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Have a question about your health?

Ask the Pharmacist

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Your Express Scripts Canada pharmacist is a healthcare professional with a wealth of knowledge on a wide range of health topics. If you have a question about your health or medication, chances are, your Express Scripts Canada pharmacist knows the answer.

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I've been prescribed hormone replacement therapy by my doctor. Can you tell me what to expect?

Answer from Express Scripts Canada Pharmacist, Janice Savini:

Ask the Pharmacist – Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hi I'm Janice Savini, your Express Scripts Canada pharmacist. Welcome to Ask the Pharmacist. Our patient sent in this question:

I've been prescribed hormone replacement therapy by my doctor. Can you tell me what to expect?


During menopause or perimenopause, your estrogen levels fall.  Some women experience uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, trouble sleeping, vaginal dryness and low libido. Hormone Replacement Therapy is widely viewed as the most effective treatment for menopause symptoms.

If you’ve been prescribed Hormone Replacement Therapy, it’s critical that you keep the lines of communication open with your healthcare professionals.

Like all medications, Hormone Replacement Therapy may be associated with some risks. These risks depend on a few factors, including what type of hormone therapy you are using, the dose, and how long the therapy lasts. Because of these risks, you and your health care team should periodically re-evaluate what benefits you are getting from the therapy, and make sure that the benefits outweigh the risks. Needless to say, regular follow-up care is essential, and be sure to work with a doctor who knows your medical history because they will be able to tell you about your specific risks.

There are a variety of Hormone Replacement Therapy medications available. Working together with your doctor and pharmacist, you will be able to find the right one for you. Hormone Replacement Therapy is available in many forms such as tablets, patches, vaginal creams and vaginal rings.

The goal is to use the lowest dose for the shortest time that will relieve your symptoms. Depending on your age, the nature and severity of your symptoms and your health history, your doctor will tailor the therapy to minimize the risks and maximize the benefits.

There are also some non-prescription or over-the-counter products for menopause symptoms. Make sure you talk to your doctor or pharmacist before trying any of them. There may be some important drug interactions with either your Hormone Replacement Therapy or other medications you may be taking.

Menopause can be a challenging time, and medication can help, but in order to remain healthy and limit your symptoms, it’s also essential to continue to make healthy choices. Some lifestyle choices include regular physical activity, a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol, and managing your stress.

If Hormone Replacement Therapy does not significantly reduce your menopause symptoms, review your treatment options with a doctor or pharmacist.

Everyone experiences menopause a little differently, and so communication with your doctor is critical to ensure your treatment is the right one for you. During the therapy, make sure to tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you notice any changes in your health, like weight loss or pain that doesn’t go away.

Until next time, this has been another episode of Ask the Pharmacist. I wish you good health.

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Disclaimer: The information provided is not a substitute for medical or professional advice, judgment, diagnosis or treatment or a recommendation or endorsement for any health care provider, product, procedure, service or other information that may be mentioned. Reliance on any information is solely at the user’s own risk. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. In no event will Express Scripts Canada be liable for any loss or damages of any kind resulting from user’s access to or use of the information on this web site or use of any information contained in linked web sites.
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