Up to 100,000 injury victims across the world could be prevented from bleeding to death each year if treated with an inexpensive drug used to help women with heavy periods, it has been claimed.
The Department of Health-funded study carried out research into tranexamic acid (TXA) and found that 280 of the 1,800 deaths in the UK that occur each year as a result of bleeding after injury could be avoided if it were used.
The drug, which is a widely available generic medication, is already used to treat patients undergoing non-emergency surgery and haemophiliacs as it can stop excessive bleeding.
The CRASH-2 study consisted of research involving 20,000 adult patients at 274 hospitals in 40 countries who had suffered traumatic injury. They were given either a two milligram injection and drip of TXA or an “inactive” dummy placebo treatment.
Overall risk of death in the TXA-treatment group was found to fall by 10% and the chance of death due to bleeding dropped by 15%. A total of 489 (4.9%) of TXA group patients bled to death compared to 574 (5.7%) in the placebo group.
The CRASH-2 researchers were worried about a bigger risk of complications such as heart attacks, lung clots and strokes among patients in the TXA group but the study results, published online in The Lancet medical journal, showed the drug cut death from bleeding without a raised risk of life-threatening complications.
Study lead author Professor Ian Roberts, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “On the basis of these results, tranexamic should be considered for use in bleeding trauma patients.”
Click here to see The Lancet article.