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Period drug “could save thousands”


A generic treatment for women who suffer from heavy periods could be used to prevent trauma victims from bleeding to death, research has found.

Using tranexamic acid (TXA) to treat people who are at risk of suffering heavy blood loss could save thousands of lives, according to a large-scale study that was partly funded by the Department of Health.

After monitoring the effects of the drug on 20,000 adult patients in 274 hospitals across 40 countries, researchers found that TXA reduces the risk of death by 10% and the chances of death due to bleeding by 15%.

The CRASH-2 study, published in The Lancet, involved administering either two milligrams of TXA by an injection and drip or an inactive “dummy” placebo treatment. It found that 489 (4.9%) of patients in the TXA group bled to death compared with 574 (5.7%) in the placebo group.

Concerns had been raised that TXA, commonly used during non-emergency surgery and among haemophiliacs, was linked to an increased risk of serious health implications including heart attacks, strokes and lung clots. Instead it was found that TXA reduced the risk of death from bleeding but did not increase the likelihood of serious health problems.

The study authors, led by Professor Ian Roberts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, wrote in The Lancet medical journal: “On the basis of these results, tranexamic should be considered for use in bleeding trauma patients.”

In the UK alone, using TXA to treat trauma victims could prevent around 280 of the 1,800 deaths that occur each year as a result of bleeding after injury.

Copyright Press Association 2010
The Lancet

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