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Schering's Angeliq approved in Europe

Published on 29/10/03 at 04:35pm

Schering's new low dose HRT product Angeliq has gained mutual recognition in the European Union, with launches expected across the continent this autumn.

The product is indicated for the treatment of menopausal symptoms and prevention of osteoporosis and is the first to combine oestradiol with progestin, drospirenone, a new type of progestin developed by Schering.

The company says the new active ingredient means Angeliq is less likely to cause water retention, a side-effect common in many existing HRT products.

The global HRT market is, however, in a slow decline, and Schering will have to persuade physicians the drug is something truly new.

The reluctance of doctors to prescribe HRT was increased last year by evidence from a US study which linked long-term use to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer in women taking Wyeth's conjugated estrogens product Prempro.

Wyeth's Premarin range of products is the UK's biggest HRT seller, but saw its sales drop nearly 13% to 1.1 million in 2002, despite being significantly different product to the US Prempro product.

The company has now launched new low-dose versions of its HRT products in the US to ally safety fears about the effect on patients of high doses over long periods.

Last year, prescriptions in England for oestradiol products - which Schering's Angeliq will compete with - fell 3% to 1.16 million, contributing to an overall drop in HRT prescribing of 5% to just under six million prescriptions.

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