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Study backs post-partum haemorrhage treatment

Thursday April 27th, 2017

A major global study has backed the use of tranexamic acid to reduce the risk of post-partum haemorrhage, it was announced last night.

When given within three hours of a haemorrhage, the drug reduced death rates by a third, the researchers report in The Lancet.

20,000 women in 21 countries, mostly African and Asian, took part in the randomised control study, led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.

Researchers said the findings suggest the drug should be given at the same time as uterotonics. Current World Health Organisation guidelines say it should be given if uterotonics fail to control the haemorrhage.

In 2015 it is estimated that 303,000 women died during childbirth.

Researcher Professor Ian Roberts said: The researchers who invented tranexamic acid more than 50 years ago hoped it would reduce deaths from postpartum haemorrhage, but they couldn't persuade obstetricians at the time to conduct a trial.

"Now we finally have these results that we hope can help save women's lives around the world."

Professor Lesley Regan, president of the UK Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, welcomed the findings.

She said: "Although post-partum haemorrhage is rare in the UK, there hasn’t been a significant reduction in the number of deaths from the condition since 2009.

“Previous research has shown the benefits of the medication, but this latest study provides reassurance that there are no side effects from the drug for mothers or babies."

Effect of early tranexamic acid administration on mortality, hysterectomy, and other morbidities in women with post-partum haemorrhage (WOMAN): an international, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial Lancet 26 April 2017; doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30638-4 [abstract]

Photo courtesy: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Tags: Africa | Asia | Childbirth and Pregnancy | Pharmaceuticals | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology | World Health

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