Former deputy claims HRT supply issues not resolved

GUERNSEY is still suffering with supply problems for hormone replacement therapy drugs, according to a former deputy who has struggled to find the menopause treatment she was first prescribed.

Sarah Hansmann Rouxel. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32162190)
Sarah Hansmann Rouxel. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32162190)

Sarah Hansmann-Rouxel said her experience was almost identical to last year.

‘Last time it was the oestrogen drug, now it is the progesterone,’ she said.

‘Nothing seems to have been put in place between the pharmacists and the doctors. Doctors are prescribing things without knowing they are in short supply. It seems the media are better informed than they are.’

The UK government has recently brought in restrictions around the HRT progesterone drug Utrogestan, with a maximum two-month prescription due to supply problems.

Health & Social Care has not done likewise in the islands because the maximum supply of all prescription only products is 28 days. It said that this would mitigate against shortages and avoid stockpiling.

‘While the situation can change, we understand that most HRT preparations are in stock in most pharmacies,’ said a spokeswoman.

‘Utrogestan, which is a micronised progesterone, is available. This is one of a number of progesterone-containing HRT products available on prescription.’

HSC said that all of the UK-licensed HRT products were on the local prescribing list, so that there was usually at least one alternative.

‘Pharmacists can offer different brands of the same product if the brand prescribed is not available and if the patient is in agreement. They report that islanders have been very understanding, which is greatly appreciated.’

Progesterone significantly reduces the risk of uterine, cervical, and vaginal cancer in women on HRT.

It also mitigates the symptoms of menopause, like night sweats, hot flushes, anxiety and insomnia.

Mrs Hansmann-Rouxel said that in November the guidelines for prescribing progesterone increased in dosage.

‘They [HSC and the chief pharmacist] are getting advice to increase stocks, but are not reacting to the guidance. There appears to be no connective thought which effects people on a basic level.’

Mrs Hansmann-Rouxel said that she had ended up switching to a longer term progesterone drug as she was sick and tired of trying to get hold of the drug she was prescribed initially.

‘Perimenopause is all about a fluctuation in hormones, so if you are swapping drugs it really doesn’t help. Any hiccups in the supply chain that means you have to look for alternative drugs can add to potential side-effects.’

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