A doctor will review your order and write you a prescription, if appropriate. This prescription is then forwarded to a pharmacy. The pharmacy will have your medicine delivered to you within one to three working days. Read more about this process here.
Women have a lot to put up with when it comes to menstrual health, as if PMT, cramps, bloating etc. during childbearing years weren’t enough – when these are over suffering strikes again in the form of the menopause. The menopause usually starts sometime between the ages of 45-55, with the average age in the UK being 51. It starts when your body runs out of eggs from your ovaries.
There are three stages of menopause:
- Perimenopause – the time when your periods are becoming less frequent and lighter, lasts on average 4 years.
- Menopause – Once your last period finishes, the average age in the UK is 51.
- Postmenopause – menopause ends one full year after your last period but it usually takes 2 to 5 years for symptoms to stop.
It’s a gradual process and can take anything from 6 months to 13 years to fully run its course and come to an end. As the ovaries stop producing eggs, they also stop producing the hormone oestrogen, which lowers the levels of this hormone in your blood. Low levels of oestrogen are responsible for many of the unpleasant symptoms of menopause like:
- hot flushes
- vaginal dryness
- lower sex drive
- night sweats
- difficulty sleeping
- mood changes
- joint pain or stiffness
- frequent urinary tract infections
- reduced muscle mass
Low levels of oestrogen can also leave you susceptible to diseases like osteoporosis as your bones can become fragile. There are certain lifestyle changes that can help to ease some of the symptoms of menopause:
- maintain a healthy lifestyle;
- eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of nutrients;
- exercise for 30 mins a day at least 5 times a week;
- limit your alcohol intake;
- lose any excess weight.
The suggestions above can help ease sleep problems and improve your mood as well as generally giving you more energy and zest for life. When it comes to coping with hot flushes you can try the following:
- dress in comfortable, layered clothing so that you can remove a layer if you become too hot;
- avoid caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods as these can be triggers;
- take a cool shower;
- open windows and allow air to circulate.
Some women use complementary or herbal medicines as a way to help alleviate the symptoms but be careful, it is unclear how effective or safe these are not regulated in the same way as conventional medicines. Although these tips for coping can be helpful there are times when they simply aren’t sufficient and menopausal symptoms are getting in the way of you living your life to the fullest. If that’s the case then you may want to consider seeking medical assistance.
The main medicine available in the UK for relieving menopausal symptoms is Hormone Replacement Therapy. As the name suggests the treatment contains the female hormone oestrogen or a combination of oestrogen and progesterone in an attempt to re-balance the body’s supply and restore the levels of these hormones in the blood. Not all HRT treatments are taken the same way, some are taken continuously others alter along with your menstrual cycle. It’s often a case of trial and error when it comes to finding the right treatment for you, whether that’s a single hormone or combined hormones. It will also depend on which of the symptoms are affecting your life the most. You always start with the lowest dose and increase if you need to.
It is also important to know that if you are taking an oestrogen preparation then it is important to take progesterone in order to protect the uterus from uterine cancer ( if you have not had a hysterectomy) There are also different ways of getting the hormones into your bloodstream: tablets, patches, vaginal creams, gels, pessaries and rings.
Elleste Solo is one of these treatments and it comes as both a tablet and a transdermal patch. To find out more about whether this treatment would suit you read on.
What is Elleste Solo?
Elleste is a Hormone Replacement Therapy to help you with the symptoms of menopause. It contains the hormone oestrogen (Estradiol). The menopause causes the level of oestrogen in your blood to drop when your ovaries are no longer producing eggs. This can lead to unpleasant side effects like night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, hot flushes and more. When these symptoms are moderate many women find they can cope with a few lifestyle changes, but in others, they are severe and disrupt daily life. Elleste Solo has been developed to replace the oestrogen and get you back into leading a normal, active life. Elleste Solo is an oestrogen-only HRT.
When is Elleste Solo used?
Elleste Solo is used to relieving the symptoms that occur after the menopause such as hot flushes. It is only prescribed if these symptoms seriously limit your daily life. Elleste Solo can also be used in higher doses to prevent the onset of osteoporosis where other medicines are not suitable.
How do you use Elleste Solo?
When taking any prescribed medication, always follow the instructions given to you by your doctor. Elleste Solo comes both as a patch and as a tablet, for the tablet:
- Start on the first day you start bleeding on a new cycle if you are still having periods.
- Start straight away if you are no longer having periods.
Swallow the tablet whole with water around the same time every day.
For the patch:
- Start within five days of starting your period if you are still having them.
- Start straight away if you are no longer having periods.
