Gransnet forums

Menopause

HRT shortage

(46 Posts)
NatashaGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 08-Aug-19 14:35:26

You may have heard about the recent HRT shortage in the UK, and so we've put together a page (linked above) from GP and Menopause Specialist, Dr Louise Newson, on what you can do if you are affected.

We also want to hear about your experiences - have you not been able to access HRT? How has this affected you? Please leave your comments and thoughts on this thread. smile

ninathenana Thu 08-Aug-19 15:31:12

Fortunately I've never needed it.

Esspee Thu 08-Aug-19 16:42:48

I had my implant as usual a few months ago and sincerely hope that there are no problems when I go for my next one in October.

Some years ago there was a shortage and the ladies attending the clinic were so irate that the nursing staff stiĺl tell stories to new staff about the atmosphere in the clinic at that time. Apparently we were quite scary. I went so ballistic that my blood pressure was sky high and I was sent to my GP to be monitored that day.
I shopped around and found another clinic which had supplies still in date and when I wrote telling my consultant where they could be obtained I was told to come in and received my implant just one week late.

You don't deprive a lady of her HRT and expect her to accept this when her oestrogen levels are rock bottom!

Fennel Thu 08-Aug-19 17:16:36

Are there specific shortages? Hope it's not Vagifem (estradiol).
Has any explanation been given?
When we were in France there was a shortage of a cream version of estradiol for a long time. They don't have Vagifem there. But if you tried other pharmacies you could usually get an alternative.
I asked why the shortage? Some company had gone out of business? Lack of basic ingredients?

blondenana Thu 08-Aug-19 20:21:42

Most patches are difficult to obtain, i was at my Drs on monday as i had just decided to stop the Evoral Conti, regarding my hair falling out, and asked him about the shortages,he said most are out of stock, but all tablets are available
Femseven Conti was the first out of stock apparently until next year, my daughter was on them and liked them, also i think Elleste Duet are not making any more. so when those became unavailable Evoral Conti was given instead as they were not that popular, but now they are out of stock in most places,
I read it was something to do with cost, on one report.and nothing to do with Brexit

Dyffryn Thu 08-Aug-19 20:46:01

I haven’t been able to get my Estelle for months, the GP and the Pharmacist independent of each other said Brexit was to blame.

Harris27 Thu 08-Aug-19 20:51:19

It's not just HRT that's unavailable the bp tablet intake has not been available for the last two months I've been on this for years and had no problem on it now I will,have to change it. What. Nightmare!

luluaugust Thu 08-Aug-19 20:54:52

I've had great difficulty getting my Osteoporosis drug. Pharmacist made huge efforts to get me one tablet, something going on!

Hetty58 Thu 08-Aug-19 20:59:25

People tend to blame Brexit for everything. They had the shortage problem last year in Australia and it's a worldwide problem. Some Elleste products are unavailable due to manufacturing issues:https://megsmenopause.com/2019/04/22/should-we-be-worried-about-hrt-shortages-in-the-uk/

SirChenjin Thu 08-Aug-19 21:07:15

I couldn’t get Elleste Duet so was put onto another one which gave me a horrendous period. Th pharmacist has now managed to source a 6 months supply for me but they couldn’t get any more.

Esspee Fri 09-Aug-19 08:47:10

I have just read the article by Dr. NEWTON which only refers to patches and pills. Are there shortages of implants or gel?

Esspee Fri 09-Aug-19 08:48:53

Newson - my auto correct changed the spelling.

Liz46 Fri 09-Aug-19 09:07:33

I've been on patches for almost 30 years, starting on a high dose reducing to the lowest. I've not had a problem getting them.

cookiemonster66 Fri 09-Aug-19 10:48:22

I started on HRT at age 25 after an emergency hysterectomy. I am 53 now and stopped taking them age 50, so I was on them for 25 yrs. Reason I stopped is because every 3 months I had a battle with my GP who would scaremonger me, all the risks, do I really need them , guilt trip me, in the end I did not have the energy to keep fighting for them, when I ran out I just went cold turkey. Since stopping I have suffered a significant increase in pain in my bones/joints, I am convinced it is due to stopping HRT. I have just moved and I am psyching myself up to ask my new Dr to go back on them especially after watching a BBC1 documentary called 'the truth about HRT'

Nana3 Fri 09-Aug-19 11:46:36

cookiemonster66
There was interesting discussion on Woman's Hour this morning about the menopause, about the article in the newspapers that it can be delayed but also including the benefits of HRT, mostly saying how under prescribed it is in this country. I have not taken it so this is just in case you want to listen to the programme.
Good luck with your new GP.

Liz46 Fri 09-Aug-19 12:13:01

My HRT was stopped by my female GP once and I had such dreadful hot flushes that I asked for an appointment. It was with a young male GP (would not have been my first choice). He was marvellous and told me I was old enough to make my own decision.

