Aminocaproic Acid (Oral)

Aminocaproic acid is an antifibrinolytic agent used to control serious bleeding, especially when the bleeding occurs after undergoing surgery.

Overview

Aminocaproic acid is used to prevent the bleeding that happens when blood clots get broken down too quickly. This kind of bleeding occurs during or after liver or heart surgery, or in patients with a bleeding disorder. It may also happen to people with prostate cancer (males), or cancer of the stomach, lungs or cervix, as well as in pregnant women who have had a placental abruption (separation of placenta from uterus before the baby is ready for birth).

Aminocaproic acid belongs to a class of drugs known as hemostatics. It works by slowing down the breakdown of blood clots, and thereby controlling bleeding that sometimes happens to patients undergoing certain types of surgery or suffering certain types of cancer. The medication is not recommended for treating bleeding that is not caused by the abnormally fast breakdown of blood clots, so before starting treatment, your physician may order tests to establish the cause of your bleeding. Your doctor may also prescribe this medication before an operation if you have a medical condition that increases the chances of serious bleeding. This drug is available only with a doctor's prescription.

Conditions treated

  • Fibrinolytic bleeding

Type of medicine

  • Hemostatic

Side effects

Besides bringing about the desired effects, aminocaproic acid may cause certain side effects. Remember that your doctor will prescribe this medication after they have determined that the benefits of using it will more than make up for risks of the side effects. Many people who use aminocaproic acid do not experience serious side effects. Stop taking the medication and get medical attention immediately if you experience any of these side effects:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bleeding gums
  • Chills
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Blurred vision
  • Cough or hoarseness
  • Blood in or stool or urine
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Decreased urination frequency and amount of urine
  • Labored breathing
  • Chest pain/discomfort
  • Skewed ability to distinguish colors, especially yellow or blue
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Lightheadedness/dizziness
  • Difficulty with moving when getting up suddenly from a sitting or lying position
  • Fainting
  • Double vision
  • Itching of the skin
  • Fast heartbeat
  • General feeling of discomfort or illness
  • Fever
  • Feeling generally tired or weak
  • Headache
  • Difficulty moving facial muscles, arms or legs
  • Inability to speak
  • Hives
  • Lower back or side pain
  • Problems with bleeding or clotting
  • Increased thirst
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aching/cramping
  • Muscle spasms or cramps
  • Stiff or painful muscles
  • Muscle tenderness or weakness
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands, face or toes
  • Pain in the legs, especially the heels or calves
  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Slow speech
  • Pale, bluish-colored, or cold hands or feet
  • Pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • Swollen eyelids face, tongue or lips
  • Rash
  • Slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Sore throat
  • Ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • Trouble breathing
  • Swelling of the fingers
  • Swelling of the lower legs
  • Swollen glands
  • Swollen joints
  • Weight gain
  • Wheezing
  • Skin discoloration
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Unusual weakness or tiredness
  • Weak pulses in the legs

In addition to the side effects above, you should seek emergency medical help for very severe side effects, such as a seizure. A strong allergic reaction to this medication is rare. However, get medical help as soon as possible if any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction occur: swelling and itching of the face, tongue or throat, a rash, extreme dizziness or trouble breathing.

Some of the side effects of aminocaproic acid may not require medical attention. These side effects may vanish as your body adjusts to the drug. Your doctor may offer some guidance on how to reduce the chances of experiencing these side effects. Check with your healthcare professional if the side effects below are bothersome or if they persist:

Incidence not known:

  • Abdominal/stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of hearing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Poor vision
  • Ejaculation without semen
  • Confusion
  • Continuing ringing or buzzing in the ears
  • Mood or mental changes
  • Hallucinations
  • Developing delusional thoughts or beliefs
  • Unusual nervousness, excitement or restlessness

Some patients may also experience other side effects not listed here. Be sure to check with your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any other side effects.

Dosage

The amount of medication needed will depend on the strength of the medicine. Additionally, the number of doses to take each day, the intervals allowed between doses, and the duration of treatment with this medication all depend on the medical condition you are using the medicine for.

Aminocaproic acid is available in both tablet and solution form to take by mouth. It is typically taken once every hour for about eight hours or until the bleeding is under control. When this medication is used as treatment for ongoing bleeding, it is typically taken every three to six hours. For children, the use and dosage of this medication should be determined by the doctor.

When using the solution (liquid) form of aminocaproic acid, be sure to measure the dose carefully using a special measuring device or spoon. Using a regular household spoon may not give you the correct dosage.

