United Kingdom

HRT to be sold over-the-counter without prescription for first time

A medicine for menopausal women is to be sold without a prescription for the first time in the UK.

Boots said it will sell a hormone replacement therapy over the counter, as well as online.

The high street chain will be offering Gina 10 microgram vaginal tablets for £29.99 for 24 tablets.

The drug, which was reclassified from a prescription-only medicine to a pharmacy medicine by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) earlier this year, treats one of the symptoms of menopause, vaginal atrophy.

This occurs when reduced oestrogen levels in the body lead to a thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal wall.

The medicine, manufactured by Novo Nordisk, treats the condition by replacing the reduced oestrogen.

Picture: Boots

It will be available for women aged 50 and over who have not had a period in at least a year.

Before purchasing the treatment, women will have a consultation with a pharmacist to ensure it is the right medicine for them.

Those buying online will have an online consultation.

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It was revealed earlier this year, a shortage of hormone replacement therapy medication has left some women sharing prescriptions and feeling suicidal.

The issue first came to light at the end of April 2022, with doctors warning some women are resorting to unorthodox methods to get the medication they need.

Symptoms of menopause can be so debilitating that a recent survey found one in ten women have quit their job because of it.

Explainer: Why has there been a shortage of HRT?

Bina Mehta, a pharmacist at Boots, said: “Oestrogen levels decline after the menopause and can lead to changes in vaginal health that cause uncomfortable symptoms like vaginal dryness and itching.

Celebrities like Penny Lancaster and Davina McCall have campaigned for HRT treatments to be free from prescription charges

“Unlike other menopause symptoms, these are usually chronic and progressive and will not resolve without treatment.

“Menopause is a natural process and everyone’s experience is different.

“I encourage those who are going through any stage of the menopause to come and speak to their local pharmacist for personalised advice and recommendations alongside guidance, where appropriate, on how to optimise HRT treatments – we are here to help.”

Boots is launching the product on Thursday and rolling it out to all stores by the end of October.

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