I know it worrying when medical shortages happen, but I’m here to give you the lowdown on the current supply restrictions for Utrogestan, your HRT medication, and provide you with some alternative options and knowledge of what’s happening. After all knowledge is power right?
So, what exactly is Utrogestan? Well, it's a type of progestogen called micronized progesterone. The interesting thing is that it's derived from plants, including yam, a root vegetable. This progestogen is structurally identical to the progesterone hormone naturally produced in your body. That's why it's often referred to as "body identical." For women who are on HRT and still have their uterus, it's important to take a progestogen along with estrogen. This helps prevent a buildup of the uterine lining over time and reduces associated risks.
So why are the supplies of Utrogestan being restricted? The UK government has implemented a Serious Shortage Protocol (SSP) for Utrogestan 100mg capsules due to increasing demand for HRT. SSPs are standard procedures used to manage temporary medicine supply issues. The current restriction means that pharmacies will only dispense two months' worth of Utrogestan per prescription. The aim is to ensure continued access to this medication for women who need it. It's worth noting that the majority of HRT products are still readily available (so that's some good news!)
But how long will these restrictions last? The SSP is set to be in effect until August 18th. However, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has stated that intermittent supply issues with Utrogestan may persist until late 2023. The manufacturer, Besins, is working hard to increase the supply, but it may take some time to fully resolve the shortage. In the meantime, the SSP will help ensure that women have access to the available stock.
Now, if you currently have a prescription for Utrogestan, you might be wondering what to do. The SSP covers both NHS and private prescriptions, so you're covered. We understand that it can be frustrating to hear this news, but remember that there are various types and brands of HRT available. In many cases, your healthcare professional can find a very similar product to Utrogestan that is temporarily in short supply. They will work with you to find a suitable alternative, should the need arise.
Speaking of alternatives, let's explore some options. If you still have a womb, it's crucial to include a progesterone component in your HRT regime. Here are a few alternatives to Utrogestan:
- Mirena Coil: This small plastic device can be inserted into your uterus and provides a low and steady dose of progestogen directly to the uterine lining. It can be used alongside estrogen patches, gels, sprays, or tablets and also acts as a contraceptive.
- Cyclogest Pessaries: These vaginal pessaries contain body-identical progesterone and can be used as a short-term alternative to Utrogestan, especially for those who experience side effects with oral progesterone.
- Bijuve: This oral capsule is the first HRT treatment to contain body-identical estrogen and progesterone. It contains the same type and dose of progesterone as Utrogestan.
- Synthetic Progestogens: There are also products available that combine estrogen with synthetic progestogens, such as patches and tablets. While there is a small risk of clot and heart disease associated with synthetic progestogens, the risk is still low.
It's important to consult with your healthcare professional for personalised advice based on your health history, current HRT prescription.
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Love Angeline 🦋 x
Angeline Davies is a Fully Qualified Health Coach Specialising in Perimenopause and Menopause.
Accredited By The PCI and The Royal College of General Practitioners.