HRT deficiency leaves thousands of UK females untreated

Medical specialists call for intervention to address the domestic hormone substitute treatment (HRT) shortage of products used to manage menopausal symptoms. The shortage in the UK causes trouble for thousands of females, medical specialists said.


The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), the British Menopause Society (BMS) and the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) stated in a joint declaration that they were getting numerous requests from females unable to obtain HRT products.


Approximately half of the most frequently prescribed HRT products are out of inventory, replacing hormones, including oestrogen, which usually decrease during menopause. Among those said to be facing shortages are the high-street pharmacies Boots and Lloyds.


Doctors also reported that because of the shortages, HRT became hard to prescribe.


Prof Lesley Regan, the president of the RCOG, said: “We are very concerned that thousands of women are struggling to get their HRT prescriptions, or even prescriptions for alternative treatments. HRT is essential for many women to ensure that they are able to continue to lead a high-quality life.”


Reportedly, the crisis began in early 2018 when production problems that started in China compelled some producers to stop manufacturing HRT patches. This led to higher demand for other products, which became rare in turn. It is anticipated that shortages will persist until next year.


Haitham Hamoda, a gynaecologist advisor and president of the BMS, said females in difficulty required assistance and guidance on how to get supplies of their HRT medicines.


“The British Menopause Society has advised prescribers to find equivalent types by looking at the oestrogen and progestogen component and matching it as closely as possible to another brand. Beyond this, we need to understand the reasons behind this and what measures could be taken to resolve this issue and to prevent it happening again in the future.” he said.


FSRH chairman Dr Asha Kasliwal said every week she treated females who had been impacted by the shortage. She said “These women are not being able to receive the treatment that best suits their needs, leaving some women to cope with quite debilitating symptoms that directly impact on their daily lives. It is important that the Department of Health and Social Care continues to work with suppliers of HRT medicines. We need to ensure that women are not disadvantaged further because of the shortage, and that they access HRT treatment when they need it.”


The DHSC said the continuing production problems were known to it. A spokesman said: “We are working closely with all suppliers to maintain overall flow of medicines to patients.”