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Drug That Stops Bleeding Could Save Lives
Date:6/14/2010

Giving TXA to trauma victims could prevent 100,000 deaths worldwide each year, study suggests

MONDAY, June 14 (HealthDay News) -- A drug commonly used to prevent excess bleeding in surgeries could keep thousands of people from bleeding to death after trauma, a new study suggests.

The drug, tranexamic acid (TXA) is cheap, widely available around the world and easily administered, experts said. It works by significantly reducing the rate at which blood clots break down, the researchers explained.

"When people have serious injuries, whether from accidents or violence, and when they have severe hemorrhage they can bleed to death. This treatment reduces the chances of bleeding to death by about a sixth, " said researcher Dr. Ian Roberts, a professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the U.K.

According to Roberts, each year about 600,000 people bleed to death worldwide. "So, if you could reduce that by a sixth, you've saved 100,000 lives in one year," he said.

The report, which was primarily funded by philanthropic groups and the British government, is published in the June 15 online edition of The Lancet.

For the study, Roberts and colleagues in the CRASH-2 consortium randomly assigned more than 20,000 trauma patients from 274 hospitals across 40 countries to injections of either TXA or placebo.

Among patients receiving TXA, the rate of death from any cause was cut by 10 percent compared to patients receiving placebo, the researchers found. In the TXA group, 14.5 percent of the patients died compared with 16 percent of the patients in the placebo group.

When the researchers looked at deaths from bleeding, those in the TXA group experienced a 15 percent reduction in mortality. Among patients receiving TXA, 4.9 percent died from bleeding, compared with 5.7 percent of the patients receiving placebo, they found.

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