Women told to halve menopause treatment patches as HRT shortage hits

0

Kiwis going through menopause have been told to cut their hormone patches in half due to a drug shortage.

New Zealand is currently out of stock of Oestradiol (Estradot) 50 microgram patches, due to logistical “bottlenecks”.

The patches are a type of hormone treatment for menopause – also known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – used for short-term symptom relief.

Prescription patches (available in 25, 50, 75, and 100 mcg strengths) release estrogen in a continuous, controlled manner, just as the ovaries would before menopause. HRT can be stopped suddenly, but it is recommended to do so gradually, as it is less likely to cause symptoms to come back in the short term.

READ MORE:
* Paula Bennett on menopause: “I thought I was too young and bulletproof”
* Why hormone replacement therapy is a boon for brain fog, depression and anxiety
* ‘I’m not important enough’: Northlander waits 14 years for hysterectomy

An Auckland woman who went to collect her new prescription this week was told her pharmacy also did not have 25mcg patches and she should contact her GP to re-prescribe 75mcg, so that she can cut them to use them.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said she had been using the 25mcg patches for two years to help alleviate the ‘terrible issues’ she had with brain fog, mood swings, joints pain and the inability to string together a sentence. during menopause.

But because she couldn’t get her usual strength — and the pharmacy didn’t know when she’d have more — she cut the 75mcg patches into thirds by hand.

She feared she wouldn’t get the right dose this way and worried about others in the same boat.

There is no stock of 50mcg patches available in New Zealand at present, Pharmac has confirmed.

Things

There is no stock of 50mcg patches available in New Zealand at present, Pharmac has confirmed.

“Playing around with people’s doses is not good. I don’t think it’s very safe.

She was not alone: ​​a Things The employee who was prescribed 50 mcg patches was told by her regular pharmacist to shop around in the hope of finding some.

Her GP said the best workaround was to halve the 100mcg patches – and adjusted her prescription so she could do so.

“Obviously it’s better than nothing. But that doesn’t inspire confidence when you have to MacGyver your own dose of HRT.

The patches – which look like clear tape – are worn on the body like a bandage for a few days before a new one is applied.

New Zealand’s stock problem comes as the UK experiences a severe shortage of HRT, linked to “extraordinary” demand exceeding supply.

Nearly 60,000 people in Aotearoa received estradiol patches between 2018 and 2020, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

To fill the gap, Pharmac has obtained an alternative 50 mcg patch, branded as Climara.

It was supplied in “limited quantities” to ensure the product is “fairly distributed”.

Pharmacists wouldn’t see this in the online calendar until it was updated for August, but Pharmac had notified this on its website and via pharmacy communication channels, Williams said.

Pharmac said distributors across the country were experiencing backlogs due to order processing issues, delaying drug deliveries to pharmacies.

UNSPLASH / Stuff

Pharmac said distributors across the country were experiencing backlogs due to order processing issues, delaying drug deliveries to pharmacies.

Williams said the problem was mainly the result of delays in the domestic supply chain, with New Zealand distributors experiencing “backlogs” due to order processing issues.

This had delayed drug deliveries to wholesalers and then to pharmacies.

Williams said a new supply of the 50mcg patch has arrived in the country and is undergoing quality assurance checks.

Pending the outcome of these checks, stocks may be available for pharmacies to order at the end of next week.

There have been other recent supply issues with patches – most recently in October 2021 when 25 and 50 mcg patches were affected.

Between February and May 2021, the 75mcg patches were out of stock and the only alternative was a product not approved by Medsafe.

The 25 and 50 mcg patches also sold out between August 2020 and January 1, 2021.

Share.

Comments are closed.