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Should we be Worried About HRT Shortages in the UK?

For the last couple of years drug shortages have become an issue in the UK and worldwide.

FemSeven Products

Now, with Brexit approaching this phantom is becoming even more a reality. Even HRT the Hormone Replacement Therapy mostly used to help women to cope with menopausal symptoms, are becoming an issue. There is more than one type of HRT that is not available right now. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has maintained that a medicine shortage is caused by a variety of factors, such as manufacturing problems, increasing global demand, exchange rate and of course, Brexit. Since we know that HRT is fundamental for many menopausal women, we have found a list from the department of Health and Social Care of HRT products already out of stock. These are:

Theramex, the supplier of FemSeven Conti and Sequi patches are experiencing a long term supply issue affecting both products and expect to be out of stock until late 2019.

This supply issue does not affect supplies of FemSeven Mono. Supplies of other HRT patches and products continue to remain available.

Elleste Range

Mylan, the sole manufacturer of the Elleste HRT product line has reported that some of the Elleste range (Elleste Solo 1mg, 2mg; Elleste Duet Conti; Elleste Duet 1mg) are currently unavailable due to manufacturing issues. The resupply date for Ellesterange is expected to be the end of April 2019.

Those two are definitely not available but they will become available again soon. Many people suggest stockpiling drugs for the future. For HRT (and many other drugs) it is usually not possible to get a prescription from the GP for more than a month, so some women are starting to go private. Women worrying about shortages said they are aiming to have more or less 7/10 months supply taking into account that HRT doses may vary over time.

One of the biggest concerns is that if shortages happen more frequently, even the replacement of your current HRT from another brand may not be the best a solution; many women claim to have had different/more side effects when changing their brand of HRT treatment. Of course, it is understandable that women would like to continue using the same drug: many women going through the menopause choose HRT treatments because they have had terrible symptoms at the beginning of their menopause, therefore they need HRT and they need a continuum with their therapy.

The same issue happened last year in Australia, and women weren’t really happy. They felt that the government didn’t respond proactively on this issue just because it was a female issue. Many of them had problems in finding a suitable candidate for a replacement of their personal therapy.

Overall, drug shortages are a very big issue that we hope that the government will treat very seriously. In the meantime, it seems that stockpiling is the best option.

Author Ornella Cappellari

3 Comments

  1. HRT fem conti patches very bad to get hold off I went to 3 chemists the other day. I was panicked, i can’t live without my patches. I am currently waiting for a hysterectomy but it has been a long wait and I am on induced menopause injections so it is a most I have the HRT patches , hope they don’t run out 😰

  2. No Elleste Duet 2mg in my local pharmacies or the national chains like Boots for the past few weeks. I get mine 6months at a time and didn’t realise until I went to get a repeat prescription that they were out of stock everywhere. I’ve got less than a month’s supply left and my pharmacist has it on automatic request to their suppliers several times a day, but nothing yet. Really hoping it comes through in the next couple of weeks or I’ll be looking at changing medications and that’s never straightforward, is it. And a friend had to change to different patches, which don’t work as well for her as the ones she was on, which has messed her about big time.

  3. Having the same issue here, no Elleste solo anywhere, ( been on it for 5 years due to total hysterectomy at 39) been put on Zumenon but after just 4 days am struggling big time with debilitating headaches, feeling dizzy, stomach cramping and nausea.
    This seems so unfair, I work full time with a young family and have spent the last 2 days in bed. I cannot bear the thought of having to have these side effects and unable to work or be functioning for my family. It’s May 2019 and there is no idea when the Elleste range will be back.
    I have no idea what to do.
    I do wish the government would take this seriously, its peoples quality of life at stake. Interestingly none of these consequences where made known to the public when asked to vote for Brexit.

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