Period Delay: The facts you need to know.

Dr Andrews

I receive many queries at Dr Andrews Online Pharmacy about Period Delay with the most common query being how long can a period be delayed for.

From holidays to weddings and weekends to work trips, there are many reasons why women may want to delay their period.

Significantly, around 4 out of every 10 treatment orders dispensed & dispatched by the Dr Andrews team is for Period Delay which demonstrates it’s popularity.


What Treatments are available?

There is only one treatment available for Period Delay and it is the medicine Norethisterone (either as a generic drug or branded as Utolvan).

Both generic Norethisterone and Utolvan are available from Dr Andrews and most other online pharmacies. They work in exactly the same way and contain the same strength of active ingredient.


The only other way to delay your period is if you use a combined oral contraceptive. By running two packs together without taking a 7 day break, your period will be delayed until the end of your second pack. This is not without some side effects, the most common being a light vaginal bleed often referred to as “Breakthrough Bleeding”. More information regarding combined oral contraceptives and period delay can be found on the NHS Choices website.




How long can I delay my Period for?

It is important to realise that you can’t stop your period once it starts, so the treatment must be started before your period begins.


The prescribed dose is:

ONE tablet to be taken THREE times daily starting 3 days before your period is due.


After you stop the treatment, your period will commence 2-3 days later.


A 30 tablet pack of Norethisterone will delay your period by 7 days, whilst using the 60 pack will cause a 17 day delay.


It is not recommended to try and delay your period by anymore than 17 days.


What are the side effects of Period Delay Treatment?

Norethisterone for period delay is a popular and safe treatment, but as with most medicines it can cause some side effects. The most common of these are mild and self-limiting due to the short course of treatment required to delay a period. These side effect include breast tenderness, changes to your libido and fluid retention.

More serious side effects are very rare, but the full list can be found on the Patient Information Leaflet available here.



Is the treatment a contraceptive?

No, Period Delay treatment is not a contraceptive, so other methods of contraception to avoid pregnancy.

Importantly, if you are taking an oral contraceptive then Norethisterone for Period Delay should not be used and instead running two packs of your contraceptive together would be the preferred option. Please seek more information form your GP or pharmacist before proceeding as there are some occasions whereby this would also be unsuitable.


Is Norethisterone for Period Delay suitable for everyone?

As well as women who are using the contraceptive pill, there are other patients for whom the treatment is unsuitable.

These include;

  • Women aged under 18 years
  • Pregnant women
  • Patients with unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Women who have had a Deep Vein Thrombosis (or a family history of DVT)
  • Sufferers of a heart attack or angina diagnosis
  • Those with Liver problems
  • Anyone suffering from Pruritis (general itchiness all over the body)
  • Patients diagnosed with Porphyria (a rare inherited blood disease)
  • A Cancer diagnosis



Hopefully that answers most questions regarding Period Delay Treatment, but some more information can be found on the Dr Andrews Online Pharmacy Factsheet.




Remember to always check the MHRA & GPhC registration of any online pharmacy to ensure it is genuine before you buy. The logos should be found on the home page. If the site isn’t regulated then they could be selling fake or counterfeit medicines.


MHRA Registration

GPhC Registration


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