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Femseven

Femseven is part of a range of treatments called hormone replacement therapies (HRTs) designed to help women cope with the effects of going through the menopause. When the menopause happens, the ovaries stop producing oestrogen, causing a drop in the overall amount of oestrogen in your body, and this can lead to a variety of unpleasant symptoms including hot flushes, low libido, frequent urinary tract infections, mood swings, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, headaches and anxiety.

The menopause is a natural process for women and usually happens between the ages of 45 to 55. Often it brings with it a range of rather unpleasant side effects such as hot flushes, difficulty sleeping, lower sex drive and irritability, among others. For some women, a few simple lifestyle changes can help them to cope during these times, while for others, life becomes unbearable. Fortunately, there are a variety of HRTs available to help, from creams to pills and patches and even other devices. Some target specific side effects of menopause while others cover a whole range of them. Some contain both oestrogen, others oestrogen and progesterone. Finding the right HRT for you can be a process of trial and error, but arranging an in-depth consultation with a doctor is a good way to start the process.

What is Femseven?

Femseven is part of a range of treatments called hormone replacement therapies (HRTs) designed to help women cope with the effects of going through the menopause. When the menopause happens, the ovaries stop producing oestrogen, causing a drop in the overall amount of oestrogen in your body, and this can lead to a variety of unpleasant symptoms including hot flushes, low libido, frequent urinary tract infections, mood swings, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, headaches and anxiety.

Some women may be able to cope with these symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes, for example exercising for 30 minutes a day at least five times a week, eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of nutrients, dressing in comfortable layered clothing, so you can remove a layer if need be, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, limiting alcohol intake, losing excess weight, taking a cool showers, opening windows when possible, and avoiding caffeine and spicy food. For others however, the symptoms of menopause can drastically affect their ability to lead a normal life. For these women, it is likely that an HRT will be prescribed. Nevertheless, it is always worth trying the above-mentioned changes, even if you are taking an HRT.

Femseven is one such treatment and contains the active ingredient oestradiol hemihydrate, a female oestrogen which helps to balance the hormones in your body, reversing the drop in natural oestrogen and in turn alleviating some of the unpleasant effects of the menopause.

When is Femseven used?

Femseven is used to combat the symptoms of menopause when they are seriously affecting your ability to lead a normal life. Femseven is usually prescribed for women who have undergone a hysterectomy. If you have not had a hysterectomy, you will need to take some kind of progesterone alongside using Femseven to help prevent problems with the womb lining. Femseven is also used to prevent osteoporosis where other treatments may be unsuitable.

How do you use Femseven?

Femseven comes as a transdermal patch – a sticky patch applied to the skin below the waist and left in place for seven days. The medication is contained within the sticky part of the patch and will gradually be released over the course of the seven days (at 50 micrograms every 24 hours for Femseven 50, 75 micrograms every 24 hours for Femseven 75 and so on.)

To apply your Femseven patch, carefully remove the individual patch from its packet. Peel off half of the protective backing at the ‘S-shaped’ notch, and avoid touching the adhesive side of the Femseven HRT patch with your fingers, as this may affect its ability to stick and stay in place. Decide where to place the Femseven HRT patch. It should be below the waist and not in areas where it may rub against clothing (sich as the waist itself) – opt for a place where it is more likely to stay in place, like your buttocks, hips or abdomen, also avoid any red or broken skin or oily patches. Remove the other half of the protective backing and press the patch firmly against your skin with the palm of your hand for at least 30 seconds. The warmth of your skin will help to fix the patch in place. Once in place you can shower, swim and exercise as normal.

After seven days, you will need to remove the Femseven HRT patch and apply another. Lift off one edge of the patch and pull it off. Fold the patch’s sticky sides together (to prevent any leftover medication from escaping) and throw it away in your normal rubbish bin. You should then apply a new Femseven HRT patch in a different location.

If your Femseven HRT patch comes off before the seven days are up, you will need to apply a new patch in a different location. Once applied, leave this replacement patch in place for seven days and then continue the seven-day cycle as normal.

What dosages are there?

Femseven patches come in three different strengths: 50 micrograms, 75 micrograms and 100 micrograms. All of the Femseven HRT patches are worn for seven continuous days before changing for a new patch. The release the number of micrograms mentioned on the pack continuously over the space of 24-hours. For example, Femseven 50 releases 50 micrograms of estradiol hemihydrate per 24 hours.

