The first Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) treatment available without a prescription can be purchased at over 590 Boots stores over the counter and on boots.com as a pharmacy medicine from today. The same treatment continues to be available to patients with an NHS prescription for it.
Gina 10 microgram vaginal tablets is a locally acting oestrogen HRT and the only treatment available without a prescription that is clinically proven to target and treat the cause of vaginal atrophy and its associated symptoms after the menopause.
Gina was reclassified from a prescription only medicine to a pharmacy medicine by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) earlier this year following an application by license holder Novo Nordisk.
Boots is the very first pharmacy to offer Gina without a prescription and says the move is a landmark moment for women’s health and will make the treatment more convenient to access.
Anne Higgins, Pharmacy Director at Boots, said:“ Boots has been supporting women for over 170 years and today is another important milestone in women’s health. As a pharmacy medicine, Gina is more accessible to patients as they no longer need a prescription from their GP. Boots pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals and from today our pharmacy teams can offer this treatment to patients following a short consultation with no appointment needed.”
Suitable for women aged 50 and over who haven’t had a period in at least a year, Gina treats and relieves the symptoms of vaginal atrophy, which is the thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal wall due to reduced oestrogen levels in the body as a result of menopause. Symptoms include vaginal dryness, itching, burning, soreness and uncomfortable sex.
Gina is a small vaginal tablet that comes in a pre-loaded applicator that delivers a low dose of oestrogen directly to the vaginal wall, replacing lost oestrogen where it is needed, providing symptom relief from eight to 12 weeks. Before purchasing the treatment, patients will have a consultation with a pharmacist, who will ask them a few questions to ensure it is suitable for them. If purchasing via boots.com, access to treatment is also subject to an online consultation.*
Bina Mehta, a pharmacist at Boots, said:“Oestrogen levels decline after the menopause and can lead to changes in vaginal health that cause uncomfortable symptoms like vaginal dryness and itching. Unlike other menopause symptoms, these are usually chronic and progressive and will not resolve without treatment. Applied directly to the vagina, Gina works by gradually releasing a low dose of oestrogen into the vaginal tissue to improve flexibility and elasticity and replenish moisture.
“Menopause is a natural process and everyone’s experience is different. I encourage those who are going through any stage of the menopause to come and speak to their local pharmacist for personalised advice and recommendations alongside guidance, where appropriate, on how to optimise HRT treatments – we are here to help!”
It is available at Boots as a pack of 24 vaginal tablets for £29.99, which works out to £2.50 per week**, and will be stocked at all Boots stores by the end of October. The same treatment continues to be available to patients with an NHS prescription for it, so it is still available to those who are prescribed it for the price of the prescription or free to those patients who do not pay for their prescriptions.
As the leading health and beauty retailer, Boots is uniquely placed to help women through the perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause and offers support for over 40 signs and symptoms. As well as speaking to their local Boots pharmacist for advice and support, customers can discover a range of services and menopause products by symptom on boots.com.
Boots and No7 are both independently accredited as Menopause Friendly Employers. They also cover the cost of NHS prescriptions for HRT for its team members in England, which is offered alongside other initiatives to support employees through this life stage.
* Patients will be asked to provide answers to several questions and their answers will be reviewed by a pharmacist to ensure the medicine is suitable for them.
** £2.50 per week once on the maintenance dose of two vaginal tablets per week. £4.28 per week on the initial dose when beginning the treatment. For the initial dose, use one vaginal tablet each day for the first two weeks of treatment, after that use one vaginal tablet twice a week, leaving three or four days between each dose. One pack of Gina contains 24 pessaries.