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What Is the Difference Between Tranexamic Acid and Mefenamic Acid?

Tranexamic acid and mefenamic acid are sometimes prescribed together in order to alleviate symptoms associated with heavy or painful periods.
Mefenamic acid is commonly used to treat menstrual pain.
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  • Written By: Erik J.J. Goserud
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2014
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Although tranexamic acid and mefenamic acid may sound similar to the untrained ear, there are actually a number of distinct differences between these two chemicals. Both may be of acidic nature; however, their similarity is limited to this characteristic. They are also used differently, to treat excessive bleeding and pain, respectively.

Tranexamic acid is chemically termed cyclohexanecarboxylic acid and is composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. Pharmaceutically, this chemical is used as a blood clotting mechanism to treat excessive bleeding. The way in which tranexamic acid acts is through the inhibition of a molecule responsible for breaking down fibrin. By preventing the breakdown of fibrin, more of the moledule is present to aid in the clotting of blood.

Mefenamic acid acts as a NSAID, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, in the treatment of pain and swelling. It's most often used to treat menstrual pain. The chemical name for mefenamic acid is dimethylphenyl aminobenzoic acid. Those who take this substance regularly for mentrual issues generally start their course a day or two prior to menstruation and remain on the medication through the cyclical process. The exact mechanism in which this acidic chemical benefits pain sufferers is unkown; however, ongoing research is underway in an attempt to explain such interactions.

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Both tranexamic acid and mefenamic acid are composed of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen, but the arrangement and number of atoms of these elements differ in a manner that makes each substance unique. They are sometimes mentioned together, most often under the context of menstruation. These chemicals may be prescribed or used in coalition with one another to ease the sometimes painful and burdening process. Tranexamic acid may slow the bleeding, while mefenamic acid reduces pain. In this way, they may act to lighten the burden of the menstrual cycle.

When taking any new medication, it is important for patients to assess the potential risks and side effects associated with them. This is best done in the presence of a medical professional who is knowledgeable and educated on the subject. Common side effects may be as minor as an upset stomach or as severe as permanent blood clotting problems. For this reason, the decision to take either medication should be one of a deliberate nature.

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