HRT Shortage UK – New User Experience

So I am forty-four and peri-menopausal. Officially I believe I can say that because I went to the doctors and came out with a prescription for HRT. I am actually quite hopeful that HRT can solve a lot of my issues. But the problem is that there’s still a HRT shortage and so I didn’t come away from the chemist with what I went in for.

woman in peri-menopause receiving hrt in forties

Selecting the right HRT Option

After some discussion about my situation in regards to peri-menopausal symptoms, family history of breast cancer and a manner of health questions we discussed the HRT options. The doctor said that she could give me information to go away and read but I decided that I was keen to get started.

HRT and Breast Cancer

The main fear is breast cancer. My own mom started HRT relatively young and believed it was the reason for her breast cancer. Of course things have improved in over 20 years but no matter what people try to tell you it is STILL an increased risk. Saying that the Doctor said that actually tablet form HRT was more of a risk and wished to avoid those. She said that HRT absorbed through the skin had a lower risk.

breast cancer

Both Hormones

The mirena coil was the option she most liked, coupled with something else. As I am not in menopause I still need progestogen to stop the lining of my womb getting too thick I believe. It also does something to lower the cancer risk I also believe. If I had a mirena coil put in this would therefore provide half of what I needed.

Previously I found the coil really uncomfortable. Plus it wouldn’t be as easy to stop the hormones if it didn’t suit me. Plus they need replacing every 5 years. It just wasn’t for me.

HRT Patches

Anyway long story short together we decided on patches. It was probably the worst point of my cycle to see her and my brain fog was at an all time high. Honestly I couldn’t even remember her name. But it was okay everything was going to be sorted for me. A follow-up appointment for in 3 months’ time would be made, and my prescription had been electronically sent to my local chemist.

Pharmacist Changing Prescription

Of course you know by the title where this is going! Due to the HRT shortage there were none of the HRT patches I have been prescribed in stock. Nor could they be ordered in. Apparently due to this HRT shortage pharmacists have more authority to change the prescriptions.

Evorel 50 started HRT patches

As I say my brain was everywhere. It was quite overwhelming too as I feared I was going to be fobbed off, so it was quite emotional. I timed going to the chemist badly and they were just about to go to lunch.

As well as being prescribed Evorel Sequi patches I was also given Tranexamic Acid tablets – to help with the heavy flow. The pharmacist couldn’t just give me one and not the other. He was about to give me the script and send me somewhere else but then he changed his mind and gave me a box of Evorel 50 – saying it was the same.

Not Understanding

I really didn’t understand it all but thought it would be okay when my husband got home and we would work it out together. But after talking to friends (and looking at the box) it appeared that my 8 patches weren’t going to last the 3 months until my next appointment.

So I rang the doctors back up and they told me that no I should have had 24 patches. The problem with it all was I had never seen what I was meant to have as it was sent over electronically. That I should have had an iou note for the rest.

Back I went to the chemist but by now the pharmacist had gone and there was another lady there instead. She was confused also. She printed a label for my box and an owing note. Then the lady who worked behind the counter finished serving someone else and said that the pharmacist had told me that they would sort it. It still wasn’t clear WHAT they were sorting but that they needed to speak to the doctor. He had said that he was going to try to get the prescription changed.

hrt shortage at the chemist

The First Evorel 50 Patch

Obviously the time came to when I should apply my first patch and I still didn’t have any answers. Due to the fact that my periods are still pretty regular the doctor had told me to start as soon as the bleeding stopped. If I didn’t apply a patch soon I would be waiting another month.

Again I rang up the doctors to see if anything further had been said or if someone could just help me feel less confused. Thanks to Dr Google I had learnt that the Evorel 50 just contained estradiol. The lack of having any progestogen was quite worrying me.

The nice receptionist said she would contact the in-house pharmacist. The wait felt like forever and in the meantime I thought to just trust my local pharmacist and put the patch on. That actually the small amount of time surely couldn’t do that much harm!

The Doctors Pharmacist

Then I got the call from the pharmacist from the doctors and it just confused things all the more. She didn’t understand why I had just a patch with one hormone when I am still menstruating. Of course the doctor wasn’t in today either!

Now I have been told I can leave the patch I have on but not to replace it with a new one. That she would speak to my local pharmacist and see if they knew what was going on. Of course he would have known that I still had periods as he gave me the tranexamic acid tablets.

It really isn’t the best start to my trialling HRT that’s for sure!

2 thoughts on “HRT Shortage UK – New User Experience”

  1. I’m perimenopausal & have been taking HRT for a year now. The Progesterone tablets are only taken for 2 weeks of each month. To remember when to take them the Doctor suggested that on the 1st of each month I started the pack & continued taking the tablets until 12th then stop taking them for the rest of the month. (Expect to bleed on 14th of the month!) Hopefully you will receive your prescription of Progesterone by 1st July, so don’t worry! For most of each month it’s Oestradiol only (ie the patch applied) Good luck & expect to feel a changed women.

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