A low-cost and widely available drug could reduce the number of deaths of traumatic brain injury patients by up to 20 per cent, new research suggests.
Depending on the severity of the injury, scientists say tranexamic acid (TXA) has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives.
It prevents bleeding into the brain by inhibiting blood clot breakdown.
Led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the global randomised trial included 12,737 head injury patients who were given either intravenous tranexamic acid or a placebo.
The study, published in The Lancet, found that administration of TXA within three hours of injury reduced the number of deaths.
Scientists said the effect was greatest in patients with mild and moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI), with a 20 per cent reduction in deaths.