Commentary – by Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran

WOMAN TRIAL – a cheap and widely available drug that can save women’s lives

Every year nearly 300,000 women die globally due to childbirth related complications. Of these 25% are attributed to postpartum haemorrhage (PPH). The WOMAN trial published in the Lancet in April 2017 studied over 20,000 women having PPH who were treated either with a placebo or tranexamic acid – a cheap, heat-stable drug. There was a 30% reduction in maternal deaths in the group treated with tranexamic acid within three hours of bleeding compared with the placebo treated group.

Tranexamic acid is available in most countries and is used for other conditions to reduce bleeding. The WOMAN trial results are like the CRASH II study which looked at 20,000 patients having tranexamic acid or placebo for trauma victims that showed a similar magnitude reduction of deaths if the medication was given within three hours. The WOMAN trial showed no increase in thrombo-embolic events with the use of tranexamic acid. We should embrace the findings of this study to save the lives of thousands of women globally.

NB Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran was Chair of the Steering Committee for the Woman Trial.

To read the full paper please go to this link:
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)30638-4/fulltext?elsca1=tlpr