Drug Information

Antifibrinolytic Agents for Von Willebrand's Disease

Antifibrinolytic Agents for Von Willebrand’s Disease


Generic Name Brand Name
tranexamic acid Cyklokapron

Antifibrinolytic agents can be taken in pill or liquid form, or they can be given as an injection into the vein (intravenously).

How It Works

Von Willebrand’s disease  is a bleeding disorder in which the blood does not clot properly. Antifibrinolytic agents help prevent blood clots from breaking down in certain areas of the body. These medicines specifically target the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, stomach, intestines, and urinary tract.

Why It Is Used

Doctors usually use antifibrinolytic agents to treat nosebleeds and to prevent bleeding in the mouth during dental surgery. They may also use these medicines in combination with desmopressin and plasma replacement therapies during minor and major surgery.

How Well It Works

Antifibrinolytic agents can help prevent or control mild bleeding in the mouth or nose. 1

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don’t feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

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Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor right away if you suddenly have symptoms of a blood clot, such as:

  • Severe headache.
  • Pain in the chest, groin, or calves.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Vision changes.
  • Feeling weak or numb in your arms or legs.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Hives.

Side effects of this medicine are not common but may include:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
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See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don’t take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.

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Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It’s also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.



  1. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (2007). The Diagnosis, Evaluation, and Management of von Willebrand Disease (NIH Publication No. 08–5832). Available online: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/vwd.

Last Revised: January 23, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine & Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC – Hematology