Difference Between Aminocaproic Acid And Tranexamic Acid

Antifibrinolytic agents play a crucial role in managing bleeding disorders by preventing the breakdown of fibrin clots. Among these agents, Aminocaproic Acid and Tranexamic Acid are widely used in medical practice. Understanding their differences is essential for healthcare professionals to make informed decisions about patient care.

Aminocaproic Acid and Tranexamic Acid both work by inhibiting the process of fibrinolysis, but they do so in slightly different ways. Aminocaproic Acid primarily acts by blocking plasminogen activation, while Tranexamic Acid binds to plasminogen and plasmin more effectively, preventing the dissolution of fibrin clots. These differences impact their efficacy and usage in various clinical scenarios.

Aminocaproic Acid is often used in situations like cardiac surgery and trauma, where controlling bleeding is critical. Tranexamic Acid is frequently utilized in treating menorrhagia, hemophilia, and during major surgeries. Each drug has its own set of benefits, side effects, and considerations, making it vital for healthcare providers to choose the appropriate agent based on the specific medical condition and patient needs.

What is Aminocaproic Acid?

Aminocaproic Acid is an antifibrinolytic agent that helps control bleeding by preventing the breakdown of fibrin clots. It is commonly used in various medical procedures to reduce excessive blood loss. Its primary function is to inhibit the process of fibrinolysis, which is the breakdown of blood clots.

Chemical Composition

Aminocaproic Acid is a synthetic derivative of the amino acid lysine. Its chemical formula is C6H13NO2, and it has a molecular weight of 131.18 g/mol. The structure includes a six-carbon chain with an amino group at one end and a carboxyl group at the other, similar to the structure of lysine but with an additional carboxylic acid group.

Mechanism of Action

The primary action of Aminocaproic Acid involves blocking the conversion of plasminogen to plasmin. Plasmin is an enzyme responsible for degrading fibrin clots. By inhibiting this conversion, Aminocaproic Acid helps maintain the integrity of clots, thereby reducing bleeding.

Uses in Medical Practice

Aminocaproic Acid is used in various clinical scenarios to control bleeding. Some of the common uses include:

  • Cardiac Surgery: Reducing blood loss during and after surgery.
  • Orthopedic Surgery: Controlling bleeding during joint replacement and other procedures.
  • Trauma Management: Managing excessive bleeding in trauma patients.
  • Hemophilia Treatment: Used as an adjunct to control bleeding episodes.
  • Dental Procedures: Preventing bleeding in patients with bleeding disorders undergoing dental work.

Common Brand Names

Aminocaproic Acid is marketed under several brand names, including:

  • Amicar
  • Caprogel
  • Aminocaproin
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What is Tranexamic Acid?

Tranexamic Acid is another antifibrinolytic agent that is widely used to control bleeding. It is effective in preventing and treating excessive blood loss in various medical conditions and procedures.

Chemical Composition

Tranexamic Acid is a synthetic derivative of the amino acid lysine, similar to Aminocaproic Acid. Its chemical formula is C8H15NO2, and it has a molecular weight of 157.21 g/mol. Tranexamic Acid has a cyclic structure with an amino group and a carboxyl group, which enhances its binding affinity to plasminogen.

Mechanism of Action

Tranexamic Acid works by binding to the lysine-binding sites on plasminogen and plasmin, preventing the interaction of plasmin with fibrin. This inhibition stabilizes the fibrin clot and reduces bleeding. Tranexamic Acid is known for its strong and long-lasting antifibrinolytic effects.

Uses in Medical Practice

Tranexamic Acid is used in a variety of medical situations to control bleeding, such as:

  • Menorrhagia: Reducing heavy menstrual bleeding.
  • Surgical Procedures: Preventing blood loss during and after surgery, including cardiac and orthopedic surgeries.
  • Trauma Management: Treating bleeding in trauma patients.
  • Hemophilia Treatment: Managing bleeding episodes in hemophiliacs.
  • Dental Procedures: Reducing bleeding in dental surgeries for patients with bleeding disorders.