Take your medication exactly as your doctor prescribed. It's also important to read the prescription label carefully and follow all the directions given. Do not change the dose by taking either smaller or larger quantities, or by using the medicine beyond the prescribed duration.

Other uses:

Aminocaproic acid may also be used to treat bleeding in an injured eye. Have a talk with your doctor about the risks of using this medicine for your condition.

Missed dose:

If you happen to miss a dose, make sure you take it as soon as you remember. However, you can go back to the regular schedule if it's almost time for the next scheduled dose. Patients are strongly advised against double dosing (possibly in an attempt to make up for a missed dose).

Overdose:

Call your nearest poison control center as soon as an overdose is suspected. The national poison hotline for US residents is 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents should call their provincial poison center.

Drug Interactions

Drug interactions may affect how the medication functions in your body, or increase the risk of serious side effects occurring. Although there are medications that should not be used together, there may be cases where the doctor may prescribe them together even if an interaction is expected. In such cases, the doctor may alter the dosage, or advise certain precautions. Do not start, stop or alter the dosage of any medication without your healthcare professional's approval.

Products known to interact with this medication include:

  • Blood clotting factors (e.g. anti-inhibitor coagulant complex, Factor IX complex)
  • Tretinoin

This is not necessarily an exhaustive list of all the interactions that could occur. Make sure you keep a written list of all the products you use, including prescription and nonprescription drugs, as well as supplements and herbal products. Every time you visit a healthcare professional or are admitted to hospital, bring this list with you. This information may prove to be very important in the event of an emergency.

Also keep in mind that this medication could interfere with certain laboratory tests, possibly causing inaccurate or false test results. Be sure to inform all your healthcare professionals and lab personnel that you are using this drug.

Warnings

Before using aminocaproic acid, let the doctor know if you re allergic to the medication or any other drugs. You should also tell the pharmacist or doctor what other prescription and non-prescription drugs you are using or plan to start using. Don't forget to also mention any nutritional supplements and herbal products you are using or plan to start using.

Before taking this medication, let your doctor or pharmacist know your medical history, especially of: liver disease, heart disease, kidney disease, and any bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia. If you are set to undergo surgery (including dental surgery) let the doctor or dentist know you have a bleeding disorder. If that happens to be the case, aminocaproic acid may be prescribed before your surgery to prevent excessive bleeding.

This medication may make you feel dizzy. When using aminocaproic acid, avoid driving or working on tasks that require alertness. It's also worth noting that alcohol can make aminocaproic acid side effects worse. Talk to your doctor about the safe use of alcohol while taking this medication.

If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant soon, make sure you tell your doctor. Your doctor will then weigh the risks against the benefits of taking the medicine while pregnant, and advise you accordingly. It is not yet known if this medication is passed through breast milk. Nursing mothers should weigh the potential benefits against the risks of using the medication while breastfeeding.

Honor all appointments with your physician and the laboratory. Your doctor will order some lab tests to check how your body responds to aminocaproic acid.

Don't let anyone else use your medication as it is only prescribed to you for your unique needs. Ask the pharmacist any questions you may have about refilling your prescription.

Storage

Aminocaproic acid should be stored at room temperature. Keep the medication tightly sealed in its original container. Do not keep the container in the bathroom, but in a dry place that is safe out of the reach of children and pets. Do not freeze liquid forms of this medication. Consult your pharmacist on how to dispose of unused medicine once your healthcare professional determines that it is no longer needed.

Summary

Aminocaproic acid is prescribed in instances where there's heavy bleeding, usually after surgery or due to certain cancer. As a hemostatic, it works to control bleeding by slowing down the breakdown of blood clots. Based on how the drug works it is not recommended for treating bleeding that has not been caused by an abnormally fast breakdown of blood clots. Before starting treatment, therefore, your physician may order tests to establish the cause of your bleeding.

This medication may cause some side effects, some of which are non-threatening and should be no cause for alarm (abdominal discomfort, mood changes, nervousness etc.). These side effects should go away soon as your body adjusts to the new medication. However, get emergency medical help for serious side effects, including difficulty breathing, chest pain, fever, dizziness and fainting, skin rash, muscle pain, etc.

As with other medications, there are certain precautions to follow when taking aminocaproic acid. First, make sure you keep a list of all drugs you are currently taking, including prescription and non-prescription drugs, as well as vitamin and herbal supplements. Show this list to your healthcare professional at every visit, or when you're admitted to a hospital. This information is important to them when prescribing your medication, as they will be watching out for drug interactions. Remember to keep all your doctor and lab test appointments so your doctor can continually monitor how this medication is working.

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Last Reviewed:
December 10, 2017
Last Updated:
April 04, 2018