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Tue Oct 15, 2019, 05:10 AM

Common drug could prevent thousands of head injury deaths


Common drug could prevent thousands of head injury deaths

Researchers say tranexamic acid treatment has potential to save tens of thousands of lives

Nicola Davis

Mon 14 Oct 2019 23.00 BST Last modified on Mon 14 Oct 2019 23.02 BST

A cheap and widely available drug could reduce the risk of death from common head injuries and save tens of thousands of lives each year, researchers say.

Tranexamic acid slows down the breakdown of blood clots, and is already used to control heavy bleeding in people who have experienced trauma elsewhere in the body – for example from being shot or stabbed.

While some of these patients might also have head injuries, it has remained unclear whether tranexamic acid would help people with head injuries alone.

Now scientists say it can – at least in those with mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries – suggesting the drug should be rapidly administered to such patients.

The study, which was published in the Lancet medical journal, spanned 29 countries, with the analysis focusing on more than 9,000 patients who were treated within three hours of injury and were randomly allocated to receiving the drug, or a placebo, intravenously. The cost of the total dose of tranexamic acid used in the trial was about £6.20 per person.

At first glance, there appeared to be no significant difference in the risk of death within 28 days of injury between those given the drug and those given the placebo. However, further analysis showed the effect depended upon the severity of the injury.

The drug had no apparent effect on patients with severe traumatic brain injury – which Roberts said was likely to be down to patients either having already had heavy bleeding in the brain, or because they had other severe damage. “You can only prevent something that hasn’t already happened,” he said.

For those with mild or moderate traumatic brain injury, however, the drug lowered the risk of death. Patients given tranexamic acid within three hours of injury had a 22% lower risk of death than those given a placebo: of 2,846 such patients given tranexamic acid, 5.8% died, compared with 7.5% of the 2,769 patients given placebo.

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Reply Common drug could prevent thousands of head injury deaths (Original post)
nitpicker Oct 15 OP
ret5hd Oct 15 #1

Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Tue Oct 15, 2019, 07:43 AM

1. $6.20/dose will be $1,376/dose tomorrow.

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