New over the counter drug could help women

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Anew drug is available over the counter for the relief of those who suffer heavy menstrual bleeding.

It’s called Tranexamic acid and I thought it would be useful to let you know the facts so that you can work out if it is the right drug for you.

This is a drug that has been available on prescription for many years but has recently become licensed to be sold over the counter in a pharmacy.

It is an option for women who experience heavy menstrual bleeding over the course of several menstrual cycles.

Tranexamic acid is suitable for those aged over 18 who have regular 21 – 35 day cycles and who have no more than three days variation in length between cycles.

It can reduce blood loss through menstruation by up to 58 per cent – but may not be suitable to everyone.

So, how do I know if the drug is suitable for me?

Anyone that fits into any of the following groups should consult their doctor before trying it:

* Women under the age of 18 or over the age of 45 as there may be an underlying cause for excess bleeding during menstruation

* Obese and diabetic patients

* Women who are breast feeding

* Anyone with a family history of endometrial cancer or polycystic ovarian syndrome

* Anyone with a blood disorder eg: lacking in clotting factors or history of clots

* Anyone taking the drug Tamoxifen

* Anyone taking oral contraceptives

* Anyone who is allergic to Tranexamic acid

* Anyone with irregular menstrual cycles

* Anyone who is taking medication to thin the blood eg. warfarin

* Pregnant women

* Any women with kidney problems.

If you’ve been taking this product for three cycles consecutively but not seen an improvement you should also talk to your GP.

You might be wondering how you tell if your blood loss is abnormally heavy or not.

Usually women with a normal level of blood loss would lose 30-40ml of blood per cycle but women with abnormally high levels of blood loss can lose 60-80ml of blood per cycle.

Of course it’s a hard thing to spot a measurement like that but think about whether your period is impacting on you physically, emotionally and socially, or if you are suffering from tiredness and lethargy.

Think about whether you are having to change a tampon or pad more often than every few hours, even if the most absorbent level is being used.

Tranexamic acid works by increasing clot formation and thus reduces blood loss.

The drug should only be started once heavy bleeding has started and may not work properly if taken before bleeding starts.

Two tables should be taken three times a day during heavy menstrual bleeding but for no longer than four days consecutive.

It can be used for consecutive cycles as long as the cycle remains regular and bleeds remain heavy. If bleeding is unusually heavy the recommended dose can be increased to a maximum of eight tablets a day.

Common side effects include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea but reducing the dose should reduce the side effects.

If any signs of blood clots elsewhere in the body develop, stop taking this medication as it could make it worse. And if the drug starts affecting your sight stop taking it and consult your GP.