Tibolone is a type of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which is used to treat the symptoms of menopause in women, including hot flushes, mood swings, reduced libido, pain or discomfort during sex, and vaginal irritation, inflammation or dryness. tibolone may also be prescribed to prevent the onset of osteoporosis in women who are unable to take other forms of HRT.
Tibolone is a synthetic steroid molecule which when broken down in the body, has the same kind of effects as oestrogen, progesterone and androgens. It therefore helps to mediate the effects of menopause which are caused by deficiency in these hormones.
During menopause, the amount of oestrogen produced by the ovaries decreases, resulting in symptoms such as mood swings, reduced libido, pain or discomfort during sex, vaginal irritation and dryness. Tibolone is a synthetic steroid which mimics the activity of the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone, and of the androgen hormone testosterone. When absorbed, tibolone is broken down into three compounds which act similarly to the body’s natural oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, restoring the body’s hormonal balance and relieving the symptoms of menopause.
The active ingredient in tibolone is 2.5mg of tibolone.
The inactive ingredients in tibolone are potato starch, lactose monohydrate, mannitol, potato starch, magnesium stearate and ascorbyl palmitate.
The recommended dose of tibolone is 1 x 2.5mg tablet taken once daily at the same time each day.
You should only start taking tibolone following consultation with a doctor. You can start taking it straight away if:
You should NOT take tibolone if you have experienced a natural period within the last 12 months.
Always take tibolone as instructed by a doctor. Swallow each tablet with water, without chewing or breaking it, at the same time each day. To help you remember, try and make this a part of your daily routine - for example, take your tablet with breakfast each day, or when you brush your teeth in the morning or evening. Each strip of tablets is marked with the days of the week to help you keep track. When you finish a strip, start a new one on the next day without leaving a gap.
If you forget to take a tablet, try and take it within 12 hours of the normal time. If 12 hours have already passed, just skip the dose and take the next tablet at the normal time. Never take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Like all medications, tibolone can cause side effects in some patients. If you experience any of the following, stop taking tibolone immediately and see a doctor straight away:
Common side effects, which can affect up to 1 in 10 people, include:
Uncommon side effects (affecting up to 1 in 100 women) can include:
Rarely, women taking tibolone may experience itchy skin. The following have also been reported by women taking Livial:
Tibolone slightly increases the risk of developing breast cancer or endometrial cancer. It is important to go for regular health checks (breast screening and cervical smear tests) while taking this medication. Speak to your doctor for more information if you are worried.
Do NOT take tibolone if you:
You should tell your doctor before taking tibolone if you have ever experienced any of the following:
Before taking tibolone, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medications, including those purchased over the counter without a prescription. The following medications may interfere with the effect of tibolone:
Do not take Tibolone if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, think you might be pregnant, or are planning on becoming pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking Tibolone, stop taking it immediately and consult a doctor.
While tibolone, brand name Livial, is a synthetic steroid, other forms of HRT contain forms of the hormones oestrogen and/or progesterone themselves. Tibolone is thought to carry a slightly lower risk of breast cancer than hormonal HRTs, but you can speak to your doctor to work out which option is best for you.
Tibolone is designed to be taken by women who have finished having menstrual periods, i.e. have not had a natural period in over 12 months. Other alternative forms of HRT for this group of women include Elleste Duet Conti, Kliovance (both taken as a tablet) and Evorel Conti (used as a patch).
If you’re still having periods, or had your last period within the past year, you’d be most suited to a combined cyclical HRT, which allows for a regular and predictable monthly bleed – examples include Elleste Duet, Trisequens and Evorel Sequi.
Oestrogen-only HRTs can be taken orally, applied to the skin as a transdermal patch, or applied topically as a gel or cream. They should only be used by women who have had a hysterectomy, or who have an alternative progesterone supplement such as a Mirena intrauterine system (IUS), as progesterone is required to prevent a dangerous build up of the uterine lining. Premarin and Elleste Solo are oestrogen-only HRTs that can be taken orally, while Elleste Solo MX80, Elleste Solo MX40 and Evorel are transdermal patches which are changed twice weekly.
Patches have the benefit of bypassing the digestive system, reducing the likelihood of developing side effects.
If you are in the early days of your menopause and are suffering from only vaginal symptoms such as dryness, irritation, inflammation, pain or discomfort during sex, spotting, and recurrent UTIs, you may wish to try a topical form of HRT. Ovestin or estriol creams, and vaginal suppositories such as Vagifem contain an oestrogen supplement and work locally in the vaginal region to relieve these symptoms. They are also less likely to cause side effects, but bear in mind that they can have a weakening effect on latex condoms and diaphragms.
Although HRT is the most popular and accessible treatment for the symptoms of menopause, some women choose to try herbal supplements to help with hot flushes and mood swings. However, the effectiveness of herbal supplements is unknown, so you should make sure to consult a doctor or pharmacist for advice and information before trying a product.
Making a few lifestyle changes can help you to deal with the symptoms of menopause. To reduce the impact of hot flushes and night sweats, try cutting down on caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods, and quit smoking if you haven’t already done so. Meanwhile, exercising regularly and increasing your intake of vitamin D, which is vital for the production of calcium, can help to keep your bones strong and healthy. Although there is little evidence to suggest that eating an oestrogen-rich diet will significantly reduce symptoms of menopause, some women choose to increase their intake of plant-based foods containing oestrogen, such as sesame and flaxseed, died fruits, oranges, strawberries and apricots.
Tibolone is considered a safe and effective first-line treatment for the symptoms of menopause, and a second-line treatment for preventing the onset of osteoporosis. HRT in general carries a slight increase in the risk of developing oestrogen sensitive cancers, such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer, stroke, and blood clots, but for most women, the benefits of HRT outweigh this risk. Make sure to read the patient information carefully and inform your doctor of any previous or existing conditions you have.
Many women continue to use HRT for several years. However, the potential health risks associated with HRT do increase slightly with time and age, so a doctor will usually prescribe the lowest dose necessary for the patient’s symptoms and for the shortest amount of time. While HRT delays the onset of osteoporosis, it does not prevent it altogether. Deciding when to come off of HRT is a personal decision that should be discussed with a doctor beforehand.
We’re a fully regulated pharmacy, with qualified doctors and happy customers