Side effects of norethindrone

Norethindrone

Norethindrone is a form of progesterone, a female hormone. Norethindrone prevents ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). This medication also causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.

Norethindrone is used for birth control (contraception) to prevent pregnancy. Norethindrone is also used to treat menstrual disorders, endometriosis, or abnormal vaginal bleeding caused by a hormone imbalance.

Norethindrone may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

This medication can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not use if you are pregnant. Use an effective form of birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Do not use this medication if you have any of the following conditions: a history of stroke or blood clot, circulation problems, breast cancer, abnormal vaginal bleeding, liver disease, or if you have recently had an incomplete miscarriage or abortion.

You may need to use back-up birth control, such as condoms or a spermicide, when you first start using this medication. Follow your doctor’s instructions.

Taking hormones can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack, especially if you smoke and are older than 35.

Norethindrone does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases–including HIV and AIDS. Using a condom is the only way to help protect yourself from these diseases.

This medication can cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to norethindrone, or if you have:

  • a history of a stroke, blood clot, or circulation problems;
  • breast cancer;
  • abnormal vaginal bleeding; or
  • if you have recently had an incomplete miscarriage or abortion.

Before using norethindrone, tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions. You may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take norethindrone.

  • high blood pressure or a history of heart disease;
  • migraines;
  • kidney disease;
  • liver disease or liver cancer;
  • a history of depression or mental illness;
  • high cholesterol or triglycide (fatty acid) levels in your blood;
  • asthma; or
  • seizures or epilepsy.

Norethindrone can pass into breast milk. Make sure your doctor knows if you are breast-feeding a baby while taking this medication.

Taking hormones can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack, especially if you smoke and are older than 35.

This information from Lexicomp® explains what you need to know about this medication, including what it’s used for, how to take it, its side effects, and when to call your healthcare provider.

Brand Names: US

Brand Names: Canada

Jencycla; Micronor; Movisse; Norlutate

Warning

  • Smoking cigarettes while using this drug raises the chance of very bad heart and blood-related side effects. This chance is raised with age (mainly in women older than 35 years of age). It is also raised with the number of cigarettes smoked. It is strongly advised not to smoke.

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to prevent pregnancy.
  • It may be given to your child for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT):

  • If your child has been given this form of this drug, talk with the doctor for information about the benefits and risks. Talk with the doctor if you have questions or concerns about giving this drug to your child.

What do I need to tell the doctor BEFORE my child takes this drug?

  • If your child is allergic to this drug; any part of this drug; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell the doctor about the allergy and what signs your child had.
  • If your child has had any of these health problems: Bleeding disorder; blood clots or risk of having a blood clot; breast cancer; cancer of the uterus, ovary, cervix, or vagina; liver disease; liver tumors; recent heart attack; recent stroke; or vaginal bleeding where the cause is not known.

If your child is pregnant:

  • Do not give this drug to your child if she is pregnant.

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.

Tell the doctor and pharmacist about all of your child’s drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for your child to take this drug with all of his/her drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug your child takes without checking with the doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while my child takes this drug?

  • Tell all of your child’s health care providers that your child is taking this drug. This includes your child’s doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • This drug may raise the chance of blood clots, a stroke, or a heart attack. Talk with the doctor.
  • Some studies have shown the risk of breast cancer is raised in women taking birth control pills, especially at a younger age. The risk was also linked to how long the birth control pills were taken. One study showed the risk was also raised in women who took birth control pills within the past 10 years.
  • If your child has high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch his/her blood sugar closely.
  • Be sure your child has regular breast exams and gynecology check-ups. Your child will also need to do breast self-exams as the doctor has told you.
  • This drug may affect certain lab tests. Tell all of your child’s health care providers and lab workers that your child takes this drug.
  • Certain drugs, herbal products, or health problems could cause this drug to not work as well. Be sure the doctor knows about all of your child’s drugs and health problems.
  • Do not use in children who have not had their first menstrual period.

If your child is or may be sexually active:

  • This drug does not stop the spread of diseases like HIV or hepatitis that are passed through having sex. Be sure your child does not have any kind of sex without using a latex or polyurethane condom.
  • The chance of pregnancy outside of the uterus (ectopic pregnancy) may be raised in some females. If you have questions, talk with your child’s doctor.
  • If your child has any signs of pregnancy or if she has a positive pregnancy test, call the doctor right away.

