Menopausal Hormone Therapy shortages ease

The recent shortages of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) products in Australia are now easing or already resolved, according to the Australasian Menopause Society.

In an update to the supply problems that have plagued many oral, transdermal and gel products in 2020, the AMS says that many are about be resolved.

Earlier in the year it advised clinicians that some women may need to be switched to alternative products if they were having issues with filling their prescription

It now reports that shortages have been resolved for oral MHT products such as Femoston 1/10 and Angeliq, while Duavive supply issues are due to be resolved by April 2021.

For transdermal patches, supply problems have been resolved for Climara and Estradot 100, while supplies of other dose forms of Estradot are expected to be resolved in late November and early December. For Estalis Conti the supply problem is due to be resolved at the end of November, but it is not know when supplies of Estalis Sequi will be resolved

For gel MHT, the problems with Estrogel (estradiol hemihydrate) has now been resolved, but there is an anticipated shortage of EstrogelPro in the coming weeks which is due to be resolved by the end of December.

Meanwhile menopause treatment specialists have welcomed new study findings that suggest the risk of breast cancer associated with MHT is lower than previously reported.

Results from a UK nested case control study involving more than 33,000 women with a diagnosis of breast cancer found that while there was an increased risk associated with MHT, it was lower than seen in previous studies and decreased rapidly after stopping use of MHT.

Published in the BMJ, the study found that the combined MHT with the lowest associated risk increase was estradiol-dydrogesterone.

“Associations for all treatments depended on duration, with no increased risks for less than one year of treatment but increasing risks for longer exposures to medroxyprogesterone, norethisterone, and levonorgestrel. Associations were more pronounced for older women and less noticeable for obese women,” the report stated.

Dr Elizabeth Farrell, director of the Jean Hailes centre in Melbourne  said the absolute difference in breast cancer risk with MHT was small compared to the high background incidence of the disease.

“The crude incidence rate of breast cancer in one of the cohorts was 33 per 10,000 women years, whereas the crude incidents of women not exposed to HRT was 31.5,” Dr Farrell said.

“People think the balance is always way up on the [MHT] side, so I think that figure is really important.”

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