Common Brand Names

Tranexamic Acid is available under several brand names, including:

  • Cyklokapron
  • Lysteda
  • Transamin

Mechanisms of Action

Inhibition of Fibrinolysis

Both Aminocaproic Acid and Tranexamic Acid inhibit fibrinolysis, which is the breakdown of fibrin clots. This action helps maintain clot stability and reduces bleeding.

Differences in Binding Sites

The key difference between Aminocaproic Acid and Tranexamic Acid lies in their binding affinities. Aminocaproic Acid binds to plasminogen, preventing its activation. Tranexamic Acid, on the other hand, has a higher affinity for the lysine-binding sites on both plasminogen and plasmin, making it more effective in blocking fibrin degradation.

Comparative Effectiveness

Tranexamic Acid is generally considered more potent and effective compared to Aminocaproic Acid due to its stronger binding affinity. This makes Tranexamic Acid the preferred choice in many clinical situations where robust antifibrinolytic action is required. However, the choice between these agents can depend on the specific medical condition, patient factors, and clinical judgment.

Medical Applications

Surgical Procedures

Cardiac Surgery

In cardiac surgery, controlling bleeding is critical. Both Aminocaproic Acid and Tranexamic Acid are used to reduce blood loss during and after the procedure. Tranexamic Acid is often preferred due to its higher potency, but Aminocaproic Acid is also effective and may be used based on specific patient needs or surgeon preference.

Orthopedic Surgery

Orthopedic surgeries, such as joint replacements, involve significant bleeding. Both agents help reduce blood loss and improve recovery outcomes. Tranexamic Acid is frequently used because of its strong antifibrinolytic effects, but Aminocaproic Acid remains a viable option.

Trauma Management

In trauma settings, rapid and effective control of bleeding is essential. Tranexamic Acid is commonly used to manage trauma-induced hemorrhage due to its potent action. It helps reduce mortality and improves patient outcomes in traumatic injuries.


Tranexamic Acid is particularly effective in treating menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding). It helps reduce blood loss and improves the quality of life for women suffering from this condition. Aminocaproic Acid is less commonly used but can be an alternative if Tranexamic Acid is not suitable.

Hemophilia Treatment

For patients with hemophilia, managing bleeding episodes is crucial. Both Aminocaproic Acid and Tranexamic Acid are used as adjunctive therapies to control bleeding. Tranexamic Acid’s higher efficacy often makes it the preferred choice, but Aminocaproic Acid is also effective in specific cases.

Other Specific Conditions

Both antifibrinolytic agents are used in various other conditions where controlling bleeding is necessary. This includes dental procedures for patients with bleeding disorders, certain gynecological surgeries, and during childbirth to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. The choice between Aminocaproic Acid and Tranexamic Acid depends on the specific clinical scenario and patient factors.

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Dosage and Administration

Aminocaproic Acid Dosage Forms

Aminocaproic Acid is available in several forms to suit different medical needs:

  • Oral tablets: Typically available in 500 mg and 1000 mg strengths.
  • Oral solution: Usually comes in concentrations like 250 mg/mL.
  • Injectable solution: Often provided in 250 mg/mL concentrations for intravenous use.

Tranexamic Acid Dosage Forms

Tranexamic Acid is also available in various forms to accommodate different treatment scenarios:

  • Oral tablets: Commonly found in 500 mg and 650 mg strengths.
  • Oral solution: Available in concentrations such as 100 mg/mL.
  • Injectable solution: Provided in 100 mg/mL concentrations for intravenous use.
  • Topical solution: Used for localized bleeding control, often found in 5% concentrations.

Administration Guidelines for Different Conditions

Aminocaproic Acid:

  • Cardiac Surgery: Administered intravenously with a typical initial dose of 4-5 grams, followed by a continuous infusion of 1 gram per hour during surgery.
  • Orthopedic Surgery: Administered similarly to cardiac surgery, often adjusted based on patient weight and bleeding risk.
  • Trauma Management: Initial intravenous dose of 4-5 grams, followed by maintenance doses based on clinical response.
  • Hemophilia Treatment: Oral doses of 50-60 mg/kg every 4-6 hours, adjusted for patient age and severity of bleeding.

