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Injured women face discrimination over life-saving drugs, say researchers

Injured women are experiencing sex discrimination in the administration of a life-saving drug that cuts the risk of bleeding to death by 30%, researchers have warned.

They found that female trauma victims were half as likely to receive tranexamic acid (TXA) as injured men – even though the treatment is equally effective regardless of sex.

“These results are very concerning. TXA is the only proven life-saving treatment for traumatic bleeding. Women were treated less frequently than men regardless of their risk of death from bleeding or the severity of their injuries,” said Prof Ian Roberts of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), who was involved in the study.

“This looks like sex discrimination, and there is an urgent need to reduce this disparity, so all patients who need the drug have the chance to receive it.”

“Whatever of the mechanism of injury, and whatever the bleeding risk we looked at, women were statistically less likely to receive tranexamic acid than men, apart from road traffic collisions with a very high risk of bleeding,” said Tim Nutbeam, whose research was published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia. “However, when we looked at mechanisms of injury which we tend to associate less with major trauma, such as falls from standing, women and particularly older women were much less likely to receive it.”

As striking as these results are, they are not necessarily surprising, he added: “It is already known that women with chest pain are less likely to receive aspirin, less likely to be resuscitated for out of hospital cardiac arrest, and less likely to be taken to hospital by an ambulance using lights and sirens.”

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Source: The Guardian, 18 May 2022


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