Heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) is an important cause of ill health in women. Medical therapy, with the avoidance of possibly unnecessary surgery, is an attractive treatment option. A wide variety of medications are available to reduce heavy menstrual bleeding but there is considerable variation in practice and uncertainty about the most appropriate therapy.
Plasminogen activators are a group of enzymes that cause fibrinolysis (the dissolution of clots). An increase in the levels of plasminogen activators has been found in the endometrium of women with heavy menstrual bleeding compared to those with normal menstrual loss. Plasminogen activator inhibitors (antifibrinolytic agents) have therefore been promoted as a treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding.
There has been a reluctance to prescribe tranexamic acid due to possible side effects of the drugs such as an increased risk of thrombogenic disease (deep venous thrombosis). Long term studies in Sweden, however, have shown that the rate of incidence of thrombosis in women treated with tranexamic acid is comparable with the spontaneous frequency of thrombosis in women.