Image by Brittany Reed

Image by Brittany Reed

The FDA announced yesterday that they have approved tranexamic acid tablets for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding, under the brand name Lysteda. According to the press release, approximately 3 million US women experience heavy bleeding, usually with no underlying health condition. The report states that there was  a statistically significant reduction in menstrual blood loss in women who received Lysteda, compared with those taking placebo.

As is the case with many newly approved drugs, tranexamic acid is not a new drug but an approval for a new usage: tranexamic acid has been used in injection form more than 20 years to reduce bleeding during tooth extraction in people with hemophilia (a blood disorder in which blood lacks a clotting factor).

Although it’s unlikely that anyone using hormonal contraceptives would also have heavy menstrual bleeding (remember, hormonal contraceptives suppress menstruation), the new drug comes with a big warning: taking Lysteda along with hormonal contraceptives increases one’s risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack.

I’m not a biochemist or a physician, but it sounds like Lysteda is a viable alternative for women who are currently taking (or recommended to take) hormonal contraceptives for the management of menstrual bleeding.

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