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Tranexamic acid: a review of its use in the management of menorrhagia.

Abstract
Tranexamic acid (Transamin), Cyklokapron, Exacyl, Cyklo-f) is a synthetic lysine derivative that exerts its antifibrinolytic effect by reversibly blocking lysine binding sites on plasminogen and thus preventing fibrin degradation. In a number of small clinical studies in women with idiopathic menorrhagia, tranexamic acid 2-4.5 g/day for 4-7 days reduced menstrual blood loss by 34-59% over 2-3 cycles, significantly more so than placebo, mefenamic acid, flurbiprofen, etamsylate and oral luteal phase norethisterone at clinically relevant dosages. Intrauterine administration of levonorgestrel 20 microg/day, however, produced the greatest reduction (96% after 12 months) in blood loss; 44% of patients treated with levonorgestrel developed amenorrhoea. Tranexamic acid 1.5 g three times daily for 5 days also significantly reduced menstrual blood loss in women with intrauterine contraceptive device-associated menorrhagia compared with diclofenac sodium (150 mg in three divided doses on day 1 followed by 25 mg three times daily on days 2-5) or placebo. Tranexamic acid, mefenamic acid, etamsylate, flurbiprofen or diclofenac sodium had no effect on the duration of menses in the studies that reported such data. In a large noncomparative, nonblind, quality-of-life study, 81% of women were satisfied with tranexamic acid 3-6 g/day for 3-4 days/cycle for three cycles, and 94% judged their menstrual blood loss to be 'decreased' or 'strongly decreased' compared with untreated menstruations. The most commonly reported drug-related adverse events are gastrointestinal in nature. The total incidence of nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and dyspepsia in a double-blind study was 12% in patients who received tranexamic acid 1g four times daily for 4 days for two cycles (not significantly different to the incidence in placebo recipients). In conclusion, the oral antifibrinolytic drug tranexamic acid is an effective and well tolerated treatment for idiopathic menorrhagia. In clinical trials, tranexamic acid was more effective at reducing menstrual blood loss than mefenamic acid, flurbiprofen, etamsylate and oral luteal phase norethisterone. Although it was not as effective as intrauterine administration of levonorgestrel, the high incidence of amenorrhoea and adverse events such as intermenstrual bleeding resulting from such treatment may be unacceptable to some patients. Comparative studies of tranexamic acid with epsilon - aminocaproic acid, danazol and combined oral contraceptives, as well as long-term tolerability studies, would help to further define the place of the drug in the treatment of menorrhagia. Nevertheless, tranexamic acid may be considered as a first-line treatment for the initial management of idiopathic menorrhagia, especially for patients in whom hormonal treatment is either not recommended or not wanted.
AuthorsKeri Wellington, Antona J Wagstaff
JournalDrugs (Drugs) Vol. 63 Issue 13 Pg. 1417-33 ( 2003) ISSN: 0012-6667 [Print] New Zealand
PMID12825966 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Review)
Chemical References
  • Antifibrinolytic Agents
  • Tranexamic Acid
Topics
  • Antifibrinolytic Agents (pharmacokinetics, pharmacology, therapeutic use)
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menorrhagia (drug therapy)
  • Tranexamic Acid (pharmacokinetics, pharmacology, therapeutic use)

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