Medications

FDA OKs first-of-a-kind diabetes drug from J&J

A first aid kit made by Johnson & Johnson for sale on a store shelf in Westminster, Colorado April 14, 2009. Johnson & Johnson said its quarterly earnings fell, hurt by generic competition for its Risperdal schizophrenia drug and the strong dollar, but lower costs enabled the company to beat Wall Street expectations.    REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES BUSINESS) - RTXDZJN

A first aid kit made by Johnson & Johnson for sale on a store shelf in Westminster, Colorado April 14, 2009. Johnson & Johnson said its quarterly earnings fell, hurt by generic competition for its Risperdal schizophrenia drug and the strong dollar, but lower costs enabled the company to beat Wall Street expectations. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES BUSINESS) - RTXDZJN  (REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

The Food and Drug Administration says it has approved a first-of-a-kind diabetes drug from Johnson & Johnson that uses a new method to lower blood sugar.

The agency cleared J&J's Invokana tablets for adults with Type 2 diabetes, which affects about 26 million Americans.

The drug is a once-a-day medicine designed to lower blood sugar levels in patients by eliminating more sugar in their urine. The drug works by blocking the reabsorption of sugar by the kidneys, which occurs at higher levels in patients with diabetes.

J&J has touted the drug as the first in a new class of medications to help address the nation's growing diabetes epidemic. The drug differs from older drugs that work by decreasing the amount of sugar absorbed from food and stored in the liver.