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How to Navigate HRT Shortages

Current Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) shortages are understandably causing considerable anxiety for women, however high profile media awareness and campaigning is beginning to pay dividends, with Besins Healthcare, who manufacture Oestrogel, recently announcing new manufacturing capacity for HRT products.

Dr Sam Brown and Dr Shashi Prasad share their top tips on navigating the shortage and staying on top of your menopause symptoms.

Top tips

  • Don’t be put off if you’re prescribed an alternative application type. It may not be what you’ve been used to, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good alternative. Who knows, you may end up preferring it in the long run.
  • If you’re unsure about dosage for alternatives, check out British Menopause Society (BMS) conversion guidance and equivalent preparations. Share this guidance with your doctor or pharmacist if needed.
  • Don’t suffer in silence. Whether your symptoms are returning due to running out of your usual HRT products, or as a result of trying an alternative, speak with your prescriber for help. There are alternative preparations available.
  • Oral HRT preparations as an alternative are fine for most women. It is unlikely you will have been prescribed medication that is not suitable for you.
  • Going cold turkey and completely stopping HRT should be a last resort. Symptoms could come back quickly and make you feel considerably worse than short time side effects of an alternative application type.
  • Don’t randomly search internet sites for HRT. There are no guarantees of what you are buying and products may not be safe. Medicines are regulated and distributed through appropriate channels to keep patients safe.
  • The BMS publish period updates on HRT availability and supplies and equivalent preparations, as well as practical prescribing guidance for medical professionals. Things are improving, albeit slowly.

Dr Samantha Brown is a GP and Menopause Specialist providing menopause appointments virtually and in person at The Bronte Clinic, a Women’s Health Clinic in Chelsea, which she founded in 2021. She is a member of The British Menopause Society (BMS), The International Menopause Society and holds the Advanced Certificate in Menopause Care. She is also a member of the Primary Care Women’s Health Forum, a Diplomate of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (DRCOG) and The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare. (DFSRH) and passed her Royal College of General Practice exams with distinction in 2004.

Alongside her current menopause work she is an NHS GP and an NHS appraiser for the London Deanery. Until 2019 she was working as a GP partner in a large practice in London where she was mental health lead for many years. She is passionate about women’s health and supporting people who may be struggling with their mental health and feels that this is especially important around theperimenopause when symptoms can be misdiagnosed.

Find Sam on Instagram at @menopauseGPLondon and @thebronteclinic.

Dr Shashi Prasad is an experienced GP, BMS accredited Advanced Menopause Specialist and a certified Lifestyle Medicine Physician. She completed her menopause training at Kings College Hospital, London.

She is passionate about providing top-tier evidence-based menopause care and combines Hormone Replacement Therapy with lifestyle modifications to help transform the lives of her clients. She believes in personalised medicine and offers her clients safe, individualised choices to help balance their hormones and make them feel like their best selves. She is a caring and compassionate doctor. You will feel listened to and be able to make a personalised treatment plan with her.

Dr Shashi has a special interest in regulated body identical HRT, mood disorders during menopause, weight gain in midlife and lifestyle medicine.

Find Shashi on Instagram at @dr_shashi_menopause.

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