Recombinant von Willebrand factor and tranexamic acid for heavy menstrual bleeding in patients with mild and moderate von Willebrand disease in the USA (VWDMin): a phase 3, open-label, randomised, crossover trial

Lancet Haematol. 2023 Aug;10(8):e612-e623. doi: 10.1016/S2352-3026(23)00119-9. Epub 2023 Jun 26.


Background: Heavy menstrual bleeding occurs in 80% of women with von Willebrand disease and is associated with iron deficiency and poor response to current therapies. International guidelines indicate low certainty regarding effectiveness of hormonal therapy and tranexamic acid. Although von Willebrand factor (VWF) concentrate is approved for bleeds, no prospective trials guide its use in heavy menstrual bleeding. We aimed to compare recombinant VWF with tranexamic acid for reducing heavy menstrual bleeding in patients with von Willebrand disease.

Methods: VWDMin, a phase 3, open-label, randomised crossover trial, was done in 13 haemophilia treatment centres in the USA. Female patients aged 13-45 years with mild or moderate von Willebrand disease, defined as VWF ristocetin cofactor less than 0·50 IU/mL, and heavy menstrual bleeding, defined as a pictorial blood assessment chart (PBAC) score more than 100 in one of the past two cycles were eligible for enrolment. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to two consecutive cycles each of intravenous recombinant VWF, 40 IU/kg over 5-10 min on day 1, and oral tranexamic acid 1300 mg three times daily on days 1-5, the order determined by randomisation. The primary outcome was a 40-point reduction in PBAC score by day 5 after two cycles of treatment. Efficacy and safety were analysed in all patients with any post-baseline PBAC scores. The trial was stopped early due to slow recruitment on Feb 15, 2022, by a data safety monitoring board request, and was registered at, NCT02606045.

Findings: Between Feb 12, 2019, and Nov 16, 2021, 39 patients were enrolled, 36 of whom completed the trial (17 received recombinant VWF then tranexamic acid and 19 received tranexamic acid then recombinant VWF). At the time of this unplanned interim analysis (data cutoff Jan 27, 2022), median follow-up was 23·97 weeks (IQR 21·81-28·14). The primary endpoint was not met, neither treatment corrected PBAC score to the normal range. Median PBAC score was significantly lower after two cycles with tranexamic acid than with recombinant VWF (146 [95% CI 117-199] vs 213 [152-298]; adjusted mean treatment difference 46 [95% CI 2-90]; p=0·039). There were no serious adverse events or treatment-related deaths and no grade 3-4 adverse events. The most common grade 1-2 adverse events were mucosal bleeding (four [6%] patients during tranexamic acid treatment vs zero during recombinant VWF treatment) and other bleeding (four [6%] vs two [3%]).

Interpretation: These interim data suggest that recombinant VWF is not superior to tranexamic acid in reducing heavy menstrual bleeding in patients with mild or moderate von Willebrand disease. These findings support discussion of treatment options for heavy menstrual bleeding with patients based on their preferences and lived experience.

Funding: National Heart Lung Blood Institute (National Institutes of Health).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Humans
  • Menorrhagia* / chemically induced
  • Menorrhagia* / complications
  • Menorrhagia* / drug therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Tranexamic Acid* / adverse effects
  • Tranexamic Acid* / therapeutic use
  • Young Adult
  • von Willebrand Diseases* / complications
  • von Willebrand Diseases* / drug therapy
  • von Willebrand Factor / therapeutic use


  • Tranexamic Acid
  • von Willebrand Factor

Associated data