What is Norethisterone?
Norethisterone is a synthetic form of the naturally occurring
hormone in your body called progesterone. Therefore, it mimics the action of
progesterone and can delay your period when taken 3 days before your period is due to start. The body sheds
your womb lining, which is what your period consists of; when the progesterone
levels in your normal monthly cycle begin to fall. By increasing the
progesterone levels we can delay this process.
Even though norethisterone mimics progesterone, a hormone
also in contraceptive pills, it cannot be used as birth control. It also cannot
be used in conjunction with the combined contraceptive pill but can be used
with the mini (progesterone only) pill. Norethisterone should not be taken by
pregnant or breastfeeding women.
How should I take Norethisterone?
One tablet should be taken three times a day, with eight hours between
each pill; and should start to be taken three days before you expect to start
your period. Norethisterone can be taken continuously for up to 20 days, a
total of 60 tablets, and you should start your period a few days after stopping
taking the tablets. This form of period delay should not be used more than once
every six months.
What are the side effects?
You must stop taking Norethisterone immediately and seek advice from your GP if you experience jaundice, migraines, swelling in the face or extremities or a tight chest.
Other less serious side effects may include:
- Breast swelling or tenderness
- Bloating or a change in weight
Risk of Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)
Any alteration to the natural hormone rhythm in your body may slightly increase your chance of having a blood clot in the veins of the lungs or legs. More information can be found in the patient information leaflet.
Download the Patient Information Leaflet
starting 3 days before your period is due, you can delay it for up to 17 days
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