If your child is breast-feeding a baby:

  • Tell the doctor if your child is breast-feeding a baby. You will need to talk about any risks to the baby.

What are some side effects that I need to call my child’s doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your child’s doctor or get medical help right away if your child has any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
  • Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
  • Eyesight changes or loss, bulging eyes, or change in how contact lenses feel.
  • A lump in the breast, breast pain or soreness, or nipple discharge.
  • Vaginal itching or discharge.
  • Vaginal bleeding that is not normal.
  • Mood changes.
  • Depression or other mood changes.
  • Swelling.
  • Call the doctor right away if your child has signs of a blood clot like chest pain or pressure; coughing up blood; shortness of breath; swelling, warmth, numbness, change of color, or pain in a leg or arm; or trouble speaking or swallowing.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your child’s doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother your child or do not go away:

  • Dizziness or headache.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Cramps.
  • Bloating.
  • Tender breasts.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Pimples (acne).
  • Weight gain.
  • Period (menstrual) changes. These include spotting or bleeding between cycles.
  • This drug may cause dark patches of skin on your child’s face. Avoid lots of sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds. Use sunscreen and dress your child in clothing and eyewear that protects him/her from the sun.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your child’s doctor. Call your child’s doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best given?

Give this drug as ordered by your child’s doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

  • Give this drug with or without food. Give with food if it causes an upset stomach.
  • Do not skip doses, even if your child does not have sex or does not have sex very often.
  • If your child throws up or has diarrhea, this drug may not work as well. Your child needs to use an extra form of birth control, like condoms, until you check with the doctor.
  • If your child misses 2 periods in a row, have your child take a pregnancy test before starting a new dosing cycle.

What do I do if my child misses a dose?

  • If a dose is missed, check the package insert or call the doctor to find out what to do. If using this drug to prevent pregnancy, another form of birth control may need to be used for some time to prevent pregnancy.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

  • Store at room temperature in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.

General drug facts

  • If your child’s symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your child’s doctor.
  • Do not share your child’s drug with others and do not give anyone else’s drug to your child.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your child’s doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Last Reviewed Date

Copyright

What is Norethindrone Acetate?

The dose medicines in this class will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of these medicines. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

    For medroxyprogesterone

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For controlling unusual and heavy bleeding of the uterus (dysfunctional uterine bleeding) or treating unusual stopping of menstrual periods (amenorrhea):
      • Adults and teenagers—5 to 10 milligrams (mg) per day for five to ten days as directed by your doctor.
    • For preparing the uterus for the menstrual period:
      • Adults and teenagers—10 milligrams (mg) per day for five or ten days as directed by your doctor.
    • For preventing estrogen from thickening the lining of the uterus (endometrial hyperplasia) when taking estrogen for ovarian hormone therapy in postmenopausal women:
      • Adults—When taking estrogen each day on Days 1 through 25: Oral, 5 to 10 milligrams (mg) of medroxyprogesterone per day for ten to fourteen or more days each month as directed by your doctor. Or, your doctor may want you to take 2.5 or 5 mg per day without stopping. Your doctor will help decide the number of tablets that is best for you and when to take them.
  • For intramuscular injection dosage form:
    • For treating cancer of the kidneys or uterus:
      • Adults and teenagers—At first, 400 to 1000 milligrams (mg) injected into a muscle as a single dose once a week. Then, your doctor may lower your dose to 400 mg or more once a month.
  • For subcutaneous injection dosage form:
    • For treating pain related to endometriosis:
      • Adults and teenagers—104 milligrams (mg) injected under the skin of the anterior thigh or abdomen every three months (12 to 14 weeks) for not more than 2 years.

    For megestrol

  • For oral dosage form (suspension):
    • For treating loss of appetite (anorexia), muscles (cachexia), or weight caused by acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS):
      • Adults and teenagers—800 milligrams (mg) a day for the first month. Then your doctor may want you to take 400 or 800 mg a day for three more months.
  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For treating cancer of the breast:
      • Adults and teenagers—160 milligrams (mg) a day as a single dose or in divided doses for two or more months.
    • For treating cancer of the uterus:
      • Adults and teenagers—40 to 320 milligrams (mg) a day for two or more months.
    • For treating loss of appetite (anorexia), muscles (cachexia), or weight caused by cancer:
      • Adults and teenagers—400 to 800 milligrams (mg) a day.