Jillybird Fri 09-Aug-19 12:45:23

I'm desperate to know if anyone would recommend I go back on HRT? I started it in early fifties (can't remember exactly - too long ago) and stopped three years ago - I'm now 71. My new GP said I had to come off it due to my age and the length of time I'd been on it. Since then I've suffered and am still suffering, massive hot sweats at all times, night and day, completely NO interest in sex whatsoever and terrible joint problems; hips and knees in particular, but also wrists. Some days I can barely haul myself up the stairs, although only a few pounds overweight. I often think I'd rather die young in comfort than have all this pain and misery. Anyone have an opinion?

SirChenjin Fri 09-Aug-19 13:54:43

Crikey Jilly - that sounds awful sad

I watched GPs Behind Closed Doors once and a lady who was well into her 70s was featured. She'd been taken off her repeat prescription for HRT and was furious - she came to the GP to ask why, and the GP said that it was just because (like you) she'd been on it for a while and there were increased risks that they needed to explain to her. They had a reasoned discussion and the GP said that as long as she understood the risks and if she felt that the benefits HRT brought her outweighed the risks, then there was nothing stopping her resuming her prescription.

It would be worthwhile going back to a different GP - ask for one who specialises or has an interest in the menopause. You shouldn't have to live with those symptoms.

Esspee Fri 09-Aug-19 14:32:01

Jill, if you have no luck with your GP (after taking in the letter in Dr. Newson's article attached to this thread) then I suggest you ask for a referral to a menopause clinic. There they should have doctors who are up to date with the latest findings on HRT.
I've been taking it for 30 years and for me the benefits hugely outweigh the risks so I'm on it for life.

Saetana Fri 09-Aug-19 23:11:23

Medicine shortages of any kind are nothing to do with Brexit. We are still full members of the EU. Shortages from time to time with various drugs are pretty common and the causes are many and varied - remember the Naproxen shortage a few months ago? My husband's Creon enzyme supplements for his pancreatitis become indefinitely unavailable in the 40,000 size due the one and only machine that made the particular size breaking down and being unable to fix it.

Esspee Sat 10-Aug-19 07:34:26

Message deleted by Gransnet. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Anja Sat 10-Aug-19 07:52:27

Esspee don’t make the mistake of thinking GN is some benign counselling or sharing site for old people run by altruistic beings.

It IS a commercial site run for profit.

NfkDumpling Sat 10-Aug-19 08:14:26

The same goes for the books. The authors pay to have their books in the Book Club. Doesn't bother me. It's all extra information and encourages me to investigate further.

But I've stopped doing the research surveys as they never seem to be asking the right questions.

blondenana Sat 10-Aug-19 09:09:22

No good at links so just took photos ,hope they are clear enough.
Second time trying to post

M0nica Sat 10-Aug-19 09:43:55

I never needed/need HRT, but I went to look at the site and if there is a selling point to it, it isn't very obvious.

AS others say, GN is a commercial organisation and any such service as it provides has to be funded (all those helpful staff) and would not exist if it couldn't fund itself.

I won a spa prize years ago, and still visit that spa, it was so good. I am sure the prize provided some benefit for GN as well.

My adblocker has, after a recent software update, turned itself off and I notice that I only have to type a word into GN and a suitable advert turns up in the side bar. I am sure if I click on it that benefits GN as well.

You get owt for nowt.

Framilode Sat 10-Aug-19 09:53:04

Jillybird It might be worthwhile trying again as the advice has been changed and it has taken some GP's time to get up to speed.

I am a couple of years older than you and have been on HRT for 30 years. The previous time I had my prescription renewed the doctor was very reluctant to give it to me. However, this year she seemed to think it was the best thing since sliced bread and told me I could stay on it for the rest of my life.

blondenana Sat 10-Aug-19 16:15:41

Daily mail have a page on the shortage of HRT

Mossfarr Sat 10-Aug-19 16:36:37

cookiemonster66 and jillybird, ,

I have been using HRT (Everol 50 patches) since having a hysterectomy in 2001. In February this year I was advised to stop using the patches in preparation for a minor Op. Following the OP I decided not to restart using HRT as I'm now 60 and have been using it for twenty years.
BIG MISTAKE!!

I have been suffering from depression, headaches, tiredness, painful & aching joints, insomnia, mood swings, hot flushes, night sweats, confusion, indecisiveness - and any other symptoms you can think of.

Two weeks ago 'put myself back on' HRT after not using it since February (I still had an unopened box).
Whoo Hoo I'm human again!! All above symptoms now gone. I just have to persuade my GP to resurrect my repeat prescription - if there is any available LOL.

