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Norethisterone Tablets

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Norethisterone (generic Utovlan) is a period delay tablet. One tablet should be taken three times a day, starting three days before the expected date of your period. It can delay your period for up to 17 days. Norethisterone will postpone your period until you stop taking the tablets.

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ABOUT Norethisterone Tablets

What is norethisterone used for?

Norethisterone is a synthetic version of progesterone, a hormone involved in regulating the menstrual cycle in women. Norethisterone can be used as a period delay tablet. Most women use norethisterone to stop bleeding on a temporary basis for a particular occasion. Other norethisterone uses include treating certain medical conditions such as endometriosis, heavy periods or painful periods. It is also used in IVF treatment. Utovlan is a branded version of norethisterone.

How does norethisterone work to delay periods?

Progesterone levels fluctuate throughout the course of the month. Towards the end of the cycle, progesterone levels drop, causing the lining of the womb to break down and it is expelled via bleeding. This is known as a period. Norethisterone works to keep levels of progesterone elevated, so that the lining of the womb is not broken down. This stops bleeding. 

How to take norethisterone

For norethisterone tablets to be effective, you should take one tablet three time a day, starting three days before your period is due. Keep taking the tablet for as long as you want to be period free. Your period will recommence 2-3 days after stopping norethisterone. 

Does it matter when I start taking norethisterone?

You should aim to take norethisterone tablets three days before your period is due. The closer you take it to your expected period, the higher the chances of spotting.

Can norethisterone stop a period once it has started?

No, norethisterone pills cannot stop your period once it has started. If you take norethisterone on the day of your period, or anytime during your period, is it not likely to work.

You can try taking the contraceptive pill on the first day of your period to help to shorten the length of your period, but it will not stop your period completely.

What if I forget to take a tablet?

If you miss a dose of norethisterone, take it as soon as you remember. If you remember when it is time for your next dose, do not take two tablets together

How long can you take norethisterone tablets for?

Norethisterone tablets can be taken for a maximum of 20 days, giving 17 days period free (as it needs to be taken three days before the onset of a period).

Do I need to eat before taking norethisterone 5mg?

Norethisterone tablets can be taken with or without food.

How long after taking norethisterone will my period start?

Your period will start around 2-3 days after stopping norethisterone. If your period does not come after a few days of having stopped taking tablets, you should do a pregnancy test. Not getting a period after taking norethisterone does not necessarily mean you are pregnant. Sometimes periods can take a few days longer to start, however, a pregnancy should be done for precaution.

How effective is norethisterone in delaying periods?

Most women find that norethisterone is effective at delaying their period. Some women may find that they experience occasional spotting (small spots of blood that are visible on underwear), or light breakthrough bleeds. Taking norethisterone tablets closer to the time of your expected period can increase the chances of this happening. It is important to try and take norethisterone three days before your expected period to reduce the chances of spotting. If you take norethisterone too late, it will reduce the chances of it working to stop your period.

What if I am taking the contraceptive pill?

Norethisterone cannot be taken with the contraceptive pill. If you are taking the progestogen only pill, also known as the mini pill, there is no need to take a period delay tablet if you are not having a bleed. If you do experience bleeding, you should stop taking the mini pill before using norethisterone.

If you are taking a combined contraceptive pill, you can avoid having a period by taking two packets back to back (missing out the tablet free days). You can take up to three packets back to back. This is common practice and works for 21-day monophasic pills such as MicrogynonYasminRigevidon and Cilest. It is important to seek advice from a healthcare professional before doing so.

If you are taking a 21-day phasic pill such as Logynon or Binovium, you should consult your GP or pharmacist. This is because each pill contains a different number of hormones and need to be taken in the correct order to be effective. 

Will norethisterone stop me from getting pregnant?

Norethisterone is a contraceptive when used at a different strength. The dose of norethisterone tablets required to delay periods will not prevent you from getting pregnant. There is a chance that you can ovulate when taking norethisterone, so you should practice contraception if you do not wish to get pregnant. You may wish to consider a combined oral contraceptive pill and miss out the tablet-free interval if you wish to benefit from contraception.

Are norethisterone tablets safe?

Norethisterone tablets are an effective way in delaying periods. You should always check with your doctor beforehand to see if it is suitable for you to take these tablets, as it can be dangerous for some women (e.g. women with a personal or family history of blood clots). You should fill out our questionnaire which will determine whether you can use norethisterone safely. 

Norethisterone side effects

Some women may experience side effects whilst others do not.

Common side effects for women taking norethisterone include a change in their period such as frequent and irregular bleeding, spotting, or stopping periods; headaches; breast tenderness; feeling sick; cramps; weight gain; and changes in their mood and sex drive.

The most common norethisterone long-term side effects are not common, and you should not experience norethisterone side effects after stopping the course.

Does norethisterone reset your cycle?

Yes, norethisterone will change the date of your cycle. When you take norethisterone, it delays your period. This means the start date of your period and your menstrual cycle will be reset. Your period can be delayed up to 17 days, depending on how long you use the tablets for.

When you stop taking norethisterone, your period will begin within 2 to 3 days. The date your period restarts is your new cycle date. You can expect your next period approximately 28 days after your period starts, assuming your period normally comes every 28 days and you do not delay your period again.

