A drug used for heavy periods could benefit patients with strokes caused by dangerous brain bleeds, experts say.  Currently, there is no effective drug treatment.  A trial in The Lancet found tranexamic acid stemmed bleeding and reduced the risk of death in the early days following a haemorrhagic stroke.  Although it did not equate to less disability at three months, researchers are still hopeful about its use as a stroke therapy.  Up to a fifth of strokes are bleeds.  They account for nearly a half of all stroke deaths worldwide. Those who do survive may be left with debilitating disabilities, including paralysis and difficulty with their speech.  Researcher Dr Nikola Sprigg, from the University of Nottingham, said: “Tranexamic acid is a drug that has been around for a long time. It’s effective in other bleeding conditions.” It is already used (in tablets) for treating heavy periods and (by injection) for controlling dangerous bleeding during childbirth or severe trauma.  “In the stroke patients it reduced the amount of bleeding in the brain,” Dr Sprigg said. “It also reduced the amount of people that died in the first week after bleeding, which is the emergency period.” Less bleeding should mean less damage and disability, and fewer deaths.  But the study did not find any difference between the two patient groups on these measures at three months. Prof Sprigg said: “Future work is going to need to focus on getting patients to hospital quicker and getting the treatment quicker – probably within three or four hours.” The Stroke Association, which funded earlier stages of the trial, said: “Currently, treatment for haemorrhagic stroke is very limited so we are excited by the findings of this study into bleeding that happens within the brain. We hope there will now be further research into how this relatively cheap and widely available drug could be used to potentially save lives and improve long-term recovery from this type of stroke. “

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