Tranexamic acid is used to control unwanted bleeding. It reduces the amount of blood loss.
Side-effects are rare and usually minor. However, if you notice any changes to your vision you should let your doctor know about this as soon as possible.
About tranexamic acid
|Type of medicine||An antifibrinolytic medicine|
|Used for||To prevent or treat heavy bleeding|
|Also called||Cyklokapron®; Cyklo-f® Heavy Period Relief|
|Available as||Tablets and injection|
Tranexamic acid is given to stop or reduce heavy bleeding. When you bleed, your body forms clots to stop the bleeding. In some people, these clots break down and the bleeding continues. Tranexamic acid works by stopping the clots from breaking down and so reduces the unwanted bleeding.
It is used to control bleeding in a number of different conditions. It reduces unwanted or heavy bleeding following some surgery (such as surgery on the prostate, bladder or cervix), nosebleeds, heavy periods (menorrhagia), bleeding inside the eye, tooth extraction in people who bleed more easily than normal, and in a condition called hereditary angio-oedema.
Tranexamic acid is available on prescription from a doctor and may be sold over-the-counter from pharmacies for the treatment of heavy periods.
Before taking tranexamic acid
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking tranexamic acid it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- If you have any problems with the way your kidneys work, or if you have blood in your urine.
- If you have had a blood clot in an artery or vein.
- If you have ever had a fit (convulsion).
- If you have recently had a blood clotting problem called disseminated intravascular coagulation.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines. If you are taking the contraceptive pill, please make sure that your doctor is aware of this.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take tranexamic acid
- Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about tranexamic acid and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take the tablets exactly as your doctor tells you to. Your doctor will tell you how many tablets to take each day and how long the course of treatment will last. Your dose will also be printed on the label of the pack to remind you about what the doctor said to you. It is usual to be asked to take 2-3 tablets, two or three times a day, but your dose may be different to this.
- Swallow the tablets whole with a drink of water - do not crush or chew the tablets.
- Tranexamic acid can be taken either before or after food.
- If you forget to take a dose, do not worry, just leave out the missed dose and take the next dose when it is due. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep any regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
- Tranexamic acid is usually taken for short periods of time only.
- If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, remember to tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking tranexamic acid.
Can tranexamic acid cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the side-effects associated with tranexamic acid, although these occur only rarely. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following become troublesome.
|Tranexamic acid side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting)||Stick to simple meals - avoid rich and spicy food. If you are not already doing so, try taking the tablets after meals|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace the lost fluids|
|Eyesight problems (such as problems with your colour vision)||Let your doctor know about this as soon as possible as your treatment will need to be reviewed|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store tranexamic acid
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Do not give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with your other medicines.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading and references
Manufacturer's PIL, Cyklokapron® 500 mg film-coated Tablets; Mylan Products Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated March 2021.
British National Formulary, 81st Edition (Mar 2021); British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.