Study: Cheap, widely available drug could save thousands of trauma victims
06/16/2010 // West Palm Beach, Florida, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan
West Palm Beach, FL—A recent health study indicated a low-cost medicine could have the potential to save the lives of as many as 100,000 trauma victims worldwide. The lifesaving medicine, tranexamic acid (TXA), has even been recommended for inclusion in the World Health Organization (WHO) Model Lists of Essential Medicines, according to a Monday, June 14, 2010 report by WebMD.
The CRASH-2 study was funded by England’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment Programme and published in the Online First edition of The Lancet.
More than 20,000 adult patients were involved in the trial study. The report included patients from 274 hospitals within 40 countries. While some participants reportedly received 1 gram of TXA by injection, as well as 1 gram in a drip over a span of 8 hours, others were given a matching placebo. The TXA and placebos were randomly assigned to participating patients.
TXA was created to reduce the rate of blood-clot breakdown, or rather prevent patients from bleeding to death. After the medication and placebos were administered, researchers examined the number of in-hospital fatalities within four weeks of injury.
The conclusion: Patients given TXA were 10 percent less likely to die from any cause—16 percent of patients in placebo group succumbed to their injuries, as opposed to 14.5 percent in the TXA group.
According to the World Health Organization’s director of violence and injury prevention and disability, Etienne Krug, MD, “5.8 million die every year from injuries. This is more than HIV, TB, and malaria deaths combined.”
More than 2 million of those fatalities are allegedly caused by injuries sustained in traffic accidents. Also, “Each year about 600,000 injured patients bleed to death worldwide,” chief investigator Ian Roberts said in a statement.
Research personnel estimated that if the drug were to be made readily available for trauma victims, 70,000 to 100,000 lives could be saved around the globe. On an annual scale, those numbers would account for approximately 13,000 prevented deaths in India, 12,000 in China and about 2,000 in the United States.
There were initial concerns about the potential for side effects, including heart attacks, strokes, and clots in the lungs. However, “The good news was we didn’t see any evidence of increase [in unwanted clotting] at all… In fact, we saw some decrease in the risk… Patients with severe injuries die very soon after their injuries… People bleed to death in the emergency department, so this is an emergency treatment.” Sixty percent of patients who suffer traumatic injuries allegedly succumb to those injuries on the first day,” Roberts affirmed.
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