A drug used to slow bleeding during surgery could save the lives of scores of trauma patients if used in emergency rooms, a new study suggests. UK researchers found that the drug tranexamic acid reduced bleeding deaths among trauma patients by a sixth, HealthDay reports. As 600,000 such patients bleed to death every year worldwide, "if you could reduce that by a sixth, you've saved 100,000 lives in one year," says the lead researcher. "This is one of the cheapest ways ever to save a life."
Tranexamic acid is cheap and easy to administer, and it works by slowing the rate at which the blood clots break down. The study, published in the Lancet, has medical experts speaking out in favor of using tranexamic acid on trauma patients. "It's not our job to tell doctors how to treat their patients, but this is a drug that is safe and effective in a condition where people have a high risk of death," says the chair for research of Emory University School of Medicine.