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Norethisterone

Norethisterone
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Norethisterone 5mg is a generic version of the branded treatment Utolvan. A synthetic version of a hormone found in the body, it works by preventing the shedding of the womb lining. By doing this, it stops your period bleed. 

The dose of Norethisterone is one tablet three times daily and can be used to delay your period by up to 17 days.

The treatment to delay your period is the drug Norethisterone which you can purchase as the generic or the branded version Utolvan. Norethisterone is a progestogen, a synthetic version of a sex hormone that is naturally occurring in the body and is also found in the contraceptive pill.

When it is used for period delay norethisterone does not act as a contraceptive pill, so it is important that you use additional precautions to prevent pregnancy. Likewise, if you are already prescribed the contraceptive pill you should not take norethisterone to delay your period and instead should consult your GP to discuss your options.

Norethisterone works by changing the hormone balance during the menstrual cycle and preventing the shedding of the womb lining which normally results in your monthly period. The dose is 5mg and is taken three times a day starting 3 days before the expected onset of a period. On stopping the tablets, your period should start 2-3 days later.

Dr Andrews can supply 2 different pack sizes of norethisterone, with a maximum period delay of 17 days. Should you require a longer treatment time than this please consult your GP.

30 Tablets is a 10 day treatment course, delaying your period for up to 7 days.
60 Tablets is a 20 day treatment course, delaying your period for up to 17 days.

Dr Andrews provides the option of supplying both generic norethisterone 5mg tablets and Utovlan brand.

Norethisterone is routinely used for period delay but it is for occasional use and should not be used more than once in 4 months.

 

FAQS

 

What are the side effects?

Like all medicines, norethisterone can cause side effects, but the risk of these is reduced with short term use to delay period onset.

General, self limiting side effects may include:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Changes in libido and fluid retention
  • Menstrual spotting or breakthrough bleeding
  • Headaches and mood swings
  • Acne
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Weight change

 

In very rare cases norethisterone can cause a severe allergic reaction and if you experience any of the following symptoms this requires emergency medical treatment:

  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Feeling Faint
  • Swelling of face, tongue, hands or feet
  • Intense and itchy rash

 

All women have a small chance of developing a blood clot in the veins of the leg, lung or other parts of the body. The chance of developing a blood clot (DVT) is slightly increased whilst taking hormones but also further increases if the following applies:

  • You are very overweight
  • Have previously had a blood clot or have a family history of blood clots
  • Have a serious injury or recent major surgery
  • Are immobile for long periods of time Have a history of repeated miscarriage
  • Have a condition known as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

 

Can I take norethisterone with other medications?

Norethisterone can also interact with some other medications you might be taking and can reduce the effectiveness of these medicines or vice versa. It is therefore important you consult your GP if you are taking any of the following medicines:

  • Medicines to treat epilepsy
  • Antibiotics to treat an infection
  • Antiviral medicines to treat HIV
  • Anticancer medicines
  • Herbal medicines such as St John’s Wort
  • Ciclosporin
  • Medicines for high blood pressure
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) used to treat pain and inflammation

 

What conditions make me unsuitable for taking norethisterone?

Norethisterone isn’t suitable for everyone and you should not proceed to purchase norethisterone if the following applies:

  • You are pregnant or think you might be pregnant
  • If you have unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • If you or a family member has a previous history of DVT
  • If you have previously had a heart attack or angina
  • If you have liver problems
  • If you have ever had generalised itching all over your body (pruritis)
  • If you have ever had porphyria (rare inherited blood disease)
  • If you have ever had cancer

 

How long can I delay my period for?

Norethisterone can delay your period for a maximum of 17 days. It is routinely prescribed for period delay but it is for occasional use and should not be used more than once in 4 months. Should you require a longer treatment time than this please consult your GP.  

 

Do I still take my contraceptive pill?

Women who are taking a combined contraceptive pill can delay their period by skipping the one-week pill break at the end of the three week course, norethisterone is not required. Instead of taking the seven day break, you will need to start the new pack straight away. This way, your period will be delayed until the end of the second pack.

 

Can I take norethisterone with a contraceptive implant?

You can delay your period whilst on a contraceptive implant such as Implanon or Nexplanon though general side effects may be more common. Please consult your GP before commencing treatment if you have any concerns.

 

More information can be found in the Dr Andrews Clinical Fact Sheet on Period Delay.

View Fact Sheet

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1. Choose your treatment1. Choose your treatmentRead through our clinical fact sheets before selecting the treatment option that you wish to order
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