When people are involved in a serious accident, often there are serious bleeding involved that can cause death before the victim can be helped. However, if an injured patient with serious bleeding were to get a cheap, injection of a widely available drug to help make their blood clot, many of these people could be saved.
Dr. Ian Roberts, Professor of Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK, showed that results from a trial of the medication show that if bleeding patients get an early administration of tranexamic acid (TXA) that it stops severe bleeding and saves lives, with no evidence of bad effects from unwanted clotting.
TXA, which is an off-patent generic medicine that cost about $4.50 per gram, should be listed as “essential” by the World Health Organization (WHO). The trial, called CRASH-2, was a large, random trial involving over 20,000 adult patients in 274 hospitals across 40 countries, and was funded by England’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment program. It is the premiere trial of TXA for injured patients, although smaller trials had shown that it reduces bleeding in patients having major surgery.
The drug helps by reducing clot breakdown. Though would be good in patients with severe bleeding, doctors were concerned that TXA might raise the risk of complications like heart attacks, strokes and clots in the lungs. The results of this large trial show TXA reduces death from bleeding and doesn’t have any increase in those issues.
For people ages five to 45 years, injury is second only to HIV/AIDS as a cause of death. It’s thought that around 600,000 injured patients bleed to death worldwide due to traffic accidents, shootings, stabbings, land mines, etc.
The study predicts that if an injured person gets TXA soon after injury it could stop up to 100,000 deaths per year across the world.