A drug, currently used to treat blood loss from major trauma and bleeding after childbirth, may benefit patients with stroke caused by bleeding in the brain -- intracerebral haemorrhage, a clinical trial suggests.
Intracerebral haemorrhage occurs when a diseased blood vessel within the brain bursts, allowing blood to leak inside the brain.
The study, published in the journal The Lancet, found that giving tranexamic acid (TXA) to people who had experienced intracerebral haemorrhage reduced the number of deaths in the early days following the stroke.
It also showed that both the amount of bleeding in the brain and the number of associated serious complications were lower in the patients who had received the TXA treatment, the researchers from the University of Nottingham said.
Patients who received TXA treatment experienced lower associated serious complications -- such as pneumonia and brain swelling -- as compared to those who had not, the researchers added.
However, the trial found no difference in the number of people who were left disabled or had died at three months after their stroke -- the study's primary outcome.
"While we failed to show significant benefits three months after stroke, the reduction in early deaths, amount of bleeding on the brain and serious complications are signs that this drug may be of benefit in the future," said co-author Nikola Sprigg, Professor at the University of Nottingham.
For the study, researchers recruited more than 2,000 patients who were diagnosed as having had bleeding in the brain -- confirmed by CT scan -- from 124 hospitals in 12 countries between 2013 and 2017.
They were randomly sorted into two patient groups -- one received TXA within eight hours of their stroke and another was given a saline placebo.
CT scans of the patients' brains were performed 24 hours after their stroke and their progress was monitored and measured at day two and day seven after their stroke. The final follow up was performed at 90 days.
The researchers have highlighted the need for further studies to find out whether giving an earlier dose of TXA might be beneficial for patients.