    For norethindrone

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For controlling unusual and heavy bleeding of the uterus (dysfunctional uterine bleeding) or treating unusual stopping of menstrual periods (amenorrhea):
      • Adults and teenagers—2.5 to 10 milligrams (mg) a day from Day 5 through Day 25 (counting from the first day of the last menstrual cycle). Or, your doctor may want you to take the medicine only for five to ten days as directed.
    • For treating endometriosis:
      • Adults and teenagers—At first, 5 milligrams (mg) a day for two weeks. Then, your doctor may increase your dose slowly up to 15 mg a day for six to nine months. Let your doctor know if your menstrual period starts. Your doctor may want you to take more of the medicine or may want you to stop taking the medicine for a short period of time.

    For progesterone

  • For oral dosage form (capsules):
    • For preventing estrogen from thickening the lining of the uterus (endometrial hyperplasia) when taking estrogen for ovarian hormone therapy in postmenopausal women:
      • Adults—200 milligrams (mg) per day at bedtime for 12 continuous days per 28-day cycle of estrogen treatment each month.
    • For treating unusual stopping of menstrual periods (amenorrhea):
      • Adults—400 milligrams (mg) per day at bedtime for ten days.
  • For vaginal dosage form (gel):
    • For treating unusual stopping of menstrual periods (amenorrhea):
      • Adults and teenagers—45 milligrams (mg) (one applicatorful of 4% gel) once every other day for up to six doses. Dose may be increased to 90 mg (one applicatorful of 8% gel) once every other day for up to six doses if needed.
    • For use with infertility procedures:
      • Adults and teenagers—90 milligrams (mg) (one applicatorful of 8% gel) one or two times a day. If pregnancy occurs, treatment can continue for up to ten to twelve weeks.
  • For injection dosage form:
    • For controlling unusual and heavy bleeding of the uterus (dysfunctional uterine bleeding) or treating unusual stopping of menstrual periods (amenorrhea):
      • Adults and teenagers—5 to 10 milligrams (mg) a day injected into a muscle for six to ten days. Or, your doctor may want you to receive 100 or 150 mg injected into a muscle as a single dose. Sometimes your doctor may want you first to take another hormone called estrogen. If your menstrual period starts, your doctor will want you to stop taking the medicine.
  • For vaginal dosage form (suppositories):
    • For maintaining a pregnancy (at ovulation and at the beginning of pregnancy):
      • Adults and teenagers—25 mg to 100 milligrams (mg) (one suppository) inserted into the vagina one or two times a day beginning near the time of ovulation. Your doctor may want you to receive the medicine for up to eleven weeks.

Aygestin

PATIENT INFORMATION

AYGESTIN®
(norethindrone acetate) Tablets USP

Read this PATIENT INFORMATION before you start taking AYGESTIN and read what you get each time you refill AYGESTIN. There may be new information. This information does not take the place of talking to your healthcare provider about your medical condition.

What is the most important information I should know about AYGESTIN (A Progestin Hormone)?

  • Do not use AYGESTIN if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or are trying to conceive.
  • Do not use AYGESTIN if you have had a previous blood clot, stroke, or heart attack.
  • Do not use AYGESTIN if you are postmenopausal.

What is AYGESTIN?

AYGESTIN is similar to the progesterone hormones naturally produced by the body. Your healthcare provider may provide AYGESTIN as individual tablets.

What are AYGESTIN used for?

AYGESTIN are used for the treatment of secondary amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods in women who have previously had a menstrual period who are not pregnant), the treatment of endometriosis, and the treatment of irregular menstrual periods due to hormone imbalance.

Who should not take AYGESTIN?

You should not take AYGESTIN if you are postmenopausal, pregnant or breastfeeding.

You should not take AYGESTIN if you have the following conditions:

  • Known or suspected pregnancy. AYGESTIN are not indicated during pregnancy as it may causefetal harm when administered to pregnant women. There is an increased risk of minor birth defects in children whose mothers take AYGESTIN during the first 4 months of pregnancy (mild masculinization of the external genitalia of the female fetus, as well as hypospadias in the male fetus). If you take AYGESTIN and later find out you were pregnant, talk with your healthcare provider right away.
  • History of blood clots in the legs , lungs , eyes , brain, or elsewhere, or a past history of these conditions
  • Liver impairment or disease
  • Known or suspected cancer of the breast. If you have or had cancer of the breast, talk with your healthcare provider about whether you should take AYGESTIN.
  • Undiagnosed vaginal bleeding
  • Hypersensitivity to AYGESTIN. See the end of this leaflet for a list of all of the ingredients in AYGESTIN.

