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Adeel Arshad

Authored on 24 January 2024 by Adeel Arshad,

Reviewed 24 January 2024 by Dr Ruch Karunadasa.



Norethisterone is a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone. By keeping levels of this hormone up, it stops your womb from shedding its lining, and can delay your period by up to 17 days.

Medication effect duration

Like any other prescription medication you must consult a doctor before using it. PrivateDoc offers a confidential free consultation service that may result in you receiving a prescription for Norethisterone if it is deemed appropriate and Norethisterone can prescribed safely.

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How does Norethisterone work?

The active ingredient in Period Delay tablets supplied by PrivateDoc is Norethisterone. Norethisterone belongs to a group of medicines called progestogens which are female sex hormones. These medicines work by mimicking the effects of female sex hormones produced in the body.

Norethisterone is not a method of contraception and will therefore not prevent pregnancy, so you should continue to use contraceptive methods.

How much does Norethisterone cost?

What conditions can Norethisterone be used for?

You may be prescribed Norethisterone Tablets if you want to delay your next period.

Norethisterone Tablets are also used to treat or manage:

  • Heavy periods
  • Painful periods
  • Irregular periods or periods that are more frequent than normal
  • Premenstrual tension (PMT)
  • Endometriosis (where tissue from your womb is found outside your womb)
  • Breast cancer
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How do I use Norethisterone?

Take 1 tablet 3 times a day starting 3 days before your next period is due.

Norethisterone should be taken for no longer than 20 days.

The recommended dose will depend on the condition you are being treated for. This information can also be found in the Norethisterone product literature.

When can I not use Norethisterone?

Do not use Norethisterone if:

  • you suspect that you are pregnant
  • have ever had a reaction to or been told that you are allergic to norethisterone or any of the other ingredients in the tablets
  • have liver disease or have/have had a tumour in the liver
  • have abnormal bleeding from the vagina of unknown cause
  • have or have had cancer of the breast or of the cervix, vagina, womb, ovaries or fallopian tubes, unless you have been prescribed Norethisterone Tablets as part of the treatment for one of these conditions
  • have or have had a high risk of disease of your arteries
  • have porphyria (an inherited blood disorder)
  • have had a thrombosis (a clot in a blood vessel in your leg or lungs)
  • have had jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)

A full list of contraindications and cautions is available in the full summary of Norethisterone characteristics.

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Are there any side effects to taking Norethisterone

Like all medicines, Norethisterone can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.

Like all medicines, Norethisterone can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.

  • nausea
  • headache
  • breast tenderness
  • tiredness

Do not take Norethisterone tablets if you have:

  • an allergy (hypersensitivity) to Norethisterone tablets or any of the other ingredients
  • any liver disease or disturbance of liver function
  • suffered from jaundice or herpes during pregnancy
  • Dubin-Johnson Syndrome (chronic jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)) or Rotor Syndrome (jaundice in childhood)
  • irregular vaginal bleeding of unknown cause
  • had a blood clot affecting the legs (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism)
  • had a recent heart attack (myocardial infarction) or suffer from angina an inherited disorder of the red blood pigment haemoglobin (porphyria)
  • severe itching
  • had cancer of the breast or genital tract (unless Norethisterone tablets are given as part of a cancer treatment programme)

If any of the side effects get serious, or if you notice any side effects not listed, please contact us or contact your GP.

If you think you are reacting badly to the medicine, get emergency medical help immediately

A full list of side effects can be found in the patient information leaflet.

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