done.

            D: Use in LIFE-THREATENING emergencies when no safer drug available. Positive evidence of human fetal risk.

            X: Do not use in pregnancy. Risks involved outweigh potential benefits. Safer alternatives exist.

            NA: Information not available.



            Mechanism of Action

            Canagliflozin: Selective sodium-glucose transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor; SGLT2 is expressed in the proximal renal tubules and is responsible for the majority of the reabsorption of filtered glucose from the tubular lumen; SGLT2 inhibitors reduce glucose reabsorption and lower the renal threshold for glucose, thereby increasing urinary glucose excretion

            Metformin: Biguanide; acts by decreasing endogenous hepatic glucose production, decreases intestinal absorption of glucose, and improves insulin sensitivity by increasing peripheral glucose uptake and utilization; improves glucose tolerance and lowers both basal and postprandial plasma glucose


            Bioavailability: 65% (canagliflozin); 50-60% (metformin)


            Protein bound: 99% (canagliflozin); negligible (metformin)

            Vd: 119 L (canagliflozin); 654 L (metformin)


            Metformin: Excreted unchanged in the urine and does not undergo hepatic metabolism


            • O-glucuronidation is the major metabolic elimination pathway, which is mainly glucuronidated by UGT1A9 and UGT2B4 to 2 inactive O-glucuronide metabolites
            • CYP3A4-mediated (oxidative) metabolism of canagliflozin is minimal (~7%) in humans


            Half-life, metformin: 6.2 hr (plasma); 17.6 hr (blood); depicts erythrocyte compartmentalization


            • Canagliflozin: 192 mL/min (systemic); 1.3-1.55 mL/min (renal)
            • Metformin (renal): 3.5 x CrCl, which indicates that tubular secretion is the major route of elimination


            • Canagliflozin: 33% urine, mainly as O-glucuronide metabolites
            • Metformin: 90% urine


            Oral Administration

            Regular tablet: Take BID with morning and evening meals

            Extended-release: Take once daily with morning meal

            Extended-release: Swallow whole; do not crush, cut, or chew





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            Tier Description
            1 This drug is available at the lowest co-pay. Most commonly, these are generic drugs.
            2 This drug is available at a middle level co-pay. Most commonly, these are "preferred" (on formulary) brand drugs.
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