There is sometimes a slight difference in effectiveness between Oestrogel and Oestrodose:
Both products are produced by a company called Besins Healthcare and they contain identical ingredients.
They are also manufactured in the same factory in Belgium!
There has been a lot of confusion and upset regarding these two Estrodiol products, so in my usual way, I’m going to cut to the chase and try to clarify this for you all!
You don’t need me to outline the basics about menopause and peri menopause in this article. You’re here to find out about the HRT you need or are already using.
So here it is!:
In this case we are specifically talking about the estrogen gel used in HRT and I am referring to UK only.
As this is transdermal (absorbed via the skin), it’s the safest form of HRT. (it doesn’t interfere with your digestion and other areas of the body)
I am often asked whether it’s ok to take if you experience migraines or have an increased risk of clots or strokes.
There is a very small increased risk of blood clots with the pill form of HRT but not the gel or patch
SO! What’s happening?
Investigations were carried out but there are a couple of possible reasons for the difference in effectiveness.
Although they are made in the same factory, they travel to the UK in a slightly different way
Oestrogel is produced for the UK market whilst Oestrodose is produced for the French market
The Oestrodose we see in the UK has been imported from France. This process isn’t carried out by Besins Healthcare and the temperature of storage conditions could have degraded the gels.
It’s also thought that a difference in the packaging may result in women receiving less gel with each pump of Oestrodose than they did with the Oestrogel which would then reduce their dose of estrogen.
It’s important to note here that this doesn’t now mean that Oestrodose isn’t safe for you or won’t work. It works very well for many women and is still essentially the same as the Oestrogel, so there’s no need for any anxiety about this development!
There are a few types of the HRT gel available in the UK.
Sandrena (This comes in sachets)
Oestrogel & Oestrodose (which both come as a pump)
The reports coming in from many women, seem to indicate a difference between Oestrogel (Estrogel) and Oestrodose which are apparently identical gels.
Some women have been finding that Oestrodose is not as effective as Oestrogel. (very annoying!)
Many of the women noticed their symptoms had returned, which was both distressing and confusing!
If the Oestrodose doesn’t work for you
Menopause specialists say it’s perfectly safe to continue taking Oestrodose if you find it’s effective at relieving your menopausal symptoms. But, if you do need an alternative, follow these steps:
Ask your GP to clearly state ‘Oestrogel’ on your prescription instead of ‘0.06% Estrodiol.’
Your GP could also write ‘No PI’ to ensure no parallel import (such as Oestrodose) is prescribed in its place.
If your pharmacist tells you they can’t get hold of Oestrogel let them know there is plenty of stock at AAH, Alliance and Phoenix. They can use the PIP code 217-1775 to locate the product.
Be sure to check your estrogen gel thoroughly before leaving the pharmacy. Some parallel import products ‘over-label’ their bottles with stickers saying Oestrogel so do check that your sticker is not an over label. You may even see Oestrodose over labelled and packed in an Oestrogel box!
Whilst still in the chemist; if you’ve been given the wrong product; you can either take the Oestrodose on that occasion (to ensure you have the HRT you need), or you can hand it back and ask for your prescription to be returned to you.
If you have an electronic prescription; ask them to send it back to ‘the spine’. This means they can give you a token code that can be taken to a different pharmacist.
If you’re UK based and do experience clear changes in effectiveness when using Oestrodose rather than Oestrogel please report this on the government yellow card scheme HERE
There is nothing to worry about if you have been prescribed Oestrodose so please do still continue to take your HRT regime as prescribed. It is merely a reminder that if your symptoms do start to return then this may be a factor.
That’s the low-down ladies!
Now you know what I know.
Jane Pangbourne is an HRT Educator, accredited nutritionist and Founder of the menopause support service; Menopausal Not Mad
When you need more help with your hormones, your symptoms, or your HRT choice, you can book a consultation via the services page HERE