Because spontaneous (non-traumatic) intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) volume influences its outcome and a third of ICHs enlarge by a third within 24 hours of onset, early haemostatic drug therapy might improve outcome. This is an update of a Cochrane review first published in 2006.
To examine the clinical effectiveness and safety of haemostatic drug therapies for acute ICH in a randomised controlled trial (RCT) design.
I searched the Cochrane Stroke Group Trials Register ( last searched 26 June 2009), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials ( CENTRAL) ( The Cochrane Library Issue 2, 2009), MEDLINE ( 1966 to June 2009) and EMBASE ( 1980 to June 2009). In an effort to identify further published, ongoing and unpublished studies I scanned bibliographies of relevant articles, searched international registers of clinical trials and research, and contacted authors and pharmaceutical companies.
I sought RCTs of any haemostatic drug therapy for acute ICH, compared against placebo or open control, with relevant clinical outcome measures.
Data collection and analysis
Two authors independently applied the inclusion criteria, reviewed the relevant studies, and extracted data.
I found five phase II RCTs and one phase III RCT, involving 1398 adults aged 18 years or over, within four hours of ICH onset: 423 participants received placebo and 975 participants received haemostatic drugs ( two received epsilon-aminocaproic acid ( EACA) and 973 received recombinant activated factor VII ( rFVIIa)). Haemostatic drugs did not significantly reduce 90-day case fatality after ICH ( risk ratio (RR) 0.85, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.58 to 1.25), and rFVIIa did not significantly reduce death or dependence on the modified Rankin Scale ( grades 4 to 6) within 90 days of ICH (RR 0.91, 95% CI 0.72 to 1.15). There was a trend towards more participants on rFVIIa experiencing thromboembolic serious adverse events (RR 1.37, 95% CI 0.74 to 2.55)
Haemostatic drugs cannot be recommended for the treatment of acute spontaneous ICH in clinical practice, but a large RCT would be justified.