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Body Identical vs Bioidentical HRT

Understandably, it is easy to confuse these terms. Here, Dr Helen Kennedy explains the difference and why she prescribes body identical HRT.

What exactly is body identical HRT, and why do we prescribe it at The Maxwell Practice?

'Body identical HRT' is the term used to describe regulated, licensed hormones (oestradiol, progesterone and testosterone) that are exact copies of those that occur naturally in the body. These precise duplicates are made from natural ingredients (such as yams) in a conventional way by the pharmaceutical industry. It is regulated and as such is subject to tight safety and quality control procedures. We prescribe it according to guidance from the British Menopasue Society as an effective, safe and recommended treatment for menopausal symptoms  Products include Oestrogel, Sandrena gel, Evorel and Estradot patches, Utrogestan, Gepretix, Bijuve and Androfeme.


What exactly is compounded bioidentical HRT (cBHRT), and why don’t we prescribe it?


“Bio identical HRT” is the term used to describe compounded hormones (oestradiol, oestriol, oestrone, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA)  that are mixed by pharmacists in bespoke combinations (also written as cBHRT).  This kind of HRT is unlicensed and is not regulated or authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).  We do not prescribe them because they are not recommended by the British Menopause Society due to a lack of evidence for effectiveness and safety.   The NICE guidance from 2015 advises that women should be made aware of the fact that “the efficacy and safety of unregulated compounded bioidentical hormones are unknown.” They are also not standardised so there is no consistency from one batch to another.


The British Menopause Society released a statement about cBHRT which you can find here

Dr Helen Kennedy

Women’s Health Doctor and Menopause Specialist at The Maxwell Practice

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