Health watchdogs have announced that HRT will soon be available without prescription, a major boost for women going through menopause.
As it stands now, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is the best way to manage menopause symptoms, can only be obtained after consulting a specialist or GP.
It is now understood that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency will propose a reclassification for HRT pills, gels and creams.
Haitham Hamoda (chairman of the British Menopause Society) stated that while improving access to HRT can be a good thing it is equally important for women to have all the support and advice they need.
“It’s wonderful that so much is being said about menopause, and people are more open about it.
“But we don’t want this to come down to a question of self-diagnosis – it’s really important that those thinking about starting HRT get the right information.”
It is possible that pharmacists will still need to approve the changes.
Hormone replacement therapy is the most effective way to treat symptoms and doctors say that for most women the benefits far outweigh the risks.
However, a flawed US study in 2002 linking HRT to breast-cancer has made many women reluctant to try it and GPs unwilling to prescribe it.
In October, the government backed a “menopause revolution”Ministers pledged to reduce the cost of repeat prescriptions for HRT.
Carolyn Harris, MP, was the one who introduced the first bill. She wept as she saw the commitments made to women with the symptoms and costs associated with menopause.
HRT is currently available on prescription for £9.35 a time in England, although it is free in Scotland and Wales.
But after politicians and celebs joined The Sun’s Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign, women on repeat prescriptions will only have to pay one charge of £18.50 a year – saving up to £205.
Lisa Snowdon, a campaign ambassador, previously told The Sun: “It will make a huge difference to so many women saving hundreds of pounds a year on prescriptions who will no longer have to make sacrifices to access treatment.
“This is just the beginning and I’m so proud to be a part of The Sun’s Fabulous menopause matters and it’s a huge win for us.
“This campaign is making the conversation around the menopause louder and long may it continue.”
A spokesperson for Department of Health and Social Care said that “we understand that some women experience menopause symptoms which can have a significant effect on their quality of living. We are committed to improving the support and care they receive.”
“That’s why we’re developing the first ever government-led Women’s Health Strategy, informed by women’s lived experience. Menopause, including improving access to Hormone Replacement Therapy, will be a priority under the strategy.”