Hormone replacements

Q: Will I have to take hormone replacement tablets forever?

A: Yes, most probably. The exception may be sex hormone replacement in the elderly, but there is no real ‘upper age limit’.

Q: Are there any long-term side effects?

A: Replacement therapy is replacing what your body doesn’t produce naturally, and there are usually no problems as long as treatment is monitored regularly.

Q: Do I need to keep my medication in the fridge?

A: Growth hormone commonly needs to be kept refrigerated except for a disposable version. Desmopressin Intranasal needs to be kept in the fridge, but the tablets, melts and spray don’t. Other pituitary hormones don’t need to be kept in the fridge, but check with your doctor or chemist for full details of how you should store your medication.

Q: What if I am ill or forget to take my medication?

A: If you are taking hydrocortisone it is very important to continue and even increase this if you become ill. If you forget to take a dose of hydrocortisone, you may well be prompted to take it if you start to feel tired or weak. Inadvertently missing the very odd dose shouldn’t cause any harm. Other medications should be continued during any illness, unless your doctor advises otherwise. If you do happen to forget a dose of other medication, this should not affect your treatment; it is important though not to ‘double up’ on the next dose.

Q: Can I still drink alcohol?

A: There is no interaction between alcohol and most replacement hormones and you are allowed to drink in moderation, for example one to two units of alcohol a day.

Q: Why do I feel so emotional even though my hormones are replaced?

A: It is common to feel a swing of emotions with a pituitary condition. Treatment, tests and having to take regular medication can affect how you cope emotionally. We have a series of booklets which may be able to help you. If you need someone to talk to our Helpline and Endocrine Nurse Helpline are available to help you.