HRT: Is a repeat prescription on your Christmas to-do list?
Pharmacist Hayley Berry on why it pays to be organised with your menopause medication
It’s December and your to-do-list is stuffed with all the planning, organising and socialising that the festive season brings.
But while you are dashing around buying presents and seeking out Christmas treats, one thing to remember to check up on is whether you have enough HRT.
Making sure you have plenty in stock – in whatever form you use – to tide you over into January is a few minutes well spent.
When’s the best time to order a repeat prescription?
Hayley Berry, a pharmacist with a specialist interest in menopause at Newson Health, says she recommends that people re-order when they get down to about one month of supply.
Over Christmas and New Year, pharmacies and general practices will be closed on some days and may be open different, shorter, hours on others, so it can take longer to renew prescriptions.
‘Opening hours at pharmacies can vary over the Christmas period and there can be higher levels of staff sickness, so it definitely pays to be prepared and get your prescription in early,’ Hayley says.
‘While stocks of HRT seem to have improved recently [there were some stock issues with certain types of HRT earlier in 2022], it just gives you some breathing space if there are any local supply issues. If there is a problem with availability, then often your pharmacist can help you find a good alternative.’
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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 please bear this is mind when placing your repeat prescription order, she adds.
‘Get your prescription in with plenty of time so that if there is any issue, it can be sorted out, and you can have the peace of mind of knowing you won’t run low of HRT over Christmas. HRT can have a significant impact on your wellbeing, so while we often put everyone else first at Christmas, don’t forget the importance of your medication.’
What to do if you are running low on HRT and are away from home
HRT prescribing has risen over the past year, with almost two million women in England alone using it to manage menopausal symptoms including hot flushes, brain fog, vaginal dryness and insomnia.
If you are travelling away from home this Christmas and forget your HRT, then don’t panic, and don’t feel you have to go without, Hayley says.
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.
‘Definitely don’t feel you just have to put up without it,’ says Hayley.
‘Pharmacists and their teams can help with emergency supplies, so seek help.’
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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.’