What are Evorel patches and what are they used for?
Evorel patches gradually release hormones into the body, effectively controlling the unpleasant symptoms of menopause. The patches are perfect for patients who have difficulty swallowing pills or tablets, or for those who struggle to remember to take a regular dose of medication every day.
Evorel patches work by releasing estradiol — a chemical that mimics the female sex hormone oestrogen. Patches are available in four different strengths (25mcg, 50mcg, 75mcg, and 100mcg) and only need to be replaced twice a week.
Within a few weeks of starting treatment, menopausal symptoms should begin to ease. Therapy should only be required temporarily, as the body naturally adjusts to menopause. Breakthrough spotting or bleeding is completely normal when first using Evorel, as the body needs time to get used to the influx of new hormones. It’s also recommended that you review your HRT with your GP once per year, along with your regular gynaecological checkups.
Please note that HRT won’t prevent pregnancy in women who are fertile and it is not recommended to use hormonal contraception while undergoing HRT.
Place the patch on a dry, clean area of skin, pressing it down firmly to ensure the patch remains in place. Popular places for the patch include on the thighs or bottom. Your patch must be changed every three or four days, and this should be done on the same two days each week. It’s important not to leave an interval between patch applications, and Evorel patches should not be applied on or around the breasts, or under elasticated sections of clothing.
How does HRT work?
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment used to relieve symptoms of menopause — these symptoms can include depression, trouble sleeping, hot flushes, dryness and osteoporosis. When these symptoms are particularly severe, HRT can provide effective relief. The therapy works by replacing estrogen and progesterone hormones that the body no longer makes after menopause.
For women who have had a hysterectomy (a procedure to remove the uterus), oestrogen is the only hormone that will need to be replaced. For those who haven’t had a hysterectomy, a progestogen will be prescribed in combination with Evorel. This is because a rise in oestrogen alone will cause the lining of the uterus to grow excessively, substantially increasing the risk of endometrial cancer.
What is menopause?
Menopause usually happens between the ages of 45 — 55. At this age, the ovaries produce less oestrogen than normal, stopping the menstrual cycle. While menopause is a natural, normal part of life for women, some of the associated symptoms can be unpleasant and can have a significant impact on day-to-day life. These symptoms can include:
- Hot flushes
- Excessive sweating
- Dryness of the eyes or vagina
Experiences with menopausal symptoms vary significantly depending on the individual. They can begin multiple years before menopause itself and remain for many years. Women will, on average, experience symptoms for about four years.
Symptoms can vary widely from person to person. They may start years before menopause fully begins and can continue for an average of four years.
For non-medicinal relief of menopausal symptoms, try the following:
For vaginal dryness
For hot flushes/night sweats
- Use a fan
- Take a cold shower
- Wear light, breezy clothing
A healthy diet and regular exercise may also help to ease the severity of menopausal symptoms, along with quitting smoking.
Read the list below carefully — Evorel is unsuitable for anyone who:
- Has had breast cancer
- Has oestrogen-sensitive cancer (such as breast cancer)
- Has untreated endometrial hyperplasia
- Suffers from a blood clotting condition, or has ever had a blood clot
- Suffers from unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Has a history of heart attacks
- Has a history of strokes
- Suffers from porphyria
- Is allergic to any of the ingredients in Evorel
If you plan on using Evorel and have suffered from any of the health complications listed below, be sure to inform your GP:
- Fluid retention
- Kidney disease
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- A family history of breast cancer or another oestrogen-sensitive cancer
- Uterine problems including endometriosis or endometrial hyperplasia
- High blood pressure
- Circulation problems
- A history of severe allergic reactions.
- High fat levels in the blood
- High risk of blood clots
- Impaired liver function
Inform your GP if you take (or are planning to take) any of the medications below:
- St John’s Wort.
- Epilepsy medicines (e.g. phenytoin, carbamazepine)
- Bosentan (to reduce blood pressure in the lungs)
- HIV medicines (e.g. nevirapine, ritonavir, nelfinavir)
- Tuberculosis medicines (e.g. rifampicin)
Please note: HRT can increase the risk of breast cancer. This risk will vary based on the length of your treatment, and the kind of HRT your GP prescribes. Remember to check your breasts regularly for lumps. HRT treatment lasting longer than 5 years may also increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
In women older than 65, Evorel can also increase the risk of dementia.
If you notice early signs of any of the following, stop using Evorel and seek medical attention immediately:
- Liver disease – jaundice (yellow colouration of the skin or eyes)
- Blood clots – swelled, painful legs and difficulty breathing
- Stroke – sudden migraines and blurred vision
- Heart disease – chest pain that extends to the neck or arm
When deciding whether to begin HRT, discuss with your GP whether the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks listed above.
The active ingredient contained in Evorel is estradiol.
Evorel also contains the following inactive ingredients:
Duro-Tak 387-2287, guar gum, hostaphan MN19.
Evorel side effects:
- Stomach pain
- Joint pain
- Weight gain
- Itchy or inflamed skin where the patch is applied
- Breakthrough bleeding
- Breast pain
- Mood swings
If you experience any of these effects and become concerned, stop applying the patches and consult your GP.