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What is Trasylol®?

By Debra Durkee
Updated May 17, 2024
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Trasylol® is a medication known as a broad spectrum protease inhibitor and is administered to an individual undergoing heart surgery. It was developed to help control bleeding during the procedure. The goal of the drug is to eliminate or lessen the need for the patient to need a blood transfusion after the completion of the surgery.

A clear liquid, Trasylol® is administered via an injection directly into the vein. Its use is only preventative, and it is designed to help slow blood loss before, after and during surgery. There are several different dosing amounts, depending on the individual and the procedure that is being done. In a typical procedure, there is a small, initial dose that is given before the larger main dose. This typically helps the attending medical personnel assess the patient's reaction to the drug and ensure there is minimal risk for an allergic reaction before administering the full dose.

The medication is generally given to those undergoing a procedure that includes a cardiopulmonary bypass. In this type of surgery, the individual's heart and lung function is temporarily replaced by a machine through which their blood circulates while the procedure is being performed. This is often done in open heart surgery, and those undergoing a procedure for artery bypass grafts can be in particular danger of losing a large amount of blood in the process.

For some patients, there may be an increased risk of suffering severe side effects from use of the medication. There have been instances wherein those treated with Trasylol® suffered from severe renal dysfunction and kidney problems that required dialysis after the surgery. In some cases, the reactions have been so severe that it resulted in the death of the patient, causing governmental regulating organizations around the world to take another, closer look at Trasylol® to determine if its benefits outweighed the risks.

Those prescribed Trasylol® are typically already high-risk patients, and the higher the risk, the higher the instance of side effects. Other side effects that have plagued the track record of Trasylol® include multi-system organ failure, stroke, heart failure, convulsions, hyperglycemia and arterial thrombosis. Pre-existing medical conditions and allergies can make the reaction to the drug worse. Some have had allergic reactions to the drug severe enough to be deemed life-threatening. Although there is usually a small dose administered first, some individuals have had these severe reactions to even this minimal dosage.

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