What are the risks associated with AYGESTIN?

  • Risk To The Fetus
    AYGESTIN should not be used if you are pregnant. AYGESTIN are contraindicated during pregnancy as it may cause fetal harm when administered to pregnant women. There is an increased risk of minor birth defects in children whose mothers take this drug during the first 4 months of pregnancy. Several reports suggest an association between mothers who take these drugs in the first trimester of pregnancy and congenital abnormalities in male and female babies. Although it is not clear that these events were drug related, you should check with your healthcare provider about the risks to your unborn child of any medication taken during pregnancy.
    You should avoid using AYGESTIN during pregnancy. If you take AYGESTIN and later find you were pregnant when you took it, be sure to discuss this with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
  • Abnormal Blood Clotting
    Use of progestational drugs, such as AYGESTIN, has been associated with changes in the bloodclotting system. These changes allow the blood to clot more easily, possibly allowing clots to form in the bloodstream. If blood clots do form in your bloodstream, they can cut off the blood supply to vital organs, causing serious problems. These problems may include a stroke (by cutting off blood to part of the brain), a heart attack (by cutting off blood to part of the heart), a pulmonary embolus (by cutting off blood to part of the lungs), visual loss or blindness (by cutting off blood vessels in the eye), or other problems. Any of these conditions may cause death or serious long-term disability. Call your healthcare provider right away if you suspect you have any of these conditions. He or she may advise you to stop using the drug.
  • Eye Abnormalities
    Discontinue AYGESTIN tablets and call your healthcare provider right away if you experience sudden partial or complete loss of vision, blurred vision, or sudden onset of bulging eyes, double vision, or migraine.

These are some of the warning signs of serious side effects with progestin therapy

  • Breast lumps
  • Dizziness and faintness
  • Changes in speech
  • Severe headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pains in your legs
  • Changes in vision

Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of these warning signs, or any other unusual symptom that concerns you.

Common side effects include

  • Headache
  • Breast pain
  • Irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Stomach/abdominal cramps/bloating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hair loss

Other side effects include

  • High blood pressure
  • Liver problems
  • High blood sugar
  • Fluid retention
  • Enlargements of benign tumors of the uterus (“fibroids”)
  • Vaginal yeast infections
  • Mental depression

These are not all the possible side effects of progestin and/or estrogen therapy. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

What can I do to lower my chances of getting a serious side effect with AYGESTIN?

  • Talk with your healthcare provider regularly about whether you should continue taking AYGESTIN.
  • Have a breast exam and mammogram (breast x-ray) every year unless your healthcare provider tells you something else. If members of your family have had breast cancer or if you have ever had breast lumps or an abnormal mammogram, you may need to have breast exams more often.
  • If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol (fat in the blood), diabetes, are overweight, or if you use tobacco, you may have higher chances for getting heart disease. Ask your healthcare provider for ways to lower your chances of getting heart attacks.

General information about the safe and effective us e of AYGESTIN

Medicines are sometimes prescribed for conditions that are not mentioned in patient information leaflets. Do not take AYGESTIN for conditions for which it was not prescribed. Do not give AYGESTIN tablets to other people, even if they have the same symptoms you have. It may harm them.

Keep AYGESTIN out of the reach of children.

This leaflet provides a summary of the most important information about progestin and/or estrogen therapy. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist. You can ask for information about AYGESTIN that is written for health professionals.

What are the ingredients in AYGESTIN?

AYGESTIN contain the following inactive ingredients: anhydrous lactose, magnesium stearate, and microcrystalline cellulose.

Considering taking norethisterone? A synthetic form of the hormone progesterone, norethisterone is used in contraceptive pills, menopausal hormone therapy, and for the treatment of gynaecological disorders.

Our resident pharmacist Rita Ghelani offers her expert advice on how norethisterone works, who it’s for and the potential side-effects:

What is norethisterone?

Norethisterone 5mg tablets are prescribed to treat various menstrual problems, including painful, heavy or irregular periods, endometriosis and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Norethisterone 5mg tablets can also be prescribed to delay your period, for instance if you don’t want it to come while you’re on holiday or if you’re taking part in a sporting event.

