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Old Drug In New Treatment For Postpartum Hemorrhage; How Tranexamic Acid Got Its Groove Back

Update Date: Apr 28, 2017 10:34 AM EDT

Tranexamic acid an old drug developed by Utako Okamoto in 1962. Now, it is put on the spotlight anew, as researchers have shown in a study that it is able to decrease the risk of death due to postpartum hemorrhage.

What Did New Study Find Out?

The new study on the effect of tranexamic acid on postpartum hemorrhage is an international collaboration, as they collected data from almost 200 hospitals in 21 countries. With over 20,000 women in the study, the results showed that the women who got a dose of tranexamic acid had lesser chances of dying from postpartum hemorrhage than those who received a placebo, NPR reported.

In the study, the would-be mothers were randomized to receive either a shot of tranexamic acid or a placebo, alongside other treatments that doctors would normally use to stop the bleeding. The researchers noted that the women who received the tranexamic acid were 20 percent less likely to die from postpartum hemorrhage and if it was administered within three hours of the onset of the bleeding, the likelihood was reduced to 30 percent, the Chicago Tribune reported.

What Is Postpartum Hemorrhage?

Postpartum hemorrhage occurs as a complication after childbirth, when there is a tear in the birth canal, rupture of the cervix, or even just a coagulation problem that causes excessive bleeding. Researchers hope that tranexamic acid will be widely used against the complication postpartum hemorrhage. It is the cause of maternal mortality with 100,000 every year.

With the drug costing only around $1 per dose, the World Health Organization (WHO) hopes that it will be distributed in developing countries where maternal mortality is very high. It is very easy to transport and store as the drug does not need to be refrigerated.

The researchers are looking into creating new formulations of the drug like in a pill for, as they try to address the concern that some health care practitioners in remote areas are not adept in administering the drug through injections.

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