Four in 10 women taking HRT have been affected by recent shortages

16% of those who sought help for menopause symptoms say their GPs wrongly prescribed antidepressants

A new survey of over 1,500 women by Mumsnet and Gransnet suggests that the recent shortages of some HRT medications have affected large numbers of women. 43% of those taking HRT say they’ve been affected by current shortages, and 40% have been told by a pharmacist or GP that their current HRT medication isn’t available.

According to government figures, around 360,000 prescriptions of HRT for menopause symptoms are dispensed each month. Women taking HRT have been having trouble getting hold of their medications for several months, and 15 HRT products are reported to be entirely out of stock.

I'm currently going cold turkey which is a huge issue. HRT made me feel human again.

The GP told me to just keep looking but I have tried everywhere and found nothing.

8% of those going through the perimenopause and 35% of those going through the menopause say they are on HRT, despite it being a NICE recommended treatment for symptoms associated with the menopause and perimenopause.

So many women find HRT essential to just live a “normal” life, to be able to function as an employee, partner, mother

16% of those who sought help for menopause symptoms say their GPs wrongly prescribed antidepressants, and 24% say they complained to their GP for a year or more before being prescribed appropriate medication or help.

59% of women surveyed think the press is guilty of scaremongering about HRT risks, and 40% say that press stories about HRT risks make them anxious and less likely to consider taking HRT. Only 13% believe the press gets its coverage of HRT scares ‘about right’.

These shortages will ultimately have a huge impact, and it is being treated as not really very important!

Mumsnet and Gransnet are today launching a campaign to get a better deal for women going through menopause. The campaign will call on the government to end the HRT shortage once and for all, as well as providing more menopause training for GPs and ensuring that antidepressants aren’t prescribed where HRT is more clinically appropriate.

Mumsnet and Gransnet founder Justine Roberts said: “It’s astonishing that we still have no adequate explanation for the HRT shortage many months after the problem emerged and little evidence of concerted action to get supplies back into pharmacies. It’s difficult enough for women to get good healthcare for menopause-related symptoms. It’s outrageous that so many face difficulties in filling their prescriptions.”

Read the full data here

Survey of 1,557 female Mumsnet and Gransnet users, between the 8th and 24th October 2019. The data is not weighted.

November 2019