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New drug can reduce fatalities among brain injury patients

The earlier a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis typically is for the patient. A new study provides one more reason that addressing brain injuries within the first few hours of the injury can mean the difference between life and death.

A drug called tranexamic acid (TXA) inhibits the breakdown of blot clots, which can result from brain injuries. This medication prevents clots from bleeding into the brain.

In a study of 12,000 patients at hospitals in 29 countries, some were given TXA intravenously within three hours of their injuries. Others were given a placebo.

Researchers found a reduction in deaths among those who were given the drug -- particularly patients with mild to moderate injuries. The drug didn't seem to impact the survival rate of those with very severe brain injuries.

Early administration of the drug is key to prevent brain bleeds and minimize brain damage. The drug doesn't repair damage that's already occurred. Further, researchers found that for every additional 20 minutes before the drug was administered, its effectiveness was reduced by 10%.

One of the study's authors said, "We already know that rapid administration of tranexamic acid can save lives in patients with life-threatening bleeding in the chest or abdomen, such as we often see in victims of traffic crashes, shootings or stabbings….This hugely exciting new result shows that early treatment with TXA also cuts deaths from head injury."

Another author, who called this a "landmark study," said, "Not only do we think this could save hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide, but it will no doubt renew the enthusiasm for drug discovery research for this devastating condition."

The medical profession is making advancements in the treatment of brain injuries all the time. If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury, it's essential to get the best care possible. If the injury was the result of a workplace accident, you should seek the compensation you need to get this care, both immediately after the injury and in the future.

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Hannigan & Botha, Ltd.
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