OCT 16, 2019 03:25 PM PDT

Common Drug May Prevent Thousands Deaths from Head Injury

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Each year, there are over 60 million new cases of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Mostly caused by road traffic crashes and falls, TBI often causes intracranial bleeding which increases the risk of death and disability. Now however, researchers have found that tranexamic acid may be used to treat TBI, and in turn reduce mortality rates. 

Already used to control heavy bleeding in people who have experienced trauma elsewhere on the body, tranexamic acid works by slowing down the breakdown of blood clots. Although some patients may have already seen success in head wounds being treated with the drug, until now, no tests had confirmed its efficacy on head wounds (Davis: 2019). 

Thus, to investigate this, doctors administered tranexamic acid to patients within 3 hours of receiving a head injury in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial between 2012 and 2019. Of the patients who were treated in the tranexamic acid group, the risk of head injury-related death was 18.5%, whereas that for the placebo group was 19.8% (The Lancet: 2019). 

When looking at the final results, the researchers found that the earlier patients were treated for mild to moderate head injury, the better the outcome tended to be. They also found however that for those with more severe head injuries, the treatment had no obvious effect. 

According to researcher Dr Ben Bloom, a consultant in emergency medicine at Barts Health NHS Trust in the UK: “Treating traumatic brain injury is extremely challenging, with very few treatment options available for patients...Thanks to these latest results, which are applicable to patients with head injuries of any cause and of all demographics, clinicians now have a potentially powerful new treatment available to them (BBC Health: 2019).”

With the treatment amounting to just $50 per person in the US, Professor Haleema Shakur, one of the lead investigators of the study added, “The results are just amazing. It's the first trial to ever show that a [medical] treatment can reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury patients dying...This is the first time that we have seen a beneficial effect. It will have huge implications worldwide...It's a widely available drug, it's relatively cheap and it's really simple to give (ibid.)."




Davis, Nicola: The Guardian 

The Lancet 

BBC Health 


About the Author
  • Writer with a keen interest in genetics, psychology, health and everything in between. Currently focused on the interplay of genetics and society to understand how to create meaningful interactions and environments.
You May Also Like
NOV 22, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
NOV 22, 2019
How the Kava Plant Creates Medicinal Compounds
Nature has given us some of our best medicines; it's thought that as many as half the drugs we used are derived from natural products....
NOV 22, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
NOV 22, 2019
DNA Construction Kit Could Drive Down Costs of Immune Therapy
Researchers at KU Leuven in Belgium have created a DNA construction kit that, when injected into muscle cells, enables sheep to produce new antibodies to f...
NOV 22, 2019
NOV 22, 2019
Potential New Antibiotic Discovered in Soil-Dwelling Microbe
Many of our best antibiotics have come from microbes, which have to use them to battle other microorganisms in a struggle for resources....
NOV 22, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
NOV 22, 2019
Tailor-made Drug for Girl with Rare Genetic Disease
Researchers have used personalized medicine to develop a tailor-made genetic treatment for a girl diagnosed with a rare genetic disease known as Batten dis...
NOV 22, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
NOV 22, 2019
Therapeutic Targets Inflammation Associated with Genetic Heart Disease
Often times when young athletes collapse during the game it is due to sudden cardiac death as a result of the inherited arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM)...
NOV 22, 2019
NOV 22, 2019
New Encapsulation Technology
Research at the University of Waterloo has concluded new encapsulation technology that can offer an inexpensive, and effective method for coating liquid me...
Loading Comments...