Can you buy norethisterone?

Norethisterone is available on prescription from your doctor, but if you want to take it to delay your period it is now available on the high street as a walk-in service at Superdrug pharmacies.

They will ask you to fill out a brief questionnaire and one of their doctors will review your order and prescribe a suitable treatment.

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How does norethisterone work?

Norethisterone is a man-made version of the female sex hormone progesterone. It works by mimicking the effects of your natural progesterone.

Your progesterone levels naturally fluctuate throughout your monthly menstrual cycle. As progesterone levels increase your womb lining flourishes, ready to receive a fertilised egg. If you don’t get pregnant the levels fall again, causing your womb lining to be shed as a period. If you do get pregnant your progesterone levels remain high to help maintain a healthy womb lining for the ongoing pregnancy.

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Can norethisterone stop your period?

Taking norethisterone at various points throughout this cycle can manipulate or regulate the growth and shedding of the womb lining. For instance, taking norethisterone a few days before your period is due will trick your body into thinking you’re pregnant, so you don’t have a period until you stop taking the norethisterone.

Taking norethisterone a few days before your period is due will trick your body into thinking you’re pregnant.

If you have endometriosis, taking norethisterone every day has the same effect and stops the abnormal tissue from going through monthly changes. Your periods are likely to stop during treatment and after you stop taking norethisterone the patches of endometrial tissue may be smaller, or may have shrunk away altogether.

It’s not known exactly how norethisterone works in breast cancer, but it is thought to interfere with the release of hormones from the pituitary gland and by acting directly on the tumour.

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Key facts about norethisterone

  • Norethisterone is known as norethindrone in the US.
  • Primolut N and Utovlan are brand names for norethisterone 5mg tablets.
  • Your doctor may ask you to take norethisterone every day or for just a few days each month, depending on what you’re taking it for.
  • Norethisterone 5mg tablets are not a contraceptive.
  • Don’t take norethisterone if you are pregnant. You’ll need to use a non-hormonal method of contraception such as condoms to prevent pregnancy while taking it.
  • The most common side effects are headaches, feeling sick and changes to your period, such as spotting between periods.
  • It’s fine to drink alcohol while you’re taking norethisterone.

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Who shouldn’t take norethisterone?

You should not take norethisterone 5mg tablets if you experience any of the following:

  • If you are pregnant or think you could be.
  • If you are breastfeeding.
  • If you have abnormal vaginal bleeding that hasn’t been investigated by your doctor.
  • If you have a history of genital cancer or breast cancer (unless you have been prescribed norethisterone to treat breast cancer).
  • If you have recently had angina, a heart attack or a stroke caused by a blood clot.
  • have a blood clot in the leg or lungs (thromboembolism, eg deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism).
  • If you have liver problems or a history of liver cancer.
  • If you have ever had jaundice, severe itching or a blistering skin rash called pemphigoid gestationis during pregnancy.
  • If you have a rare metabolic disorder called porphyria.

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Some people may need extra monitoring while taking norethisterone. Make sure your doctor knows if you have any of the following:

  • Kidney problems.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Asthma.
  • Migraines.
  • Heart failure.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Diabetes.
  • Gallstones.
  • A long-term condition called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
  • A history of or increased risk of blood clots such as deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, for example because you smoke, are overweight or have high cholesterol levels.
  • A history of depression.

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How do I take norethisterone?

You take norethisterone either on selected days during your menstrual cycle or continuously, depending on the reason you’re taking it. Always follow your doctor’s instructions. You can take the tablets either with or without food.

✔️ To delay your period

Start taking norethisterone three days before your period is due. Take one 5mg tablet three times a day, for up to 14 days. You should get your period two to three days after you stop taking the tablets.

✔️ To treat heavy periods

If you’re having continuous, heavy bleeding your doctor may ask you to take one 5mg tablet three times a day for 10 days to stop the bleeding. Your bleeding should stop within the first three days but keep taking the tablets for the full 10 days. If your bleeding doesn’t stop you should see your doctor. Two to four days after you stop taking the tablets you should have a period.

To prevent heavy periods you should take one 5mg tablet twice a day on days 19 to 26 of your cycle. (Day one is the first day of your period.) Your doctor may ask you to do this for two months.

