What is Sandrena?
Sandrena is a gel that contains estradiol – a synthetic version of the hormone oestrogen. Sandrina is most commonly used as hormone replacement therapy for women with oestrogen deficiency that are experiencing life-altering symptoms of the menopause. Women who’ve had their ovaries removed may also experience these symptoms.
Oestrogen is usually produced in the ovaries, but as you get older, the ovaries start to produce less and less of the hormone, causing symptoms such as:
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Hot flushes
- Vaginal dryness
Using a synthetic form of oestrogen to replace the hormone that the body can’t produce reverses these symptoms until the menopause has passed. Sandrena is one way of achieving this.
Sandrena comes in gel form, and is available in two strengths:
- 0.5mg estradiol
- 1mg estradiol
Your doctor will usually prescribe the lowest dose possible that manages your symptoms for the shortest amount of time. This is the same with any form of HRT due to its associated risks.
Sandrena is for transdermal use, meaning that it’s applied to the skin unlike other forms of HRT that are ingested.
Who can take Sandrena?
As Sandrena is an oestrogen-only treatment, it’s only recommended to be taken on its own for women that have had a hysterectomy. If you still have your womb, you’ll have to also take progestogen pills for 12-14 consecutive days a month. Progestogen is a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone, which is also usually produced in the ovaries. The reason you’ll need to take both together if you haven’t had a hysterectomy is to reduce the risk of womb cancer. Using oestrogen on its own can increase a woman’s risk of developing this type of cancer, but when used in conjunction with progesterone, the risk is reduced again.
There are other women that will have to be careful before starting treatment on Sandrena (or any other type of HRT for that matter).
HRT has been known to include some risks, so doctors will only really prescribe it to women whose symptoms are markedly affecting their quality of life. For example, if night sweats are seriously affecting your sleep, and if your mood swings are compromising your mental health. However, if you have any of the following medical conditions, you might not be a suitable candidate for HRT treatment due to its associated risks:
- Uterine fibroids
- Blood clots
- Personal or family history of breast cancer
- Personal of family history of oestrogen-sensitive cancers (womb, ovarian)
- High blood pressure
- Liver disorders
- Migraines or severe headaches
- Systematic lupus erythematosus
- Endometrial hyperplasia
If you feel that you need medical treatment for your symptoms but have any of the above conditions, please make an appointment with your doctor. They will evaluate your personal and family medical history and make a decision as to whether HRT is a safe option for symptom management.
What are the side effects of Sandrena?
All forms of HRT can cause side effects, especially as they’re hormonal drugs. Sandrena is no exception to this. Some of the recognised risks with all types of HRT are:
- Breast cancer
- Abnormal growth on womb lining (endometrial hyperplasia)
- Cancer of the womb lining (womb cancer)
- Ovarian cancer
- Blood clots in veins of the legs or the lungs
- Heart disease
- Potential memory loss if started over the age of 65
Other than this, some of the most commonly reported side effects are:
- Tender breasts
- Weight changes
- Abdominal pain
- Changes to your sex drive
- Changes to your mood
- Increased sweating
- Bleeding or spotting
- Hot flushes
- Swollen feet
With Sandrena being a transdermal treatment, some women may also notice skin irritation at the site of application. This is why the manufacturers advise to swap which leg you apply it to every day.
Because HRT can cause blood clots, you may be asked to stop using Sandrena for a few weeks if you’re due to have an operation or you may be immobile for some time. This is just for your own safety and you should discuss alternative treatments for symptom management with your doctor in good time.
In addition to these side effects, you should stop using Sandrena or any HRT medicine if you notice any of the following symptoms of conditions:
- Deterioration in liver function
- New onset of migraines or severe headaches
- If you become pregnant
How do you use Sandrena?
Sandrena comes in sachets, and one sachet should be used each day (unless you’re prescribed 1.5mg. In this case, you should use a 1mg sachet and a 0.5mg sachet).
Make sure your skin is clean and dry before use with no other lotions or gels applied (this may minimise the effects of Sandrena and you might not feel the full benefit of the medicine).
The gel should be applied to the lower side of your outer thigh, and should cover an area that’s roughly twice the size of your hand. Only apply the gel to one leg, as you’ll need to swap sides on alternate days. This is just to avoid skin irritation in one area.
Let the gel dry for around 5 minutes before covering the area with clothes, and don’t bathe or shower for around an hour. Because of this, it might be best to apply the gel after a shower in the morning.
An overdose is unlikely with transdermal treatment, especially if you stick to the stated dose, but the symptoms are:
- Anxious and irritable
- Withdrawal bleeding
- Tender breasts
If you do experience an overdose, symptoms should subside when the dose is reduced back down to normal.
Does Sandrena interact with any other medicines?
There are some medications that be affected by Sandrena or vice versa, so if you’re taking any of the medicines on the following list, you should talk to your GP before considering HRT as a treatment option:
- Epilepsy medicines such as phenobarbital, phenytoin and carbamazepine
- Tuberculosis treatments such as rifampicin and rifabutin
- HIV medicines that include nevirapine, efavirenz, ritonavir and nelfinavir
- St John’s Wort (hypericum perforatum) – a herbal remedy.
How long will Sandrena take to work?
Guidelines suggest giving any form of HRT around 3 months to work and feel the full potential of the medicine, but many women experience reduced symptoms within a few weeks. If you don’t notice a difference within 3 months, contact your doctor to see what other options are available to you.
Will Sandrena stop me getting pregnant?
No. Sandrena isn’t a contraceptive despite containing a similar hormone to the ones found in birth control. If your last period was less than 12 months ago you’re still able to become pregnant, so we advise using barrier methods such as condoms or other non-hormonal methods of contraception to prevent pregnancy.
How long will I need to use Sandrena for?
This completely depends on your symptoms. Some women find they only need to use HRT for a few months, whilst others find they need it for a few years until their symptoms subside. Your GP should monitor you regularly if you’re using HRT but generally you’ll be prescribed the lowest dose possible for the shortest time possible.
How is my order shipped to me?
When an order is ready for shipping, it is collected and delivered by either the Royal Mail or DPD depending on your preference (or possibly your location or the item you ordered). Each order is assigned a tracking number, which will be emailed to you at the time of dispatch. Your medicine will be sent in plain and discreet packaging that’s eco-friendly. We do not include any branding on our packaging nor any labels which inform readers what type of product is contained within.
Advice on Addiction and Medication Restrictions
If you are at all worried or concerned about an addiction to any type of medication, we urge you to speak to a professional for help and advice. Below are links to organisations that can help.
Talk To Frank
NHS Help & Advice On Drug Addiction