Tranexamic acid for bleeding

  • Tranexamic acid is used to control unwanted bleeding. It reduces the amount of blood loss.
  • If side-effects occur they are usually minor, but may include an upset stomach.
  • If you experience a change in your colour vision, stop taking the tablets and see your doctor.
Type of medicine Antifibrinolytic
Used for To prevent or treat heavy bleeding
Also called Cyklokapron®
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 break down causing too much bleeding. 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.

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 or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have blood vessel problems such as thrombosis.
  • If you have kidney problems, or have blood in your urine.
  • If you have ever had convulsions (fits).
  • If you have ever had a blood clotting problem called disseminated intravascular coagulation.
  • If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any medicine.
  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the specific brand of tranexamic acid you have been given, and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it.
  • Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how many tablets to take, when to take them, and for how long. Your dose will also be on the label of the pack. The usual dose is two or three tablets, two or three times a day, but your doctor will tell you what dose is right for you. Take the tablets exactly as your doctor has told you.
  • These tablets should be swallowed whole with a drink of water, and should not be crushed or chewed.
  • You may take the tablets 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.
  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
  • If you are taking tranexamic acid over a long period of time, you will need regular blood tests to check your liver.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking tranexamic acid.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common tranexamic acid side-effects What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling or being sick 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

Important: if you develop problems with your eyesight (especially if it is with your colour vision), speak with your doctor as soon as possible.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
  • If you buy any medicines check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other 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.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
  • This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
  • Never 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 & references

  • British National Formulary; 63rd Edition (Mar 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
  • Manufacturer's PIL, Cyklokapron® Tablets,; Manufacturer's PIL, Cyklokapron® Tablets, Meda Pharmaceuticals, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated December 2009.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Hannah Gronow
Document ID:
3242 (v23)
Last Checked:
13/06/2012
Next Review:
13/06/2015
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