Blog Period Delay Facts

Norethisterone: What you need to know

Information on period delay tablets. Always consult your own doctor before starting any new medications.

Many women take norethisterone when they experience heavy or irregular menstrual flows, or even painful flows. Norethisterone is a synthetic form of progesterone. Progesterone is a hormone used in menopausal hormone replacement therapy, heavy periods, contraceptive pills, and in the treatment of various other gynaecological conditions.

People also refer to norethisterone as the period delay tablets, period delay pills and period delay medications.

In this article, we discuss the basics of norethisterone, how it works, how effective it is, the side effects, and other important things you should about it.

What is norethisterone?

Norethisterone tablets are medications used for the treatment of menstrual problems, such as heavy, irregular, or painful periods. They are also used to treat premenstrual syndrome or endometriosis.

Your doctor may prescribe these as period delay tablets. For example, you may not want your period to take place while you are engaged in emergency duties, while engaging in sporting events, or while you are holidaying.

How does norethisterone work?

Norethisterone is the synthetic version of progesterone. Progesterone is a female sex hormone. Norethisterone works by mimicking the functions of natural progesterone. A woman’s progesterone levels fluctuate naturally during her monthly cycle. An increase in progesterone level causes the lining of the womb to build up, ready to receive a fertilised egg. If pregnancy doesn’t occur at that time, the lining of your womb will be shed. This is what we call a “period.” However, if you get pregnant, your progesterone level will continue to be on the high side, thus keeping your womb lining thick and healthy for the period of pregnancy.

When you take norethisterone, it will alter the growth of your womb lining. For example, if you take this medication just before the commencement of your period, it will cause your body to believe that you are pregnant. And so, your period won’t show up until you stop taking it.

For a woman who has endometriosis, a daily dose of norethisterone will have the same effect, and will stop the endometrial tissue from undergoing these monthly changes. Your periods won’t come on during the time that you’re taking the drug, and by the time you stop taking it, the endometrial tissue may have shrunk.

How to take norethisterone

Before using this drug, take time to read the information on the Patient Information Leaflet. The information written there is very important. It lets you know when to take your pills and what you should do if you miss a dose. If you are confused about your prescription, simply ask your doctor. He or she will guide you on what to do.

Doses of Norethisterone

Norethisterone should be taken orally according as per your doctor’s directives. In most cases, it is taken just once daily. Just choose that time of the day that you can easily remember, and take your pill. You should take it at the same time every day.

Norethisterone is best taken on the first day of your menstrual period. If you miss the first day of your period, then you may have to back it up with a non-hormonal birth control (lie spermicide or condoms) for the first 48 hours. With this, you can prevent pregnancy until norethisterone has enough time to exert its effect.

Take one tablet daily. When you’ve taken the last pack, start a new one the next day. You don’t have to take breaks between packs. When taking the drugs, you may notice your periods becoming lighter/heavier than usual, or irregular. You may also experience vaginal spotting – that is bleeding in the vagina between periods. You don’t have to stop your pills if this occurs.

There’s the possibility of a pregnancy occurring if you miss your pills, or take the pills at the wrong time (different from the usual time), or if you start a new pack late. If you miss your pill or you take it later than you should, or you vomit immediately after taking it, back up with a non-hormonal method of birth control, like spermicide or condoms for the next 48 hours.

Who should avoid taking norethisterone?

This medication should be avoided by people who are allergic to progesterone. It should also be avoided by people with unexplained vaginal bleeding or people with a history of high blood pressure, blood clots, breast or endometrial cancer, depression, diabetes, yellowing of the skin or eyes during pregnancy, liver disease, irregular heartbeat, and severe headache and migraines.

Is it safe to delay your periods?

Yes, it is safe, and it is also very effective. However, it should be done only with proper medical advice.

Alternative ways of delaying your period

Other ways of delaying your period include:

  • Using intrauterine devices
  • Hormonal injections like medroxyprogesterone
  • Vaginal ring
  • Contraceptive patch
Does norethisterone interact with other medications?

Yes! Some drugs can reduce the effectiveness of hormonal birth control. They do this by decreasing the amount of birth control hormones in your body. This may lead to pregnancy. Examples of drugs that may interact with norethisterone include St. John’s wort, griseofulvin (antifungal drug), HIV drugs such as ritonavir, nevirapine, and nelfinavir, and drugs for epilepsy like carbamazepine, perampanel, phenytoin, or phenobarbital.

What are the main side effects of norethisterone?

Common side effects of this drug include:

  • Weight gain
  • Breast tenderness
  • Bloating
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods
What you should do

Delaying your period gives you the freedom to manage your own life, and do what you wish to do with your time. You can prepare for, and attend big events that are around the corner. Before delaying your period, you should consult your doctor. He or she will guide on how best to do this.

Access Doctor offers online consultations for period delay treatment. We have well-trained UK doctors in our employ who are willing to assist you as you prepare to delay your period. We also provide the best quality Norethisterone 5mg tablets for oral use. Our service is 100% confidential. Always read the Patient leaflet available to download here.

Article sources

Shakespeare J, Neve E, Hodder K. Is norethisterone a lifestyle drug? Results of database analysis. BMJ. 2000;320(7230):291. doi:10.1136/bmj.320.7230.291

Coulter A, Kelland J, Peto V, Rees M. Treating menorrhagia in primary care: an overview of drug trials and a survey of prescribing practice. Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 1995; 11:456–471.

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