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.
“Previous to this research, patients with isolated head injuries were an exception in the policy of giving tranexamic acid to trauma patients as soon as possible,” said Prof Ian Roberts of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who co-led the study. “Now that exception can be removed.”
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