An inexpensive generic drug called tranexamic acid (TXA) - known in the U.S. as Cyklokapron - that prevents excessive bleeding, including hemorrhage, should be available as a treatment option to medical personnel throughout the world, so it can be used as soon as possible for an accident victim. That was the finding of a widespread research study conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
"Each year about 600,000 injured patients bleed
to death worldwide," said Ian Roberts, co-author of the study published in the Lancet. "It's important to remember that
deaths from injuries are increasing around the world and that they
usually involve young adults, often the main breadwinner in the family.
The impact on the family is devastating."
Bloody victim: Image via AskMen.com
Roberts and fellow researcher, Haleema Shakur, studied 20,000 patients from 40 countries that were victims of traffic accidents, land mines, explosions, stabbings, shootings, and other types of crime that caused bleeding.
When given one gram of TXA by injection as soon as possible (on site), and another gram given over an 8-hour period in a drip system, TXA cut the risk of death due to excessive bleeding by about 16.7 percent over placebo-treated patients. TXA did not increase the risk of blood clotting complications such as heart attack, strokes, and clots in the lungs.
The researchers estimated that TXA would save 100,000 of the 600,000 injured patients who bleed to death each year worldwide. They recommended that TXA be listed as an 'essential' drug by the World Health Organization (WHO).
While underdeveloped areas in the world would benefit most from the WHO recommendations, the researchers estimated that if TXA was available to all emergency medical personnel, about 2,000 more lives would be saved per year in the U.S.