Cheap drug shown to stop women bleeding to death following childbirth

According to BBC Health, excessive bleeding following childbirth is the leading cause of maternal death, accounting for 100,000 women around the world each year. However, an international study suggests that Tranexamic acid could cut this number by a third, which works by preventing blood clots from breaking down and therefore controlling the bleeding.

Although this discovery was made in Japan in the 1960s, clinical trials were not conducted to research the effectiveness of Tranexamic acid for this excessive bleeding, also known as, Postpartum Haemorrhage. However, in more recent years the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine eventually conducted a study involving 20,000 patients and collaborating with 193 hospitals, mainly in Africa and Asia.

The results of this study revealed that this treatment could in fact be lifesaving, confirming the beliefs of researchers in the 1960s. The results showed that deaths were reduced by one fifth overall following the treatment containing Tranexamic acid and by 31% in those given the drug within three hours of birth.

The discovery of this drug could play a significant role in medicine in reducing the number of maternal deaths. Not only has it proven to be effective for treating Postpartum Haemorrhage, it is also inexpensive meaning it could be accessible worldwide, and most importantly in developing countries where maternal death is particularly common.

Following this study, the World Health Organisation said it will update its recommendations for treating Postpartum Haemorrhage. Although it will still be a challenge getting this drug into hospitals around the world, the discovery of this drug and its effectiveness are a positive step forward.

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