Simple, cheap jab could save thousands of accident victims

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London, Aug 12 (ANI): A cheap, widely available and easily administered drug that helps clot the blood of injured patients with serious bleeding could save thousands of lives every year, according to a study.

Dr Ian Roberts, Professor of Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK, revealed that results from a trial show that early administration of tranexamic acid (TXA) to patients with recent, severe bleeding injuries saves lives, with no evidence of adverse effects from unwanted clotting.

The trial, named CRASH-2, was a large, randomised 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 programme.

This is the first trial of TXA in injured patients, although smaller trials have shown that it reduces bleeding in patients undergoing major surgery.

TXA is an off-patent drug, manufactured by a number of different companies. The cost per gram is about #3 ($4.50).

The drug helps by reducing clot breakdown.

Although this would be advantageous in patients with severe bleeding, doctors were worried that TXA might increase the risk of complications, such as heart attacks, strokes and clots in the lungs.

The results of this large trial show that TXA reduces death from bleeding without any increase in these complications.

"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," Lancet quoted Roberts as saying.

The researchers estimate that administering TXA soon after injury could prevent up to 100,000 deaths per year across the world. In India it could save about 13,000 lives each year, with about 12,000 lives saved in China.

The drug would also save lives in developed countries, around 2,000 each year in the USA and more in Europe.

"The large numbers of patients treated in very different healthcare settings around the world means we can be sure that prompt use of TXA will be of benefit to trauma patients in all kinds of facilities. We believe that doctors across the world should now consider using it to improve accident victims' chances of survival and that it should be considered for inclusion in the WHO List of Essential Medicines," concluded Roberts.

The study has been published in The Lancet. (ANI)

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