A low-cost generic drug that acts as a blood-clotter could have useful military applications, according to a new study.
The study examines TXA – Tranexamic Acid – which is typically prescribed to help women who suffer from especially heavy menstruation. It is also supplied to patients undergoing surgery, but – say researchers – it could be used on the battlefield to treat combat injuries, too.
As a result, up to 70,000 injured troops could be given a new lifeline every year.
The researchers report that, overall – TXA produces about a 10 per cent reduction in deaths resulting from severe bleeding. If this rate was mirrored across the world’s battlefields, 70,000 lives could be saved, they say, in a Cochrane Library journal published earlier this week.
TXA – Blood-Clotting Drug
The TXA blood-clotting drug research featured over 20,000 participants and was overseen by the MoD (Ministry of Defence) in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The head researcher involved was Professor Ian Roberts
“These results are based on a large number of patients, men and women, who came from many different countries”, he stated. “Given the high quality of evidence for the benefits of this drug, we recommend it be used more widely in injury victims with bleeding.
“TXA reduces the risk of a patient bleeding to death following an injury and appears to have few side effects. It could save lives in both civilian and military settings.”
Fatal injuries kill millions of people around the world every 12 months. Of these, road injuries account for over 1 million cases just in themselves.
Tranexamic Acid: TXA
Tranexamic acid is no longer patent-protected and so a number of pharmaceutical firms now produce a generic version.
On the basis of its effectiveness and its relative low cost (a gram was approximately $4.50, as of January 2011), medical researchers have urged WHO – the World Health Organization – to list TXA as an “essential” drug treatment.
This new research followed an earlier TXA blood drug study carried out in mid-2010 and covered previously by Pharma International.
Image courtesy of the US Army