Tranexamic acid therapy for heavy menstrual bleeding

Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Mary Ann Lumsden, Lilantha Wedisinghe


Heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB, also known as menorrhagia) is an important health problem that interferes with women's quality of life. It is one of the most common reasons why women are seen by their family doctors in primary care and is a condition frequently treated by surgery. This review covers the pharmacology of tranexamic acid in brief and concentrates on its use in the treatment of HMB. Papers published in the English language between January 1985 and November 2010 were reviewed using Medline, Embase, Cinahl and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Search terms were 'heavy menstrual bleeding', 'tranexamic acid' and 'menorrhagia'. Tranexamic acid, a competitive inhibitor of plasminogen activation, has been used to treat HMB for well over four decades. Although several treatment options are available for HMB, tranexamic acid is particularly useful in women who either desire immediate pregnancy or for whom hormonal treatment is inappropriate. Tranexamic acid is a well-tolerated, cost-effective drug that reduces menstrual blood loss in the range of 34-59%. It improves the health-related quality of life in women in HMB.


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