‘Davina effect’ sends HRT demand soaring: NHS figures show a MILLION more women are now on menopause-busting drugs in just 2 years
- HRT prescriptions have risen 47% compared to 2021/22, official data shows
- READ MORE: Two thirds of women are optimistic about sex during menopause
Prescriptions for menopausal women have soared in the last year, with 11million items handed out to help deal with symptoms.
Official figures show hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescriptions have risen 47 per cent compared to 2021/22.
The medicine helps menopausal women suffering from symptoms including low mood, anxiety, hot flushes and difficulty sleeping.
The rise follows an unprecedented increase in prescriptions in the last few years, which many have put down to the ‘Davina effect’ and wider awareness of the menopause.
TV personality Davina McCall has released a series of documentaries about the menopause which, along with the efforts of campaigners, has led to an enormous increase in awareness.
In one programme, the 56-year-old former Big Brother host spoke of her struggles with the crippling symptoms in her forties.
Official figures show hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescriptions have risen 47 per cent compared to 2021/22
The rise follows an unprecedented increase in prescriptions in the last few years, which many have put down to the ‘Davina effect’ and wider awareness of the menopause . TV personality Davina McCall has released a series of documentaries about the menopause which, along with the efforts of campaigners, has led to an enormous increase in awareness
National HRT shortages also led to a Daily Mail campaign, launched last year, which called for more women to be made aware of symptoms and treatment options.
Less than a month after the campaign launch the government announced a Serious Shortages Protocol, making it easier for pharmacists to substitute HRT treatments if particular drugs were out of stock.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) also made the decision to make a particular form of HRT available over-the-counter in a landmark UK first, and a scheme saving menopausal women more than £200 a year came into force earlier this year.
WHAT IS THE MENOPAUSE?
Menopause is when a woman stops having periods, and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.
It usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55.
It is a normal part of ageing and caused by levels of the sex hormone oestrogen dropping.
Some women go through this time with few, if any, symptoms.
Others suffer from hot flushes, sleeping difficulties, mood swings and brain fog, which can last for months or years and might change over time.
HRT replaces the hormones and is the main treatment used to treat symptoms — which can be severe and disrupt day-to-day life.
Menopause happens when your ovaries stop producing as much of the hormone oestrogen and no longer release an egg each month.
The report, released by the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), also reveals an estimated 2.34m identifiable patients were prescribed HRT drugs in 2022/23 —a 29 per cent increase on the previous year. The figure stood at 1.38m in 2020/21.
Women aged 50 to 54 were the largest group of patients to receive prescriptions while Utrogestan capsules were the most prescribed item.
The report also highlighted that more than twice as many patients were prescribed HRT drugs in the least deprived areas compared to the most deprived.
Campaigner Diane Danzebrink, who founded the website Menopause Support, said: ‘It is encouraging to see that more patients are being prescribed HRT thanks to the increased awareness initiatives over the past few years.
‘However, it is disappointing to see the disparity between the least and most deprived areas. This clearly indicates the need for a national menopause public health campaign to ensure that everybody, wherever they live, has the right information at the right time to allow them to make informed choices.
‘Those who use and prescribe HRT would also welcome renewed efforts from the DHSC to ensure that all products are available.
‘Unfortunately shortages of some products remain which creates more work for prescribers and anxiety for patients.’
Katie Taylor, founder of The Latte Lounge online support group for women, also applauded the increase – but said more needs to be done.
‘It saddens me that there are still too many women in some of the most deprived areas of the country who still can’t access the right information or know how, why and when to go for support to,’ she said.
‘This is why I sincerely hope that, through the 10-year Women’s Health Strategy, all women will be able to access the right support and information via hubs and hopefully via access to a registered menopause specialist.
‘We also need a lot more investment and catch-up training for all healthcare professionals too so that our GPs, the gatekeepers to our health, can help these women on day one.’
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