There are no breaks or rest periods with Femseven HRT patches – you switch each patch with the next. With all HRTs, you should aim to take the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time. Your doctor will decide which dose is most suitable for you, and you may need to adjust the dose once you start if you find you can take a lower dose or need a higher one.

What are the side effects of Femseven?

As with all medication, Femseven HRT patches come with the risk of some side effects, although of course not everyone using Femseven will get them. The following diseases have been reported more often in women using HRT compared to women not using HRT:

  • Ovarian cancer;
  • Cancer of the lining of the womb or abnormal growth in the womb;
  • Breast cancer;
  • Heart disease;
  • Stroke;
  • Blood clots;
  • Loss of memory.

The most common side effects are:

  • Eczema;
  • Itching;
  • Red skin;
  • Urticaria;
  • Swelling (oedema);
  • Changes to the skin’s pigmentation.

Usually, these reactions are mild and disappear a few days after the patch has been removed.

The following side effects occur in up to 1 in 10 people:

  • Breast pain or swelling;
  • Headaches.

The following side effects occur in up to 1 in 100 people:

  • Joint pain;
  • Leg cramps;
  • Increased sweating;
  • Hair loss or increase;
  • Dizziness;
  • Migraine;
  • Tingling in fingers or toes;
  • Anxiety;
  • Depression;
  • Increased appetite;
  • Insomnia;
  • Nausea;
  • Indigestion;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Chest pain;
  • Blood pressure increase or decrease;
  • Swelling;
  • Change in weight;
  • Tiredness;
  • Vein disorders;
  • Breakthrough bleeding;
  • Vaginal discharge.

The following side effects may occur in up to 1 in 1,000 people:

  • Worsening benign growths in the womb (uterine fibroids).

If you experience serious side effects then speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

When should you not use Femseven?

If you have or have ever had any of the following then you should not use Femseven:

  • Breast cancer;
  • Any cancer sensitive to oestrogens (for example, cancer of the lining of the womb);
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding;
  • A blood clotting disorder;
  • A recent disease caused by blood clots in the arteries like a recent heart attack, stroke or angina;
  • A blood clot in a vein;
  • Liver disease;
  • Excessive thickening of the womb lining;
  • A rare blood problem called porphyria;
  • If you are allergic to estradiol hemihydrate or any of the other ingredients listed on the packet.

If you experience any of the conditions listed above for the first time while using Femseven, you should stop the treatment and seek immediate medical assistance.

If you have ever had any of the health issues listed below, you should discuss this carefully with your doctor before starting treatment with Femseven as you may require more frequent check- ups:

  • Growth of the womb lining outside your womb;
  • A history of abnormal growth of the womb lining;
  • Fibroids inside your womb;
  • Increased risk of developing blood clots;
  • Increased risk of getting oestrogen- sensitive cancer;
  • High blood pressure;
  • Gallstones;
  • Diabetes;
  • Migraine or severe headaches;
  • Asthma;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Hereditary angioedema;
  • Fluid retention due to cardiac or kidney problems;
  • A disease of the immune system that affects many organs in the body (systemic lupus);
  • A disease affecting the eardrum and hearing,
  • A very high level of fat in your blood.

Does Femseven interact with other medications?

Always discuss any medication you are currently taking with your doctor, even herbal remedies and supplements, as these may interfere with the effect of Femseven and could cause issues such as irregular bleeding. Some examples of more common drugs that interact with Femseven HRT patches are:

  • Medicines for tuberculosis;
  • Medicines for HIV;
  • Medicines for epilepsy;
  • Herbal remedies containing St John’s Wort.

Where can you buy Femseven?

You can buy Femseven from any reputable pharmacy, so choose one that is convenient for you. Pop into your local pharmacy or supermarket pharmacy or order online for delivery at your convenience. A recent blood pressure reading will be needed.

Can I get Femseven without a prescription?

No, you cannot purchase Femseven without a prescription. HRT requires careful monitoring and comes with a warning of serious side effects and risks, so you will need frequent check-ups throughout your treatment. You can visit your regular surgery or arrange an online consultation with a doctor to discuss your medical history and decide on the right HRT for you.

Sources:

Brazier, Y. (2017). Hormone replacement therapy: Uses, types, and alternatives. [online] Medical News Today. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/181726.php#types [Accessed 7 Jan 2020].

NHS (2019). Hormone replacement therapy (HRT). [online] nhs.uk. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hormone- replacement-therapy-hrt/ [Accessed 7 Jan 2020].

NHS UK (2018). Menopause – Treatment. [online] nhs.uk. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/treatment/ [Accessed 7 Jan 2020].

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