✔️ To treat painful periods

Take one 5mg tablet three times a day on days 5 to 24 of your monthly cycle. (Day one is the first day of your period.) Your doctor will usually ask you to do this for three or four months.

✔️ To treat endometriosis

You’ll usually be asked to take two 5mg tablets twice a day, every day, for four to six months, starting on day five of your cycle. Your bleeding will usually stop during the treatment; if you get any spotting your doctor may increase your dose.

✔️ To treat cancer

High doses of norethisterone are sometimes used to treat breast cancer. Follow your doctor’s instructions.

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What if you miss a dose of norethisterone?

If you forget to take a norethisterone dose take it as soon as you remember, unless it’s nearly time for your next dose. In this case just leave out the missed dose and take your next dose as usual when it is due. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed dose

Norethisterone side-effects

Medicines and their possible side-effects can affect people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that may be associated with norethisterone 5mg tablets. Just because a side effect is stated here doesn’t mean that all people taking norethisterone will experience that or any side effect.

Common side-effects

Common side-affects that impact between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 women include:

  • Change in your period, including breakthrough bleeding or spotting, or stopping of periods.
  • Headache.
  • Feeling sick.

Other possible side-effects

  • Migraine.
  • Breast discomfort or tenderness.
  • Fluid retention causing swelling (oedema).
  • Skin reactions such as acne, rash or itching.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fatigue.
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia).
  • Depression.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Change in sex drive.
  • Weight gain.
  • Hair loss (alopecia).
  • Excessive hair growth (hirsutism).

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When should you be concerned?

Stop taking norethisterone and see a doctor straight away if you get severe headaches or migraine; stabbing pains or swelling in one leg; pain on breathing or coughing; coughing up blood; breathlessness; sudden chest pain; sudden numbness affecting one side or part of the body; sudden changes in your vision or hearing; or yellowing of your skin or whites of your eyes (jaundice).

Read the leaflet that comes with your medicine or talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you want more information about the possible side effects of norethisterone 5mg tablets. If you think you have experienced a side effect, did you know you can report this using the yellow card website?

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Can I take norethisterone with other medicines?

It’s important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you’re already taking any medicines, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start taking norethisterone. It is fine to painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin with norethisterone.

Norethisterone medicine interactions

Some medicines may make norethisterone less effective. These include:

  • Certain antiepileptic medicines, such as carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, perampanel, phenobarbital, primidone, phenytoin or topiramate.
  • Some medicines for HIV, such as efavirenz, nevirapine or ritonavir.
  • The antifungal griseofulvin.
  • Modafinil.
  • The antibiotics rifabutin or rifampicin for tuberculosis.
  • The herbal remedy St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum).
  • Ulipristal.

⚠️ It’s a good idea to check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while you’re taking norethisterone, to make sure that the combination is safe.

Rita Ghelani (BPharm, MRPharmS) Pharmacist A UK registered practising pharmacist with over 20 years’ experience, Rita is a member of the medical journalists’ association (MJA) and has a wealth of experience in community pharmacy.

Key Facts

  • The progestin-only pill doesn’t contain estrogen.
  • Use condoms to prevent STIs and as a backup method of contraception.
  • Vaginal bleeding and/or spotting are common during the first few months of taking the Mini-Pill.
  • Your periods may be irregular, or you may not have periods at all, while you take this medication.

The progestin-only pill (POP), also called the “Mini-pill,” is a type of birth control pill (oral contraceptive) that comes in a pack of 28 pills. Instead of containing the hormones progestin and estrogen, it only contains progestin. It’s often called the “Mini-Pill” because it doesn’t contain estrogen. It may be prescribed for young and adult women who can’t take estrogen due to an underlying medical condition, sensitivity or because of an unwanted side effect.

How do Progestin-only pills work?

Progestin is a female hormone that works by preventing the release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation) and by changing the cervical mucus and the lining of the uterus.

How effective are Progestin-only pills?

Progestin-only oral contraceptives are an effective method of birth control, but they don’t prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It’s slightly less effective than the combined birth control pill which contains both estrogen and progesterone.

Before you take Progestin-only pills, tell your health care provider(s) if you:

  • Have an allergy to progestins, aspirin, or yellow food coloring (tartrazine) or any other medicines
  • Are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicine
  • Have ever had breast lumps, liver disease, or diabetes
  • Smoke
  • Are pregnant or want to become pregnant
  • Take anticonvulsant or seizure medicine

How do I take Progestin-only pills?

