What is Livial?
Livial tablets are a form of HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy). Women are prescribed HRT medications when their quality of life is affected by their menopause symptoms.
Livial can also be prescribed to women at an increased risk of developing fractures due to osteoporosis. It will only be prescribed to these women if other medications aren’t suitable.
Livial is only prescribed to postmenopausal women who last had a natural period more than 12 months ago.
You shouldn’t take Livial if you’ve ever had:
- Breast cancer
- Cancer that is sensitive to oestrogens
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Thickening of the womb lining
- A blood clot in the veins of the legs or the lungs
- A blood clotting disorder
- Diseases caused by blood clots such as heart attack, stroke or angina
- Liver disease
You also shouldn’t take Livial if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the tablets, or if you’re pregnant, think you might be pregnant, or you’re breastfeeding.
How does Livial work?
As women grow older, their production of the hormones oestrogen and progestogen can decrease or fluctuate. This is what triggers the menopause and the symptoms associated with it such as sudden hot flushes and mood swings.
Livial is different to other kinds of HRT. Instead of containing only oestrogen or a combination of oestrogen and progestogen, it contains an ingredient called tibolone. This is broken down by the body to make the hormones that it’s missing. Livial works in a similar way to combined HRT.
You will have no monthly bleed when taking Livial tablets but you may have some irregular bleeding or spotting during the first 6 months of taking this medication. If it continues after 6 months, you should speak to your doctor.
How do you take Livial?
You should always take the dose of Livial HRT treatment that your doctor has prescribed. The standard Livial dosage is one tablet per day, and you should swallow your tablet with some water and without chewing it.
You should take your Livial tablet at the same time each day. The tablets are marked with the days of the week, so when you start a pack you should take a pill that corresponds to the current day of the week from the top row. Follow the arrows until you have taken all the HRT pills in the strip. Start a new strip the next day.
If you forget to take your tablet at the usual time, take it as soon as you remember unless you are 12 hours late. If you are more than 12 hours late taking a tablet, skip it and take your next tablet at the correct time. You should never take a double dose to make up for a forgotten tablet.
When you start taking Livial for the first time, you should follow these guidelines:
- If you have had a natural period in the last 12 months, you shouldn’t take Livial. It should be at least 12 months since your last natural period.
- You can start taking Livial straight away if you’ve never used HRT before, if you’re changing from a form of HRT that doesn’t give you a monthly bleed, if you’ve been prescribed HRT because you had a hysterectomy, or if you are being treated for endometriosis.
- If you are taking a kind of HRT that gives you a monthly bleed, you should wait until the end of your next period before starting Livial.
How effective is Livial?
Livial HRT tablets are clinically proven to help ease menopause symptoms as long as they are taken as prescribed by your doctor.
With any HRT treatment, your doctor will want to make sure you are on the lowest dose possible for the shortest amount of time to control your symptoms. For this reason it’s important you see your GP at least annually so they can monitor your symptoms accurately.
You should also make sure you have your breasts screened regularly, as well as carrying out regular checks yourself. You should also make sure that your cervical smear tests are up to date.
There are certain lifestyle changes you can make to help your medication work efficiently. These include exercising regularly, giving up smoking, eating as healthily as you can (including cutting down on caffeinated drinks, alcohol and spicy foods) and trying to reduce your stress levels.
What are the main side effects of Livial?
Like all medicines, Livial HRT can cause side effects, although not everyone will experience them. HRT treatments generally cause temporary side effects, but it’s important to speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Three of the most common side effects of Livial are:
- Breast pain
- Stomach or pelvic pain
- Unusual hair growth
For a full list of Livial side effects, please see the patient information leaflet.
Because HRT tablets can increase your likelihood of developing a blood clot whilst HRT patches and gels don’t, you should be sure that you have discussed all the risks with your doctor before starting HRT.
The following diseases are more likely to be reported in women taking HRT than those that aren’t:
- Breast cancer
- Endometrial hyperplasia / cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Blood clots in the veins of the legs or lungs
- Heart disease
- Memory loss (if HRT is started over the age of 65)