- Ensure the skin where you are placing the patch is clean, dry, unbroken and free from any rashes or irritation.
- Remove the patch from its sealed sachet.
- Take off the small piece of shiny backing, followed by the larger one.
- Place the patch below the waistline, e.g. lower back or buttock.
- Press firmly for 10 -20 second.
- Change your patch twice a week
When correctly applied the patch should stay in place whilst swimming, running, bathing etc.
What dosages are there?
Both Elleste Solo patches and tablets come in 2 different strengths:
- The patches come in 40mcg and 80mcg strengths
- The tablets come in 1mg and 2mg strengths
You should always be prescribed the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time required. The larger doses are usually aimed at preventing osteoporosis rather than regulating menopausal symptoms.
- Take one tablet (whichever strength you are prescribed) once a day with a glass of water
- Aim to take it at the same time every day
- The pack is marked with arrows to show you which pill to take next, the days of the week are also marked to help you remember to take one each day.
If you forget to take Elleste Solo at your usual time, take it as soon as you remember unless you are more than 12 hours late in which case simply skip this dose. Do not take a double dose. Skipping a dose may cause breakthrough bleeding if you haven’t had a hysterectomy. If you take too many tablets it is unlikely to cause serious harm but you may feel or be sick, feel drowsy or experience some bleeding.
No matter which strength patch you are using, the standard dose is one patch twice a week. Change your patch on the same two days each week, e.g. Monday and Thursday. This will help you remember to do so. If for any reason your patch becomes unstuck before it is due to be changed, change it anyway and then change it again on the usual day. If you use the patches properly it is virtually impossible to get an overdose of Estradiol, however, if you are worried please seek medical assistance.
What are the side effects of Elleste Solo?
As with all medicines, Elleste Solo comes with some side effects although not everyone using it will experience them. There are more reported cases of the following in women using HRT compared to women who aren’t:
- breast cancer
- cancer of the womb lining
- blood clots in the legs veins or lungs
- •heart disease
- memory loss
If you experience any of the following, stop using Elleste Solo and contact your doctor immediately:
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the white of the eyes)
- new migraine
- unexplained epileptic fit
- painful swelling in your leg, sudden chest pain or difficulty breathing – may be signs of a blood clot
- fainting or collapsing
- loss of vision/partial vision
- hearing problems
Common side effects, affecting up to 1 in 10 people are:
- breakthrough bleeding
- irregular cycles
- changes in weight
- oedema (fluid retention)
- breast tenderness or swelling
- mood swings
- changes in sex drive
- rashes or itching
When shouldn’t you use Elleste Solo?
If you have or have ever had any of the following you shouldn’t take Elleste Solo:
- breast cancer
- cancer of the womb lining
- unexplained vaginal bleeding
- excessive thickening of the womb lining
- blood clots in a vein
- heart attack, stroke or angina
- liver disease
- a blood clotting disorder
If you are allergic to Estradiol or any of the other ingredients listed on the pack you should avoid using Elleste Solo If you have or have ever had any of the following you should take extra precautions and have regular check-ups whilst taking Elleste Solo as it can worsen these conditions:
- high blood pressure
- a disease of the immune system
- otosclerosis (a hearing problem)
- fluid retention due to cardiac or kidney issues
- increased risk of developing blood clots or an oestrogen sensitive cancer (breast, womb etc)
- a history of excessive thickening of the womb lining
Does Elleste Solo interact with other medications?
Some medicines may interfere with Elleste Solo and can cause irregular bleeding. These medicines are:
- medicines for epilepsy
- medicines for tuberculosis
- drugs that prevent harmful blood clots
- medicines that treat Parkinson
- medicines for HIV infection
- herbal remedies containing St John’s Wort
Where can you buy Elleste Solo?
You can buy Elleste Solo from pharmacies nationwide, you can order discreetly from an online pharmacy and have it delivered to your door or simply pick it up at your local pharmacy.
Can I get Elleste Solo without a prescription?
No, you will need a prescription to buy Elleste Solo. You can talk to your regular doctor or organise an online consultation if you find that easier.
Brazier, Yvette What you need to know about HRT (May 2017) Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/181726.php
Irani, Shirin Consultant Gynaecologist Menopause (2019) Retrieved from https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/womens-health/menopause
Mylan Products Ltd Elleste Solo MX Patient Leaflet (May 2018) https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.6351.pdf
NHS UK Hormone Replacement Therapy (July 2016) Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt/
NHS UK Menopause Treatment (August 2018) Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/treatment/
Piramal Healthcare (UK) Ltd Elleste Solo Patient Leaflet (December 2018) Retrieved from https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.9512.pdf