Tools for Practice Outils pour la pratique

#348 How to Slow the Flow III: Tranexamic acid for heavy menstrual bleeding

In premenopausal heavy menstrual bleeding due to benign etiology, does tranexamic acid (TXA) improve patient outcomes?

TXA is more effective than placebo, progestins, or NSAIDs.  Menstrual blood loss is reduced in ~40% of women with TXA compared to ~10% with placebo, with 5-10 fewer sanitary items used/cycle. Adverse events are similar to placebo. However, more women benefit from a levonorgestrel intrauterine device (IUD) than TXA (~60% versus 30%). Effects on bleeding duration and flooding are inconsistent.

CFPCLearn Logo

Reading Tools for Practice Article can earn you MainPro+ Credits

La lecture d'articles d'outils de pratique peut vous permettre de gagner des crédits MainPro+

Join Now S’inscrire maintenant

Already a CFPCLearn Member? Log in

Déjà abonné à CMFCApprendre? Ouvrir une session

  • Statistically significant unless noted.
  • One systematic review,1 13 randomized controlled trials (RCTs). After 2-6 cycles:
    • Versus placebo (4 RCTs, 16-304 patients):1-5
      • Proportion with clinically detectable blood loss improvement: 39% versus 11% placebo.1
      • Mean blood loss 53mL/cycle lower with TXA (baseline 153-268mL).1
        • Example: Mean blood loss reduced 40% (70ml) versus 8% (13ml) (placebo).5
      • Sanitary items used per cycle: 20-27 versus 25-36 placebo.2,3
      • Bleeding duration,2,3 “large stains”4,5 (not defined): No difference.
      • Quality of life: Not clinically different.4,5
      • Adverse effects: No difference.1-5
    • Versus progestins (6 RCTs, 46-128 patients):1,6-9
      • Proportion with clinically detectable blood loss improvement: 71% versus 46% progestins.1
      • Mean blood loss: Inconsistent; largest RCTs6,7 show no difference.
      • Sanitary items: No difference.8
      • Bleeding duration: Reduced 1-2 days versus 0.3-2 days progestin.6,7
      • Flooding/leakage reported “better”: 83% versus 45% progestin.8
      • Adverse effects (examples headaches, spotting): 21% versus 32% progestin.1
    • Versus levonorgestrel intrauterine device (IUD) (1 RCT, 42 patients):1,9
      • Proportion with clinically detectable blood loss improvement: 29% versus 61% IUD.
      • Quality of life, adverse effects: No difference.
    • Versus mefenamic acid (1 RCT, 49 patients):1,10
      • Proportion with clinically detectable blood loss improvement: 87% versus 61% mefenamic acid.1
      • Mean blood loss reduced from 164 to 75ml versus 186 to 148ml mefenamic acid.10
      • Sanitary items, bleeding duration, adverse events: No difference.10
  • Other meta-analysis11 found similar.
  • Limitations: Many trials small and short, variable blood loss measurement methods, inconsistent fibroid inclusion, outcomes inconsistent, not all randomized patients included in analysis.

  • Although no increase in thromboembolic events in large bleeding/trauma studies, TXA should be avoided with thromboembolic history.12-15
  • TXA costs ~$14/cycle.16

Kailey Winton September 18, 2023

Nice to see the breakdown of number who can benefit

Martha Stong September 18, 2023

Great timely information

Lynda Benedet September 18, 2023

a non hormonal treatment for menorrhagia is always helpful

Aisha Lofters September 18, 2023

Reassuring to hear that this non-hormonal treatment has proven efficacy

Mangalanath Goonetilleke September 18, 2023

This information was useful

William Garnet Warrian September 18, 2023

Confirmed present practice

Firas Ayar September 19, 2023

beneficial article

Joseph Finkler September 19, 2023

I have used TXA in the past for menorrhagia/dysfunctional uterine bleeding and I will resume this practice.

John Rea September 19, 2023

Very helpful. Have been overly concerned about se with TxA in the past

Latest Tools for Practice
Derniers outils pour la pratique

#363 Making a difference in indifference? Medications for apathy in dementia

In patients with dementia, how safe and effective are stimulants, antidepressants, and antipsychotics for treating apathy?
Read Lire 0.25 credits available Crédits disponibles

#362 Facing the Evidence in Acne, Part I: Oral contraceptives and spironolactone in females

How effective are combined oral contraceptives (COC) and spironolactone for treating acne of at least mild-moderate severity in females?
Read Lire 0.25 credits available Crédits disponibles

#361 Preventing RSV Infections in Infants

How safe and effective are monoclonal antibodies to prevent respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections in infants?
Read Lire 0.25 credits available Crédits disponibles

This content is certified for MainPro+ Credits, log in to access

Ce contenu est certifié pour les crédits MainPro+, Ouvrir une session

  • Jennifer Potter MD CCFP
  • Jennifer Young MD CCFP-EM

1. Bryant-Smith AC, Lethaby A, Farquhar C, et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018; 4:CD000249.

2. Callender ST, Warner GT, Cope E. BMJ. 1970; 4:214-216.

3. Edlund M, Andersson K, Rybo G, et al. Brit J Obstet Gynaec. 1995; 102:913-917.

4. Freeman EW, Lukes A, VanDrie D, et al. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011; 205:319e1-7.

5. Lukes AS, Moore KA, Muse KN, et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2010; 116;4:865-875.

6. Goshtasebi A, Moukhah S, Behboudi S, et al. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2013; 288:1055-1060.

7. Kriplani A, Kulshrestha V, Agarwal N, et al. J Obstet Gyneac. 2006; 26(7):673-678.

8. Preston JT, Cameron IT, Adams EJ, et al. Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1995; 102(5):401-406.

9. Kiseli M, Kayikcioglu F, Evliyaoglu O, et al. Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2016; 81(5):447-453.

10. Bonnar J, Sheppard BL. BMJ. 1996; 313:579-82.

11. Bofill Rodriguez M, Dias S, Jordan V, et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2022; 5(5):CD013180.

12. HALT-IT Trial Collaborators. Lancet. 2020; 95:1927-36.

13. CRASH-2 trial Collaborators. Lancet. 2010; 376:23-32.

14. Leminen H, Jurskainen R. Int J Womens Health. 2012; 4:413-421.

15. Singh S, Best C, Dunn S, et al. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2018; 40(5):e391-e415.

16. Alberta Interactive Drug Benefit List. Available at Accessed June 21, 2023.

Authors do not have any conflicts of interest to declare.