Help – I’ve forgotten to take my HRT!
Our guide on what to do if you are running low or miss a dose
When life is so hectic or you are away from home, your regular HRT regime can easily slip your mind.
So we’ve put together an expert guide to staying on top of your HRT – and don’t forget you can download the balance app to keep a track of your symptoms, log your medication and find lots of useful articles.
How much notice do I need to give for a repeat HRT prescription?
Hayley Berry, a pharmacist with a specialist interest in menopause at Newson Health, recommends that you re-order when you get down to about one month of supply.
Getting a prescription from your GP and then getting it filled at a pharmacy can take between seven and 10 days during busy periods so bear this is mind when placing your repeat prescription order, she adds.
I forgot to use my HRT this morning – can I take it now, or does it have to be at exactly the same time every day?
It’s recommended that you take daily HRT, such as spray, gel and oral tablets at the same time every day, to ensure an even dose of the hormones it contains.
If you split your dose of gel between morning and evening, then you should aim for about 12 hours between each application.
But memory slip-ups mean we all forget to take medication now and then, especially when we are away from home.
If you take or apply your medication a couple of hours later now and then, it shouldn’t make any difference.
If I forgot to take my HRT one day, should I double up on my dose on the following day?
No, you should continue with your usual dose. Doubling up on the dose may cause worse side effects than the missed dose, such as a headache or breast tenderness.
I’ve left my HRT patch on longer than directed. What should I do?
You should change it as soon as possible. However, your patch releases estrogen at an hourly rate and does not run out of estrogen abruptly, so a late change does not often cause any significant issues.
When you are due to change to your subsequent patch, it is usually best to do this when you normally would, so that you go back to your usual schedule. This may mean that the delayed patch is on for a slightly shorter time but this will not affect your estrogen levels. You should continue to just use your usual dose.
Help, I’ve run out of HRT!
If you run out while you are away in the UK, then don’t panic, and don’t think you have just wait until you get home.
Hayley Berry says pharmacists will generally be able to help with an emergency supply.
Either go online at NHS 111 and follow the link for emergency prescriptions, who will link you up with a local, open pharmacy, this is the preferred and most efficient option, or drop in to a local pharmacy and ask for help, she says.
If you need an emergency supply, it is worth taking any packaging from your medication or old prescriptions along to the pharmacist as this will help confirm the medicine details,’ she says.
‘Most pharmacists will be happy to help you and, in most cases, be able to provide at least enough medication until you are home,’ she says.
I’m staying with a friend and I’ve run out of my HRT. Can I use theirs instead?
No, this is not recommended. HRT regimes are prescribed differently to suit each individual woman’s needs and can be subtly different, even if it looks the same. Some examples of the risks of taking medication which is not prescribed for yourself include interactions with other medications, side effects, and dose errors.
Try and contact your own usual HRT prescriber to see if an emergency prescription can be arranged.
I’ve got a flight coming up. Can I take my HRT in my hand luggage?
If you’re heading abroad, you don’t want to be worrying about your HRT while you are away.
First, check the rules of the country you’re going to as well as any you’re just passing through. Most countries will allow most medications as long as you show your prescription for them too – and this includes your HRT.
Always carry medicines (and applicators/syringes) in their original, correctly labelled packages. Check that you have enough to last your trip and make sure any medication you take will remain in date.
Carry your medicine in your hand luggage with a copy of your prescription. Remember most airlines restrict cabin liquids to 100ml and this would include estrogen gel. You could consider packing some extra medicine in your luggage going in the aeroplane hold in case you lose your hand luggage.
Try and avoid buying medication in other countries, as you may get the wrong or fake versions of your HRT. Avoid this by taking plenty of what you need with you from your usual place of residence.