Although a natural stage in life, most women experience unpleasant symptoms during and after menopause, including hot flushes, insomnia, depression, reduced sex drive, an increased risk for osteoporosis and vaginal dryness. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a means of alleviating these symptoms through the use of prescription medications that mimic oestrogen or progesterone, two hormones that decrease in your body after menopause. In the United Kingdom, other parts of Europe and Australia, a commonly prescribed HRT drug is Livial or Tibolone. Despite its effectiveness, Livial is not for everyone as it presents several risks for side effects and complications in some patients.
Common Side Effects
The most common side effects of Livial are not normally serious in nature. Many women experience side effects of the reproductive system, including menstrual spotting, breast pain and vaginal discharge, itching or irritation while the drug. Weight gain and an increase in hair growth are also common. Many patients undergoing treatment with Livial report abdominal pain as well.
Other Side Effects
Livial also has the potential to cause a number of other troublesome or annoying, but not dangerous, side effects. Neurological and psychological side effects include dizziness, headaches, blurred vision and depression. Some women experience gastrointestinal effects, including diarrhoea, nausea, constipation and vomiting. Skin reactions are possible as well, such as itching, rash, and chloasma or the appearance of brown spots. Other possible side effects of Livial include retention of fluid, swelling and joint or muscle pain.
There are some medications which produce unwanted side effects when used in conjunction with Livial. Anti-seizure medications, barbituates and rifamycin antibiotics all have the potential to cause increased menstrual spotting when taken with Livial. When combined with blood thinners like warfarin, Livial increases your risk of experiencing uncontrollable bleeding during surgery or following an injury. Taking Livial with diabetic medications sometimes causes increased levels of blood sugar or hyperglycaemia.
In addition to minor side effects and the risk of interactions, Livial has the potential to cause serious medical complications. In some patients, Livial usage causes the formation of blood clots or stroke. There is also an increased risk of developing forms of cancer that grow with increased oestrogen levels, such as cancer of the breasts, uterus and ovaries. Livial also causes decreased liver function in some patients, resulting in yellowing of the skin or pale stools.
Livial is only given to women who have experienced menopause and is never prescribed during pregnancy due to the danger of fetal death or miscarriage. Smoking while using Livial increases your risk of stroke or developing blood clots. If you have a history of breast cancer, blood clots, stroke, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, migraines or epilepsy, your doctor is not likely to prescribe Livial for you. While taking Livial, it is important to have annual pelvic examinations and mammograms to screen for cancer.