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Norethisterone is used in contraception

How it works

Norethisterone works by altering the lining of the uterus. The low-dose contraceptive changes the lining of the womb and so prevents esent in the body) on womb lining, stabilizes this lining and decreases pain and bleeding during the periods or delays the periods. Continuous exposure to norethisterone decreases the rate of growth of breast cancer cells.

Common side effects

Adrenal insufficiency, Rash, Vaginal discharge, Headache, Dizziness, Back pain, Increased appetite, Decreased libido, Pain in extremity, Abdominal distension, Cushing syndrome, Sleepiness, Vomiting, Nausea, Edema, Abdominal pain, Abdominal pain lower, Breast pain, Fatigue, Hair loss, Acne, Hot flushes, Thrombophlebitis, Diarrhoea, Irregular menstrual cycle, Cushingoid syndrome, Increased blood pressure, Depression, Mood changes, Nervousness, Constipation, Increased glucose level in blood, Breathing difficulty

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Expert advice

For oral contraceptive pill: Take your pill at the same time every day.
Do not take norethisterone tablets (for other uses):
  • If you have ever had a reaction to or been told that you are allergic to norethisterone or any of the other ingredients in the tablets.
  • If you are pregnant or suspect that you may be.
  • If you have missed any of the pills in a strip, and you do not bleed within 45 days of your last period, you may be pregnant. Stop taking norethisterone oral contraceptive pill and contact your doctor or family planning clinic, or do a pregnancy test yourself.
  • If you lose a pill, just take a pill from a spare strip. Then take all the other pills from your current strip as usual.
  • If you are sick or have very bad diarrhea or vomiting (within 3 hours of taking the pill), your body may not get its usual dose of hormones from that pill; just take a pill from a spare strip. Carry on taking your pills as normal if you can. You won’t need to use extra contraception.
  • If you have been sick more than 3 hours after taking the pill carry on taking your pills as normal and use extra contraception for 2 days after you are better.
  • If you are planning a baby, it’s best to use another method of contraception after stopping the pill until you have regular periods. However, it will not cause you or the baby any harm if you get pregnant straight away.
Do not take norethisterone tablets for any indication if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Frequently asked questions



Is norethisterone safe/dangerous/ cause weight gain/affect ovulation/make you tired/cause cramps?
Norethisterone is safe if used exactly in dosage and for duration as prescribed by your doctor. It would have short term effect on ovulation. This is because it affects the release of hormones. It may cause side effects such as weight gain, feeling tired, cramps


Does norethisterone stop periods?
Norethisterone does not stop but is used for delaying the periods


Can I take norethisterone for 3 weeks/for 2 months/for 2 weeks/for a month/ for 2 weeks/for 4 weeks/how long can i take norethisterone tablets for/can i take norethisterone without a break?
It is important for some people to start taking this medicine on a particular day of the menstrual cycle for a specific number of days. This depends on which condition is being treated. Always follow the advice of your doctor regarding the schedule of doses and duration of norethisterone

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Is norethisterone the same as provera/ can I take norethisterone with cerelle/with cerazette/with mirena coil/ with micronor/with the implant/with the pill/ with microgynon 30/with yasmin/with noriday?
Micronor or Noriday are brand names for norethisterone. It is different from provera (Medroxyprogesterone), but both are progesterones. Yes you can take norethisterone with cerelle/ cerazette, which are mini pills. You can take it with microgynon or Yasmin. Check with your doctor before you start any other medication along with norethisterone, especially those which contain progesterone in any form.

Content on this page was last updated on 10 February, 2017, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)