First response medical teams may soon possess a new tool in the race to prevent the serious effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). According to a report by WKRC News, a national drug trial is underway to test a new medication that is administered to accident victims before they even arrive at the hospital. Ten emergency medical systems around the country are currently testing tanexamic acid (TXA), to determine its effectiveness when used after serious accidents. Researchers expect to learn more about the benefits of the drug’s administration in comparison to incidents where the drug is withheld.
TXA is reportedly a synthetic form of lysine, an amino acid. It is commonly used during surgeries to prevent life threatening amounts of blood loss. The military currently utilizes it as a regular form of treatment on the battlefield, along with several civilian hospitals. Though it is reportedly considered safe for use, its effectiveness against brain injury complications was never before studied. According to the article, traumatic brain injuries often involve bleeding within the head. The asserted rationale behind the study is that TXA can stop any bleeding that may be occurring.
Under the study, TXA is administered as soon as emergency response teams determine that a traumatic brain injury occurred. The drug is administered even if the patient is not conscious and unable to give consent. The federal government allows this to occur under specific drug trials, where an “exception from informed consent.” Participating states do offer residents an opt out option, which involves an arm bracelet to alert first responders.