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  1. ITV Report

Shortage of HRT drugs in Channel Islands

HRT users are being urged to speak to their doctor about alternative treatments. Credit: ITV Channel TV

There is a shortage of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) drugs in Guernsey and Jersey.

HRT users are being urged to speak to their doctor about alternative treatments.

A major supplier of HRT patches is currently experiencing low stocks in the Channel Islands, the United Kingdom and across Europe.

The issue has been ongoing for a matter of months.

Women who stop using HRT patches, could experience a rebound of menopausal symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety and joint aches. One doctor from supplement supplier Healthspan, says women can speak to their GP for other forms of medication.

If patches aren't available your GP can prescribe an alternative. If you have had a hysterectomy, you could use an oestrogen gel, for example, but for women with an intact womb, you also need a progestogen to protect the lining of the womb from over-stimulation. This means your GP will have to switch you from the HRT patch to an HRT tablet.

– Dr Sarah Brewer, Medical Director at Healthspan

The Chief Pharmacist in Guernsey is recommending that women do seek assistance if they are struggling to get hold of patches.

We have a great deal of sympathy for those who are being affected by the HRT shortage and we know this is far from ideal.

Unfortunately we are being caught up in what is a Europe-wide issue.

The best thing to do is to go to your GP to discuss alternatives, as the appropriate alternative will vary from patient to patient.

– Ed Freestone, Chief Pharmacist, Health & Social Care Guernsey

The temporary shortage of products is being caused by manufacturing and supply issues says the British Menopause Society.

HRT products and availability:

  • The following Evorel patches (Janssen) and the estimated out of stock dates are listed below.
Credit: British Menopause Society

Estraderm MX patches:

  • Estraderm MX 50 patches pack of 24. Available.
  • Estraderm MX 75 patches pack of 8. Available.
  • Estraderm MX 100 patches. Available.
  • Estraderm MX 50 patches pack of 8 available – Shortage of supplies.

Mylan HRT products:

  • Elleste Solo: 1mg oestradiol. Available.
  • Elleste Solo: 2mg oestradiol. Shortage of supplies.
  • Elleste Duet 1mg oestradiol + 1mg norethisterone acetate. Shortage of supplies.
  • Elleste Duet 2mg oestradiol + 1mg norethisterone acetate.Available.
  • Elleste Duet Conti 2mg oestradiol + 1mg norethisterone. Shortage of supplies.
  • Femoston 1mg oestradiol + 10mg dydrogesterone. Shortage of supplies.
  • Femoston 2mg oestradiol + 10mg dydrogesterone. Available.
  • Femoston conti 1mg oestradiol + 5mg dydrogesterone. Available.
  • Femoston conti low dose 0.5mg 0estradiol + 2.5mg dydrogesterone. Available.
  • Zumenon 1mg oestradiol and 2mg oestradiol. Shortage of supplies.
  • Elleste Solo MX patches 40mcg transdermal oestradiol. Current shortage of supplies, but likely to be available later this month.
  • Elleste Solo MX patches 80mcg transdermal oestradiol. Current shortage of supplies, but likely to be available later this month.

Companies with currently no shortage of products:

  • Besins Healthcare (UK) HRT products
  • Estradot patches (Novartis pharmaceuticals)
  • Novo Nordisk HRT products

We do understand that women may be worried by this shortage, but this is a Europe-wide issue which is unrelated to Brexit.

We would advise women to discuss alternative brands of HRT with their GP, to ensure their supply is not interrupted.

– Fiona Nelson, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist Jersey

The British Menopause Society has published updated advice on HRT supply shortages which can be found at thebms.org.uk.