OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to assess if tranexamic acid is safe, reduces haematoma expansion and improves outcomes in adults with spontaneous intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH).
DESIGN: The TICH-2 (Tranexamic acid for hyperacute primary IntraCerebral Haemorrhage) study was a pragmatic, Phase III, prospective, double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled trial.
SETTING: Acute stroke services at 124 hospitals in 12 countries (Denmark, Georgia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK).
PARTICIPANTS: Adult patients (aged ≥ 18 years) with ICH within 8 hours of onset.
EXCLUSION CRITERIA: Exclusion criteria were ICH secondary to anticoagulation, thrombolysis, trauma or a known underlying structural abnormality; patients for whom tranexamic acid was thought to be contraindicated; prestroke dependence (i.e. patients with a modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score > 4); life expectancy 4.5 hours after stroke onset. Pragmatic inclusion criteria led to a heterogeneous population of participants, some of whom had very large strokes. Although 12 countries enrolled participants, the majority (82.1%) were from the UK.
CONCLUSIONS: Tranexamic acid did not affect a patient's functional status at 90 days after ICH, despite there being significant modest reductions in early death (by 7 days), haematoma expansion and SAEs, which is consistent with an antifibrinolytic effect. Tranexamic acid was safe, with no increase in thromboembolic events.
FUTURE WORK: Future work should focus on enrolling and treating patients early after stroke and identify which participants are most likely to benefit from haemostatic therapy. Large randomised trials are needed.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN93732214.
FUNDING: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 23, No. 35. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information. The project was also funded by the Pragmatic Trials, UK, funding call and the Swiss Heart Foundation in Switzerland.
METHODS: We did an international, randomised placebo-controlled trial in adults with intracerebral haemorrhage from acute stroke units at 124 hospital sites in 12 countries. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive 1 g intravenous tranexamic acid bolus followed by an 8 h infusion of 1 g tranexamic acid or a matching placebo, within 8 h of symptom onset. Randomisation was done centrally in real time via a secure website, with stratification by country and minimisation on key prognostic factors. Treatment allocation was concealed from patients, outcome assessors, and all other health-care workers involved in the trial. The primary outcome was functional status at day 90, measured by shift in the modified Rankin Scale, using ordinal logistic regression with adjustment for stratification and minimisation criteria. All analyses were done on an intention-to-treat basis. This trial is registered with the ISRCTN registry, number ISRCTN93732214.
FINDINGS: We recruited 2325 participants between March 1, 2013, and Sept 30, 2017. 1161 patients received tranexamic acid and 1164 received placebo; the treatment groups were well balanced at baseline. The primary outcome was assessed for 2307 (99%) participants. The primary outcome, functional status at day 90, did not differ significantly between the groups (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0·88, 95% CI 0·76-1·03, p=0·11). Although there were fewer deaths by day 7 in the tranexamic acid group (101 [9%] deaths in the tranexamic acid group vs 123 [11%] deaths in the placebo group; aOR 0·73, 0·53-0·99, p=0·0406), there was no difference in case fatality at 90 days (250 [22%] vs 249 [21%]; adjusted hazard ratio 0·92, 95% CI 0·77-1·10, p=0·37). Fewer patients had serious adverse events after tranexamic acid than after placebo by days 2 (379 [33%] patients vs 417 [36%] patients), 7 (456 [39%] vs 497 [43%]), and 90 (521 [45%] vs 556 [48%]).
INTERPRETATION: Functional status 90 days after intracerebral haemorrhage did not differ significantly between patients who received tranexamic acid and those who received placebo, despite a reduction in early deaths and serious adverse events. Larger randomised trials are needed to confirm or refute a clinically significant treatment effect.
FUNDING: National Institute of Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme and Swiss Heart Foundation.