Tranexamic Acid:

  • Menorrhagia: Oral dose of 1 gram (1000 mg) three times a day during menstruation, not exceeding 4 grams per day.
  • Surgical Procedures: Intravenous dose of 10-15 mg/kg before surgery, followed by maintenance doses as needed.
  • Trauma Management: Initial intravenous dose of 1 gram, followed by another gram after 8 hours.
  • Hemophilia Treatment: Oral doses of 25 mg/kg every 8-12 hours, tailored to individual needs.

Safety Considerations

When administering Aminocaproic Acid and Tranexamic Acid, consider:

  • Renal function: Adjust doses for patients with impaired kidney function.
  • Bleeding risk: Monitor closely for signs of thrombosis or excessive bleeding.
  • Concurrent medications: Be aware of potential drug interactions that may affect efficacy and safety.

Side Effects and Risks

Common Side Effects of Aminocaproic Acid

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Hypotension
  • Skin rash

Common Side Effects of Tranexamic Acid

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Nasal congestion
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain

Serious Risks and Contraindications

Aminocaproic Acid:

  • Thrombosis: Increased risk of blood clots, especially in patients with a history of thromboembolic events.
  • Renal impairment: Requires dose adjustment and careful monitoring.
  • Allergic reactions: Rare but possible; monitor for signs of hypersensitivity.

Tranexamic Acid:

  • Thromboembolism: High risk in patients with a history of blood clots.
  • Vision changes: Rare cases of visual disturbances, including color vision changes.
  • Severe allergic reactions: Monitor for anaphylaxis or severe allergic responses.

Managing Side Effects

To manage side effects:

  • Monitor closely: Regularly check for signs of adverse reactions.
  • Adjust doses: Tailor the dosage based on patient response and side effect severity.
  • Provide supportive care: Address symptoms like nausea with antiemetics and ensure adequate hydration for patients experiencing diarrhea or vomiting.

Efficacy in Clinical Trials

Overview of Key Clinical Trials

Several key clinical trials have evaluated the efficacy of Aminocaproic Acid and Tranexamic Acid:

Aminocaproic Acid:

  • Cardiac Surgery: Trials have shown significant reduction in blood loss and transfusion requirements.
  • Trauma Management: Demonstrated effective control of bleeding and improved survival rates.

Tranexamic Acid:

  • Menorrhagia: Proven to significantly reduce menstrual blood loss and improve quality of life.
  • Trauma Management: The CRASH-2 trial highlighted its efficacy in reducing mortality in trauma patients.
  • Surgical Procedures: Multiple studies confirmed its role in reducing perioperative blood loss.

Comparative Results

  • Efficacy: Tranexamic Acid is generally more effective than Aminocaproic Acid in preventing fibrinolysis due to its stronger binding affinity.
  • Safety: Both drugs have similar safety profiles, though Tranexamic Acid may carry a higher risk of thromboembolic events in susceptible patients.
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Real-World Effectiveness

In real-world settings, both drugs have proven effective in controlling bleeding across various clinical scenarios. Tranexamic Acid’s robust antifibrinolytic action makes it a preferred choice in many situations, but Aminocaproic Acid remains a valuable option, particularly in patients with specific contraindications to Tranexamic Acid.

Cost and Availability

Price Comparison

The cost of Aminocaproic Acid and Tranexamic Acid can vary significantly:

  • Aminocaproic Acid: Generally less expensive, especially in oral forms.
  • Tranexamic Acid: Typically higher in cost, particularly for injectable forms.

Availability in Different Regions

  • North America: Both drugs are widely available and commonly used in clinical practice.
  • Europe: Similar availability, with Tranexamic Acid often favored for its higher efficacy.
  • Asia: Both drugs are accessible, though availability may vary by country.