Take one pill every day, AT THE SAME TIME. Every pill is an “active” pill, meaning that all the pills in the 28 day pack contain progestin, unlike combination pill packs that have inactive pills or “placebo” pills in the last row of the pill pack. It’s best to start the Progestin-only pill on the first day of your period or the first Sunday after your period begins. If you’re sexually active, be sure to use a backup barrier method of birth control (condom) for the first 7 days after starting the Progestin-only pill to prevent pregnancy. You should always use condoms to decrease your risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

What should I do if I miss a Progestin-only pill?

  1. Take the missed Pill as soon as you remember, (you can take 2 Pills in one day but spread them apart), and then go back to taking the Pill at the regular time.
  2. If you are more than 3 hours late taking your Pill, either don’t have sex or use a backup method of birth control for the next 48 hours.
  3. If you are not sure what to do about the Pills you have missed, keep taking it. Don’t have sex or use a backup method of birth control (condom) until you can talk with your health care provider.
  4. If you become sick with vomiting or severe diarrhea within three hours after taking the Progestin-only Pill, keep taking the Pill every day. Do not have sex, or use a back-up method (condom), until 2 days after the vomiting has stopped. Call your health care provider if you have any concerns.

Benefits of progestin-only oral contraceptives (Mini-pill):

  • Progestin-only pills are an effective birth control pill and a substitute for girls/women who cannot take combined (progestin and estrogen) oral contraceptive pills.
  • Progestin-only pills may be effective in treating endometriosis.
  • Progestin-only pills, taken every day, help to protect against uterine cancer.

Possible side-effects:

  • Spotting or break-through bleeding can last for a few days until your body gets used to the medicine, or for as long as you are taking it.
  • Not having a period is also common.
  • Other side effects, such as acne, mood swings, nausea, dizziness, bloating, weight gain, headache, and/or hair thinning are rare.

Most of the time side effects are mild. However, if you have bleeding that lasts longer than usual and/or severe pain in your belly, call your health care provider right away. Most women have no periods while taking POPs. If you are sexually active and have no periods, tell your provider and have a pregnancy test now and then.

Types of progestin-only pills: There are many brands of Progestin-only Pills (POP) but they are all the same dose and contain the same active ingredient – norethindrone, 35 micrograms daily.

Some Brand Names:

  • Camila®
  • Errin®
  • Heather®
  • Jolivette®
  • Micronor®
  • Nor-Q.D.®
  • Norethindrone®
  • Ovrette®

Nor-QD

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

Last reviewed on RxList 11/30/2016

Nor-QD (norethindrone 0.35 mg) is a form of progesterone, a female hormone used for birth control (contraception) to prevent pregnancy. Nor-QD is also used to treat menstrual disorders, endometriosis, or abnormal vaginal bleeding caused by a hormone imbalance. Nor-QD is available in generic form. Common side effects of Nor-QD include:

  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • stomach cramping,
  • bloating,
  • dizziness,
  • headache,
  • tiredness,
  • breast tenderness/pain/swelling,
  • decrease in breast size,
  • acne,
  • oily scalp,
  • hair loss,
  • hair growth,
  • weight gain,
  • vaginal infections/itching/discharge,
  • freckles or darkening of facial skin,
  • skin itching or rash,
  • decreased sex drive.

Periods may be early or late, shorter or longer, heavier or lighter than normal. There may be spotting between menstrual periods, especially during the first several months of use of Nor-QD. Nor-QD may raise your blood pressure. Check your blood pressure regularly and tell your doctor if the results are high. Tell your doctor if you have serious side effects of Nor-QD including:

  • lumps in the breast,
  • mental/mood changes (such as new/worsening depression),
  • severe stomach or abdominal pain,
  • dark urine, or
  • yellowing eyes or skin.

To achieve maximum contraceptive effectiveness, the dose of Nor-QD must be taken exactly as directed. One tablet is taken every day, at the same time. Administration is continuous, with no interruption between pill packs. Nor-QD may interact with griseofulvin, rifampin, St. John’s wort, ketoconazole, itraconazole, barbiturates, or HIV medicines. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. Nor-QD should not be used during pregnancy. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, inform your doctor. This drug passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Our Nor-QD Tablets (norethindrone 0.35 mg) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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