The first HRT treatment available without a prescription has gone on sale at Boots pharmacies and online, and will be available in independent pharmacies later this month.

The Gina 10 microgram vaginal tablets (estradiol), which is the first HRT treatment available without a prescription, was made available at over 590 Boots pharmacies and online on their website, before being rolled out to the remainder of Boots stores and independent pharmacies.

This follows its reclassification from a prescription only medicine (POM) to a pharmacy medicine (P) by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) earlier this year, after an application by license holder Novo Nordisk.

Anne Higgins, pharmacy director at Boots, described the moment as an ‘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,’ she added.

Dr Paula Briggs, chair of the British Menopause Society said: ‘The BMS welcomes the introduction of this product which is likely to improve women’s access to treatment. Estradiol vaginal tablets have been available on prescription for over 30 years and have a wealth of efficacy and safety data.

‘Urogenital atrophy is one of the most common challenges women face after the menopause and this reclassification means they can now access a low dose vaginal oestrogen which treats the underlying cause of vaginal atrophy, at their local pharmacy.’

A survey by Novo Nordisk found that 47% of women suffer from vaginal dryness, but 63% did not seek treatment, despite options being available from pharmacists and GPs. Six in ten women surveyed said that they felt embarrassed about vaginal dryness.

A spokesperson for Novo Nordisk said: ‘Pharmacists are uniquely placed to educate women about how they can treat their post-menopausal vaginal symptoms and offer them the help they deserve.

‘Ahead of Gina being available for pharmacy sale, there is a comprehensive pharmacy team training programme, including support materials to assess the suitability of Gina and guidelines for when women should be referred to their GP.’

They continued: ‘Before Gina, all treatments for the cause of vaginal atrophy required a prescription, and the survey results reveal that 78% of women do not discuss their vaginal atrophy symptoms with a healthcare professional. Novo Nordisk hopes that Gina being available over the counter will increase the accessibility of treatment for vaginal atrophy.'

Gina is available at Boots as a pack of 24 vaginal tablets for £29.99. The medication continues to be available via prescription.