Insurance Coverage and Affordability

Most insurance plans cover both Aminocaproic Acid and Tranexamic Acid, especially when prescribed for approved medical conditions. The affordability can depend on the specific insurance plan, with generic versions often being more cost-effective.

Patient Considerations

Patient Demographics

  • Adults: Most commonly used in adult patients undergoing surgery or experiencing heavy bleeding.
  • Children: Both drugs are used in pediatric populations, with doses adjusted based on weight and age.
  • Elderly: Special consideration is given to renal function and potential drug interactions in older adults.

Special Populations (Pediatrics, Geriatrics)


  • Dose adjustments are critical to avoid overmedication.
  • Monitor for side effects like nausea and diarrhea.


  • Assess renal function before dosing.
  • Consider comorbidities and concurrent medications.

Patient Adherence and Preferences

Patient adherence is crucial for effective treatment:

  • Convenience: Oral forms are generally preferred for ease of use.
  • Side effects: Managing side effects can improve adherence.
  • Education: Inform patients about the importance of taking the medication as prescribed and monitoring for side effects.

Drug Interactions

Known Drug Interactions

  • Aminocaproic Acid: Can interact with drugs like oral contraceptives, increasing the risk of thromboembolic events.
  • Tranexamic Acid: May interact with anticoagulants and hormonal therapies, also elevating the risk of blood clots.

Impact on Treatment Outcomes

Drug interactions can significantly impact the efficacy and safety of treatment:

  • Increased bleeding risk: When combined with anticoagulants, the risk of bleeding may rise.
  • Thrombosis: Combining with drugs that enhance clotting can increase thrombotic events.

Recommendations for Healthcare Providers

  • Monitor closely: Regularly check patient responses and adjust doses accordingly.
  • Educate patients: Ensure patients are aware of potential interactions and signs of adverse effects.
  • Collaborate: Work with other healthcare providers to manage and coordinate care, especially in patients on multiple medications.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main uses of Aminocaproic Acid?

Aminocaproic Acid is primarily used to control bleeding in various medical settings. It is often employed during cardiac surgery, trauma management, and to treat bleeding disorders such as hemophilia. Additionally, it can be used in certain dental procedures and to prevent bleeding in patients with excessive blood loss.

What are the main uses of Tranexamic Acid?

Tranexamic Acid is commonly used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia), prevent excessive bleeding during major surgeries, and manage bleeding episodes in patients with hemophilia. It is also effective in reducing blood loss in trauma patients and is sometimes used in dental procedures for patients with bleeding disorders.

How do Aminocaproic Acid and Tranexamic Acid differ in their mechanism of action?

Aminocaproic Acid works by blocking the activation of plasminogen, thereby preventing the conversion to plasmin and subsequent breakdown of fibrin clots. Tranexamic Acid, on the other hand, binds more effectively to plasminogen and plasmin, directly inhibiting the enzymatic breakdown of fibrin clots. This difference makes Tranexamic Acid generally more potent in its antifibrinolytic effects.

What are the common side effects of Aminocaproic Acid?

Common side effects of Aminocaproic Acid include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle weakness. In some cases, it may cause dizziness, hypotension, and skin rash. Serious but rare side effects include thrombosis and renal impairment.

What are the common side effects of Tranexamic Acid?

Tranexamic Acid may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches. It can also lead to more serious effects like vision changes, blood clots, and allergic reactions. Patients with a history of thromboembolic events should use Tranexamic Acid with caution.


Aminocaproic Acid and Tranexamic Acid are both essential antifibrinolytic agents with distinct mechanisms of action and clinical applications. Their ability to control bleeding in various medical scenarios makes them invaluable tools for healthcare providers. Choosing the right agent depends on the specific condition, patient profile, and desired outcomes.

Understanding the differences between these two drugs enables more effective treatment planning and better patient care. By considering factors such as efficacy, side effects, and specific medical needs, healthcare professionals can optimize the use of Aminocaproic Acid and Tranexamic Acid in their practice.

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