Go back to your GP and ask for HRT to be reinstated - you don't need to suffer.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 12-Aug-19 10:34:58

NfkDumpling

The same goes for the books. The authors pay to have their books in the Book Club. Doesn't bother me. It's all extra information and encourages me to investigate further.

But I've stopped doing the research surveys as they never seem to be asking the right questions.

Just to say that this is absolutely not the case. We choose the books for book club entirely on the basis that we think that they are ones that our users will enjoy. Publishers kindly provide a number of copies to be won, but that's it. No authors have ever paid to have their books involved.

NatashaGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 12-Aug-19 10:51:39

Just to confirm, the HRT shortage page was written by a GP to give advice to our users on a shortage that has widely been reported on in the media. As this is an issue that affects many of our users, we started the thread so that people could share their own experiences. The thread has no promotional or research purpose. When we do run threads for this reason, we will always specify in the OP.

Auntieflo Mon 12-Aug-19 11:58:41

As I do not use HRT, I haven't been concerned, but, recently my DH began hormone therapy for prostate cancer, and has an injection/ implant, every 12 weeks. I am hoping that it will not affect him.
I believe he will have to continue these for 2 years.

blondenana Tue 13-Aug-19 10:33:16

Auntieflo is it Oestrogen he has, how does it affect him ?

Fennel Tue 13-Aug-19 11:35:27

I got my 2 monthly prescription yesterday and the Vagifem was available.

Auntieflo Tue 13-Aug-19 12:13:16

Blondenana. Do you know, I haven't seen the packaging, so don't know what is in it. Just that since he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he has had these implants, and his PS levels have come right down.
Next time he orders one, I will try and get a look see.

Auntieflo Tue 13-Aug-19 12:14:45

Meant to say that he does get hot flushes every now and again!

DD said, "now you know what mum had to put up with for years" 😊

NfkDumpling Tue 13-Aug-19 16:23:06

Interesting Cari. When a friend’s daughter had her first book published she asked her publisher about getting the book accepted for GN Bookclub (my suggestion I’m afraid) and was told it would cost too much! But it’s doing quite nicely anyway. She’s now onto her third.

blondenana Tue 13-Aug-19 20:23:56

Auntiflo just wondered as i have a relative who has to have hormone injections and was tp;d he would grow manboobs,[Drs words] and lose muscle
Oestrogen injections i think

blondenana Thu 22-Aug-19 00:23:21

Read tonight that someone on mumsnet was told by a private hospital that it was the home office restricting HRT, don't know about other meds, but they have told KIM whover that is not to let much out

NfkDumpling Sun 25-Aug-19 14:27:22

On Radio Four they said it was due to a rise in demand worldwide now that HRT is no longer dangerous and doctors are prescribing it more, and also manufacturing problems. The patches are particularly affected due to the glue - which comes from China!

Volvariella Mon 26-Aug-19 09:40:50

I use Estradot and last week was only given one box instead of the normal 3. The pharmacy said they could only order one box at a time so they are being rationed

B9exchange Mon 26-Aug-19 10:44:00

Ellest Solo seem to be available again. My pharmacist rang me, very excited, and I now have my year's supply.

There have always been drug shortages, as a previous poster mentioned, it was Naproxen earlier this year, and I had to buy them imported from America (genuine, and not very expensive, to my relief!)

Now that HRT no longer carries major risk warnings, demand is bound to rise, but this should have been foreseen. I don't believe it is down to stockpiling, just pure mismanagement.

Volvariella Mon 26-Aug-19 11:41:08

Anyone who is being given a year's supply is contributing to the shortage even if the shortage is not real in some cases. I think we should all stick to the usual 3 months if we can as there are many women suffering through not being able to source any of their particular HRT brand! I am surprised that a year's supply was given?

Poshbec Mon 26-Aug-19 15:16:58

Can anyone tell me if I can just walk into a chemist & buy Evorel Conti HRT patches over the counter in either Spain, Portugal, Turkey or Greece? Am planning a 7 day holiday abroad & as I’m running short of patches I thought I might be able to buy them on holiday, as my surgery is having problems getting them here.
confused

blondenana Tue 27-Aug-19 23:03:09

Poshbec i believe you can, i have seen posts from people on menopause matters have done thios, and very cheap too,
Pop] over to MM and have a look [read

Liz46 Fri 30-Aug-19 10:33:08

I got my oestrogen patches ok yesterday thank heaven.

humptydumpty Fri 30-Aug-19 11:02:12

Can I draw everyone's attention to today's publication

www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-49508671

showing "the increased risk of breast cancer from menopausal hormone therapy lasts more than a decade after treatment stops"

Not sure where the idea that it's safe comes from, it was already known to increase risk in current users, this indicates that the risk continues.