Vaginal HRT tablets to become available over the counter

pharmafile | February 3, 2022 | News story | Business Services  

Vaginal oestrogen tablets, a type of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – could become available in chemists soon, depending on the outcome of a consultation.

Under the new proposals, women would be able to get them over the counter without a prescription, instead of going to see their GP. HRT is used to treat menopause symptoms – and 150,000 women have prescriptions. Doctors have warned that pharmacists and women should remain well informed on the choice of treatments available.

The MHRA is proposing to reclassify a product called Gina10, or estradiol – which treats vaginal dryness caused by lack of oestrogen – as a pharmacy medicine. The tablets, which are inserted into the vagina, are for women aged over 50, who have not had a period for at least one year. The regulator is now requesting GPs, pharmacists, and the general public to provide views on this proposal, as part of a consultation which is open until 23 February 2022.

HRT replaces the hormones that are missing during the menopause – particularly oestrogen – and relieves symptoms, such as hot flushes, night sweats, sleeping problems, brain fog, and mood changes. It is available in the form of tablets, skin patches, gels, and pessaries.  

Dr Edward Morris, RCOG president, said “every woman will experience the menopause differently” and that meant treatments needed to be tailored to individual needs and symptoms. Menopause specialist Dr Louise Newson called the vaginal tablets “a local hormonal treatment” which could treat irritation, and also help combat urinary symptoms.

According to Dr Newson, 80% of women going through the menopause experience those symptoms, but only 8% access treatment.

Lina Adams

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