Who should not use norethisterone?

You should not use norethisterone tablets if:

  • You are pregnant
  • You have any allergies to norethisterone or any of the ingredients contained in the tablet
  • You have vaginal bleeding that is not a period (this includes past problems of a similar nature)
  • You have a problem with blood clots, or have a family history of blood clots such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • You suffer from angina
  • You have had a heart attack
  • You have any problems with your liver
  • You have experience jaundice when pregnant or experienced an itchy rash on your body that has turned into blisters when pregnant (pemphigoid gestationis)
  • You experience general itching on your body
  • You have porphyria, a rare disorder affecting mainly the skin and nervous system

You should only use norethisterone under the advice of your doctor if you have any of the following:

Norethisterone may be suitable after having had a check up with your doctor. We are unable to prescribe period delay tablets if you fall into any of the above categories, as it requires specialist monitoring.

Can I take norethisterone with other medication?

Norethisterone tablets can be taken safely with most medication, except for the following:

  • Antiepileptics
  • Certain antibiotics such as doxycycline and rifampicin
  • Certain antivirals, such as the ones used in the treatment of HIV
  • Cancer medication
  • Aminoglutethimide
  • Ciclosporin, used in the suppressing the immune system
  • Certain pain killers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen
  • Medication used to treat high blood pressure

You should speak to your doctor if you are taking any medication that falls into the above categories. You may still be able to take norethisterone under your doctors’ supervision.

When should I see my doctor?

You should see your doctor if you wish to take period delay tablets but have a medical condition, or if you are taking any medication that cannot be used with norethisterone.
You should also see your doctor if:

  • You do not have a period after stopping norethisterone (as it may be that you are pregnant).
  • Your bleed after taking norethisterone is longer or heavier than usual. After taking norethisterone, you should experience a bleed that lasts for the same amount of time as your normal period. If you experience prolonged bleeding which is significantly heavier than usual, you should see your GP or pharmacist.

You should stop taking norethisterone tablets and seek medical advice immediately if:

  • You experience any symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). DVT symptoms include:
    • Pain, tenderness or swelling in your legs
    • Your skin on your leg turns a purple/red colour
    • Your leg feels warm
  • Your skin and eyes turn a yellow colour
  • You are experiencing strong headaches, change in sight, difficulty speaking, numbness in any part of the body or you faint. This is extremely rare, but may be signs of a blood clot in the brain
  • You are experiencing shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, chest pain or you cough up blood. These are symptoms of a blood clot in the lungs, which is extremely rare.

What are the reviews of norethisterone like?

Reviews of norethisterone are useful in providing extra information and trusted answers to your questions from women who have used it. Together with the product information, norethisterone reviews can help you to decide if this tablet is right for you.

Chemist Click has user reviews taken from Trustpilot, an independent and non-biased review website. These reviews are for the use of norethisterone for period delay. You can see our reviews for this product are positive. However, individual experiences may differ. 

What is the difference between norethisterone and Utovlan or Primolut N?

Utovlan and Primolut N are the branded versions of norethisterone. They all contain the same active ingredient (norethisterone), and the only difference may be in the inactive ingredients (such as excipients that bind the tablet together). They all work in the same way and are equally as effective. Some women may have tried a brand and may want to stick with that, but no particular brand is better than the other. If you would prefer a brand, please get in touch and we will try our best to accommodate. 

Am I allowed to take norethisterone tablets on the plane?

You will be allowed to take your medication onto the plane as part of your hand luggage. Always ensure that your tablets are in the box provided, with the pharmacy label which states your name and instructions. To be extra sure, we advise checking with the airline before travelling.

Am I allowed to take norethisterone tablets to another country?

It is important that you check the rules for the country that you are travelling to. Most countries will not have an issue and you can safely bring medication for personal use into their country. Some countries such as Dubai, will require you to bring a copy of the prescription. We suggest that you check with the embassy of the country that you’re travelling to for the correct procedures in regards to bringing prescription medication into other countries. If you require a copy of your prescription, please do let us know.  

Can you get norethisterone on the NHS?

Norethisterone is available on the NHS to delay periods, although this is at the discretion of your GP. It is also available on the NHS to treat endometriosis and heavy or painful periods.

How can I buy norethisterone tablets online?

  1. Read the information above
  2. Answer the medical questions to determine your suitability
  3. Consultation is reviewed by our medical team and your medication is posted from our pharmacy

Last Updated

Side Effects

What are the side-effects of period delay tablets (norethisterone)?

Period delay tablets generally don't cause any side-effects, as they are taken for such a short period of time at a low strength. However, as with all medication, there is a possibility you may experience some side-effects. Common side-effects of norethisterone include:

  • Nausea
  • Breast tenderness
  • Fatigue

Please read the Patient Information Leaflet for a more comprehensive list of side-effects

Patient Information Leaflet

For more information about Norethisterone Period Delay Tablets, take a look at the patient information leaflet below: 


Where can I find out more information about Norethisterone?

To find out more information about Norethisterone, visit the NHS website.


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Norethisterone PRICES

*Please note: We do NOT charge a prescription fee

Medicine x30 Tablets (Up to 7 days delay)
Norethisterone 5mg Tablets (Up to 7 days delay) 19.99


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