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Drug may cut accident deaths

Tuesday June 15th, 2010

A common drug could save the lives of tens of thousands of accident victims, British researchers claimed today.

The blood clotting drug tranexamic acid - TXA - can successfully be used to stem bleeding following an accident, according to a major study.

British government funds helped pay for the research involving more than 20,000 patients in 40 countries and reported in The Lancet today.

The drug costs just three UK pounds a gram.

The study set out to establish whether using a clotting drug might cause serious complications such as heart attack, stroke and clots in the lungs.

Researchers said there was no evidence of an increase in complications from the research.

During the study, known as Crash-2, about 16 per cent of accident victims died - but TXA reduced this death rate by about a tenth.

Researcher Professor Ian Roberts, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, said: "It?s important to remember that deaths from injuries are increasing around the world and that they usually involve young adults, often the main breadwinner in the family. The impact on the family is devastating

"Each year about 600,000 injured patients bleed to death worldwide. Injuries may be accidental, for example traffic crashes, or intentional, such as shootings, stabbings or land mine injuries and the majority of deaths occur soon after injury."

Dr Etienne Krug, of the World Health Organisation, said: "Even with the best efforts there will still be millions of patients requiring emergency treatment, which is why these results are so important. The drug is inexpensive and could be given in hospitals world-wide."

UK health minister Earl Howe said: "This is a great example of how important research can help the NHS save more lives and spread best practice around the world."

* Meanwhile yesterday the world's young adults were praised for their role in blood donation.

People under the age of 25 contribute some 38 per cent of voluntary donations, according to the World Health Organisation. The figures were released for World Blood Donor Day.

The analysis shows there are now 62 countries that get blood supplies mostly from voluntary donors.

Dr Neelam Dhingra, of WHO, said: "Young people are the hope and future of a safe blood supply in the world. We are confident more countries can achieve 100 per cent voluntary unpaid blood donation if they focus efforts on engaging young people."

The Lancet on-line June 15 201

Tags: A&E | Pharmaceuticals | UK News | World Health

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