UK Government Restricts Supply of Menopause Drug Due to Shortages
The UK government has imposed restrictions on the supply of a drug used to treat symptoms of menopause due to shortages in the country. Pharmacies will now only provide a two-month supply of Utrogestan 100mg capsules per prescription.
The Department of Health and Social Care has informed that Besins, the manufacturer of this hormone replacement therapy (HRT), is working to increase the supply. However, the shortages are expected to persist until late this year.
Ministers have emphasized that there are ample stocks of the majority of HRT products available. Since April 2022, twenty-two serious shortage protocols have been implemented to manage temporary and potential supply issues for HRT products.
Currently, restrictions are in place for two specific products: Utrogestan and Progynova 100 microgram patches. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) estimates that around one million women in the UK rely on HRT treatment for their menopausal symptoms. The popularity of HRT usage has been increasing, partly due to campaigns advocating for extended access and improved awareness about menopause.
Women’s Minister Maria Caulfield has expressed confidence that the government’s decisive measures will enable more women to access the necessary medicine. She assures the public that the majority of HRT products are adequately supplied. The overall availability of HRT products has significantly improved over the past year, and the government appreciates the industry’s efforts to meet the growing demand.
To ensure an adequate supply, certain HRT medications have been added to the list of products restricted from export or hoarding within the UK.
HRT, or hormone replacement therapy, is prescribed to women as they approach menopause. It helps regulate hormone levels, specifically estrogen, which naturally fluctuate and decline during this phase. By replenishing estrogen levels, HRT can alleviate symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, and joint pain.
Typically, women do not remain on HRT indefinitely but use it to navigate the menopausal transition. Many women report significant improvements in their overall well-being with the help of HRT.