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What is Novofem?
Novofem is a medicine that is used to treat the symptoms of menopause. Novofem tablets contain two active ingredients: estradiol, an oestrogen hormone, and norethisterone, a progestogen hormone. These ingredients supplement hormone deficiencies in menopausal women and relieve menopausal symptoms. This is known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Novofem is a prescription-only medicine.
What is Novofem used for?
Novofem has been designed specifically for the treatment of symptoms caused by menopause. The most common menopausal symptoms include:
- Hot flushes;
- Excessive sweating (night sweats);
- Dryness of vagina, eyes or mouth;
- Mood swings or depression;
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep;
- Loss of libido (sex drive);
- Osteoporosis (decrease in bone mass and density).
Novofem contains both estradiol, a substance that relieves menopausal symptoms, and norethisterone. The latter ingredient opposes estradiol's effect on the womb lining to reduce the risk of side effects. Novofem is especially suitable for women with an intact womb who are still having (irregular) periods.
How to use Novofem
Novofem comes in blister packs containing 28 tablets. The red tablets taken in the first 16 days of each Novofem cycle contain only estradiol. The white tablets taken in the next 12 days of each cycle contain both estradiol and norethisterone. Most women will have a monthly withdrawal bleed during the last week of their cycle. You start the next pack right after you take the last tablet, even if you are still bleeding. The tablets should be taken at the same time each day with some water. They should be swallowed whole without chewing. If Novofem is used for more than two years, its use should be reviewed by a doctor.
Unless otherwise advised by a doctor, the usual dose in adult women is:
- one tablet once daily.
Always follow the prescription exactly - never use more or less than the doctor recommends. Read the package leaflet before use.
Treatment with Novofem may cause side effects. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, stomach ache or diarrhoea;
- Breakthrough bleeding (spotting);
- Vaginal discharge;
- Breast tenderness or soreness;
- Mood swings.
Most side effects will disappear with continued use. Consult a doctor if the side effects are persistent. Read the package leaflet before use. The package leaflet will also tell you that women using HRT have a slightly increased risk of serious side effects such as breast cancer and thrombosis compared with women who don't use HRT.
When not to use Novofem
Novofem is not suitable for everyone and should not be used if:
- You are allergic to estradiol, norethisterone or any other ingredient in this medicine;
- You have a known or past history of thrombosis, liver disease, breast cancer or other oestrogen-related cancer;
- You have vaginal bleeding of unknown cause or an overgrowth of the lining of the womb (endometrial hyperplasia);
- You have a serious kidney or blood disease.
Consult a doctor on the use of Novofem if you have a health condition that is not listed above or are currently on medication.
This medicine is intended for use in menopausal women. Women who are still capable of becoming pregnant should not use Novofem if pregnant or breastfeeding. Warning: Novofem is not a contraceptive pill! If necessary, you should use a contraceptive of some kind to avoid getting pregnant. Novofem does not interact with alcohol or impair your ability to drive safely.