Tranexamic acid

Sounds like TRAN-ex-AM-ik AS-id

Tranexamic acid is used to reduce or stop heavy bleeding. Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects. Tranexamic acid is also called Cyklokapron.

Type of medicine Also called
  • To reduce heavy bleeding 
  • Cyklokapron®

What is tranexamic acid?

Tranexamic acid is used to reduce or stop heavy bleeding caused by heavy menstrual periods, nose bleeds, dental procedures or surgery (operations). Tranexamic acid works by slowing the breakdown of clots. When you bleed your body forms blood clots to stop the bleeding. In some people, these clots break down (or dissolve) causing too much bleeding. By slowing the breakdown of clots tranexamic acid prevents further bleeding. In New Zealand, tranexamic acid is available as tablets (500 mg) and can also be given as an injection in the hospital.

Dose

  • The usual dose of tranexamic acid is 2 or 3 tablets taken two or three times a day.
  • Some people may need higher doses.
  • Always take your tranexamic acid exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much tranexamic acid to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take tranexamic acid

  • Timing: You can take tranexamic acid with or without food. If you've been told to take the tablets 3 or 4 times a day, try to space the doses evenly throughout the day. Take your doses at the same times each day.
  • Swallow your tablets with a glass of water. Do not chew the tablets. If you have trouble swallowing the tablet, you can crush the tablet and mix it with a small amount of soft food such as yogurt, honey or jam. Make sure you swallow it straight away, without chewing.
  • Missed dose: If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember but if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.

Precautions – before starting tranexamic acid

  • Have you ever had blood clots in your legs (DVT), lungs (pulmonary embolism) or anywhere
    else in your body?
  • Do you have kidney problems?
  • Do you have epilepsy?
  • Have you ever had a stroke or a bleed in your brain?
  • Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • Are taking any other medicines? This includes any medicines you are taking which you can buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines and the oral contraceptive (the 'pill' or 'mini-pill').

If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start tranexamic acid. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.

Side effects

Like all medicines tranexamic acid can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. 

Side effects What should I do?
  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea (loose stools) 
  • These are quite common when you first start taking tranexamic acid and usually go away with time
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome – they may suggest reducing the dose.
  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Stand up slowly. If you do feel dizzy sit-down, or lie down for a bit. Do not drive until you feel better.
  • Problems with your eyesight such as changes in your colour vision 
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116
 
  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as skin rash, itching, blisters, peeling skin, swelling of the face, lips, mouth or have problems breathing
 
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116
  • Signs of clots in the legs or the lung such as swelling, redness or cramping in the legs, or shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or chest pain  
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116

Learn more

The following links have more information on tranexamic acid.

Medsafe consumer information sheets: Cyklokapron

References

  1. Tranexamic acid New Zealand Formulary
  2. Tranexamic acid for the treatment or prevention of bleeding Medicines for Children, UK
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 14 Feb 2019