Generic drug could save lives of accident victims

A study just published in The Lancet suggests that routine use of the generic drug tranexamic acid in trauma patients could save as many as 100,000 lives a year.  Lead researcher, Ian Roberts, commented: “This is one of the cheapest ways ever to save a life,” adding that the drug “should be available to doctors treating trauma patients in all countries.”

The CRASH-2 trial was undertaken in 274 hospitals in 40 countries and included  20,211 adult trauma patients.  Those with, or at risk of, bleeding received either tranexamic acid, or placebo, within 8 hours of injury. Results showed that treatment with tranexamic acid reduced deaths from hemorrhage by 15% percent, and deaths from any other cause by 10%, compared to placebo.

Tranexamic acid is an antifibrinolytic agent.  In other words, it prevents breakdown of blood clots.  It is routinely used to control bleeding in women with heavy menstrual periods, bleeding associated with uterine fibroids, to control blood loss in orthopedic surgery and as a mouth rinse after dental extractions or surgery in patients with prolonged bleeding time from acquired or inherited disorders.

Following the study, Roberts and colleagues submitted an application to the World Health Organization to include tranexamic acid on its essential medicines list.