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Novofem is a Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) suitable for postmenopausal women. Taking Novofem can help women find some relief from symptoms of the menopause and prevent osteoporosis.
Novofem can be purchased as a repeat prescription online at The Independent Pharmacy for women who have previously been prescribed it by their GP or specialist and continue to keep their regular reviews up to date.
What is Novofem?
Novofem tablets are a combined sequential form of HRT, used to treat symptoms of menopause and prevent osteoporosis in women who have an intact uterus but have not had a natural period in the last 6 months.
Combined, sequential HRT treatments are taken everyday without a break. They contain two active ingredients which relieve menopausal symptoms by imitating the two female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone.
What is Novofem used for?
During the menopause, the estrogen levels in a woman's body drop, which can cause women to experience some unwanted symptoms. Taking Novofem can help to alleviate these symptoms to help you to continue to enjoy your daily life.
Menopause symptoms include:
- Hot flushes & night sweats
- Disturbed sleep
- Reduced sex drive
- Difficulty remembering or concentrating
- Vaginal dryness
- Low mood or anxiety
- Fragile bones (osteoporosis)
How does Novofem work?
Novofem contains both red and white tablets which contain two ingredients that act in the same way as your naturally occurring sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone.
The first ingredient contained in both the red and white tablets is estradiol which is an identical form of estrogen that is produced naturally by the ovaries of women. The white Novofem tablets also contain the substance Norethisterone acetate, which is a synthetic form of progesterone.
Novofem works in the same way as other combined, sequential HRT and uses these two ingredients to mimic the natural menstrual cycle of premenopausal women to alleviate symptoms.
For the first 16 days of each pack of Novofem you will need to take a red tablet that just contains estradiol. In the next 12 days you will take a white tablet that contains both estradiol and norethisterone acetate. Most women will experience a monthly bleed at the beginning of each new pack.
Novofem and weight gain
Although Novofem, like other HRT, has been reported to cause weight gain in some people, the evidence suggests that this is more likely to be fluid retention and bloating rather than true weight gain.
During the menopause generally it is not uncommon for women to gain weight, especially around their abdomen. It is thought that this is partly due to the imbalance in hormones but is also a natural part of ageing for both males and females as you start to lose muscle mass and your metabolism slows.
Most importantly for both men and women, it is therefore essential that you always try to get enough sleep, eat healthily and exercise regularly as you get older to reduce unwanted weight gain.
Novofem and depression
A more commonly reported symptom of menopausal women is experiencing low mood. Although some women have reported to feel depressed while taking Novofem more often, taking HRT can help to alleviate feelings of both depression and anxiety.
If you are taking Novofem tablets and are suffering with low mood, anxiety or depression it is important that you speak to a doctor or nurse about how you are feeling so they can advise you appropriately about possible support.
Novofem vs Elleste Duet
Elleste Duet tablets are also a combined, sequential HRT and are produced as either 1mg or 2mg of the hormone estradiol.
Elleste Duet is currently unavailable to purchase from The Independent Pharmacy due to a nationwide shortage caused by a manufacturing delay.
If you have concerns about the current Elleste Duet shortage you should discuss treatment options with your doctor.
- Novofem Patient Information Leaflet: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/1627/pil#gref
Please read the full information regarding warnings and precautions detailed in the Patient Information Leaflet before taking Novofem.
Using any HRT treatment, including Novofem, carries risks. You should take time to consider whether you would like to take HRT or if you want to continue taking it. If you have any questions or concerns you should discuss these with your GP or specialist.
Being eligible to get Novofem on repeat prescription from The Independent Pharmacy is reliant on you continuing to see your doctor for a check-up at least once a year, this must include a breast screen, blood pressure and blood tests and a cervical smear test.
If you experience any of the following, before or while using Novofem, stop taking and consult your doctor immediately:
- You suspect or develop breast or endometrial cancer
- You have any unexplained vaginal bleeding or endometrial hyperplasia
- You have or have ever had a venous blood clot or have a clotting disorder
- You have had a heart attack, stroke or angina
If you have ever experienced any of the following, consult your doctor before starting Novofem and again if your condition worsens during treatment:
- You have recently stopped taking or are currently taking any other prescribed or non-prescribed (including herbal) medication.
- Uterine fibroids
- Endometriosis or endometrial hyperplasia
- High blood pressure or very high levels of fat in your blood
- Liver, kidney or heart disorders
- Diabetes, SLE, epilepsy or asthma
- Migraine or severe headaches
- Hereditary angioedema
Novofem and cancer
Research has highlighted that taking a combined estrogen-progestogen HRT such as Novofem can increase your risk of developing breast cancer and slightly increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer.
This risk of developing breast cancer appears to increase the longer you take HRT but does return to normal up to 5 years after stopping treatment. For this reason it is recommended that you only take HRT for the shortest amount of time to manage your symptoms.
Novofem and your circulation
Taking any form of HRT makes you 3 times more likely to experience blood clots and 1.5 times more likely to experience a stroke. If you think you are developing symptoms of a blood clot at any time call NHS 111 or are having a stroke call 999.
Novofem in pregnancy & breastfeeding
Novofem is only suitable in postmenopausal women and is not a contraceptive. If you have had a menstrual period in the last 12 months or are under 50 years old you should discuss contraception with your doctor before taking Novofem.
If you become pregnant while taking Novofem stop taking it straight away and contact your doctor. You should also not take Novofem while breastfeeding.
You should try to take Novofem at the same time each day with a glass of water.
Days 1 - 16: Take 1 red tablet once a day
Days 17 - 28: Take 1 white tablet once a day
Before taking Novofem please ensure that you have read the Patient Information Leaflet thoroughly.
Novofem tablets are for oral use only and should only be taken by women with a uterus.
You should take Novofem continuously without a break. Once you have finished your pack, start a new pack the next day.
The active ingredients in Novofem:
- Each red tablet contains 1mg of estradiol 1 mg
- Each white tablet contains 1mg of estradiol 1 mg and 1mg of norethisterone acetate
The inactive ingredients include: lactose monohydrate, maize starch, magnesium stearate.
titanium dioxide (E171), propylene glycol and red iron oxide (E172).
For a full list of ingredients included in Novofem tablets, please read the Patient Information Leaflet.
Novofem side effects
Novofem, like other medication, may cause some people to experience side effects.
If you experience severe side effects or an allergic reaction when taking Novofem, you must seek medical advice or attend your nearest emergency department as soon as possible.
If you are concerned about side effects or they are bothering you, please speak to a pharmacist or doctor for advice.
Please ensure that you have read the full list of reported side effects in the Patient Information Leaflet before starting treatment using Novofem.
You should also take time to familiarise yourself with all the warnings and precautions as Novofem, like other HRT, may increase your chances of getting certain health conditions. You should discuss any questions you have with your doctor before taking this medicine.
The most commonly reported side effects associated with Novofem are:
- Headache and migraines
- Breast tenderness
- Vaginal thrush & vaginal bleeding
- Dizziness & sleeplessness
- Indigestion, abdominal pain, wind
- Nausea & vomiting
- Rashes & itching
- Swelling of the hands, ankles and feet & muscle cramps
- Weight gain
- Changes in libido
- Hair loss
- Muscle cramps