This page is for informational purposes only

Norethisterone (Period Delay) Tablets

Available in 30 and 60 tablet pack sizes

  • Hormone treatment used to delay periods
  • Also prescribed to treat heavy, painful periods
  • Always read the patient information leaflet before use.
Upon completion of a medical consultation with one of our health care professionals you can expect prices to start from £9.99
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Checked for Accuracy by James O'Loan . CEO & Prescribing Pharmacist . on 20/09/2021

What are norethisterone tablets? 

Norethisterone tablets are part of a group of medicines called progestogens, similar to the natural female hormone progesterone. Norethisterone is usually prescribed to delay a period, but can also be taken to manage heavy, painful or irregular periods. 

What is the recommended dosage? 

The recommended dosage for norethisterone tablets depends on what you’re using them for. The most common uses for norethisterone tablets are for period delay or heavy, painful periods, but they can also be used to treat premenstrual tension, endometriosis or breast cancer. In these cases, your doctor or pharmacist will recommend a dose based on your needs. 

For period delay: 

The usual dose of norethisterone needed to delay your period is 1 tablet 3 times a day. You will need to start taking the tablets 3 days before your period is due to start, and your period will usually start within 3 days of finishing the tablets. 

For heavy or painful periods:

You will usually take 1 norethisterone tablet 3 times a day for 10 days to treat heavy or painful periods. A few days after finishing the tablets, you will usually experience period-like bleeding. To stop your periods from causing problems again, your doctor or pharmacist may suggest taking norethisterone tablets for a few days after your next two periods, usually 1 tablet twice a day for 8 days, 19 days after your last period began. 

This information is for guidance only - you should follow the specific advice given by your doctor or Chemist4U when you are prescribed norethisterone. 

How does norethisterone delay a period? 

During a menstrual cycle, progesterone hormone levels fall and cause the lining of the womb to shed - this is what causes your period to start. By taking norethisterone, a synthetic version of the progesterone, three days before your period is due, the hormone levels won’t drop and your period won’t start until you stop taking the tablets. 

Why might a period need to be delayed? 

Having a period every month is a natural part of life for most women, but sometimes they’re due to arrive at the worst possible time. You may have a special event or a holiday coming up which could be negatively affected by heavy bleeding or period pain. It’s perfectly safe for most women to take norethisterone to delay their period, meaning you can take control of your cycle and make sure your period doesn’t get in the way. 

Are norethisterone tablets suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women? 

Norethisterone tablets must not be taken if you’re pregnant or think you may be pregnant. This is because hormonal medicines can affect the development of your baby. If you’re breastfeeding, you should speak to a doctor or Chemist4U pharmacist before taking norethisterone. 

Is norethisterone a contraceptive?

Norethisterone is NOT a contraceptive, so you must continue to use a barrier method of contraception to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. To prevent pregnancy and manage your periods on a more long-term basis, a hormonal contraceptive pill or other methods can be considered. 

When should this medicine not be used? 

Norethisterone tablets are only suitable if you’re female - they must not be taken if you’re male. They may be unsuitable for some women; you must not take this medication if: 

  • You are allergic to norethisterone, any of the other ingredients in this medicine, or other similar hormone medicines. 

  • You are pregnant or think you may be pregnant.

  • You have ever experienced any unexplained vaginal bleeding for which your doctor could not find a cause.

  • You or a family member have ever had a problem with blood clots, including deep vein thrombosis. 

  • You have ever had a heart attack or angina.

  • You have liver problems

  • You have ever had a pregnancy where you had jaundice or an itchy rash known as pemphigoid gestationis (small blisters on your abdomen). 

  • You have severe generalised itching all over your body (pruritis). 

  • You have a rare inherited blood disease known as porphyria. 

You should talk to a doctor or Chemist4U pharmacist before taking norethisterone if you have any of the following conditions: 

  • Epilepsy

  • Migraine headaches

  • Asthma

  • Heart problems

  • Kidney problems

You should also tell your doctor or Chemist4U pharmacist if you have just had an operation or you are due to have an operation whilst taking norethisterone tablets. 

Are there any side effects?

As with all medicines, norethisterone can cause side effects, but not everyone gets them. If you experience any symptoms of the following rare but severe side effects, stop taking norethisterone and seek medical attention immediately: 

  • Allergic reaction: wheezing, difficulty breathing, feeling faint, swelling of the face or tongue, swelling of the hands and feet or intense itchy skin rash. 

  • Blood clot in the lungs: severe pain in your chest, coughing up blood, sudden shortness of breath or rapid heartbeat.

  • Blood clot in the brain (stroke): unusually severe or long headache, effects on your eyesight, difficulty speaking, fainting or collapse or any part of your body feels weak or numb.

  • Deep-vein thrombosis: severe pain or swelling in your calf, ankle or foot, purple discolouration of the skin of your leg, or red skin that is warm to touch. 

If you experience jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes) or a migraine headache for the first time whilst taking norethisterone, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible. Other side effects of norethisterone have been categorised below. 

Effects on the reproductive system and breasts: 

  • Bleeding and spotting between periods

  • Lack of periods (amenorrhoea)

  • Unexpected or unusual vaginal bleeding

  • Changes in discharge from the cervix

  • Cervical erosions (usually picked up during a smear test)

  • Cycles where you don’t ovulate (anovulation)

  • Breast pain and tenderness

  • Milky discharge from the breast when not pregnant or breastfeeding (galactorrhoea)

Effects on the nervous system:

  • Headache

  • Depression

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Confusion

  • Nervousness

  • A feeling of intense happiness (euphoria)

  • Feeling sleepy

  • Loss of concentration

  • Vision problems

Effects on the stomach and intestines:

  • Feeling or being sick

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhoea

  • Dry mouth

Effects on the liver:

  • Disturbed liver function

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes) 

Effects on your metabolism:

  • Altered fat levels in the blood

  • Alteration of blood sugar levels

  • Increased levels of insulin between means and existing diabetes getting worse

  • Decreased tolerance to some sugars like glucose

  • Adrenergic-like effects (e.g. hand tremors, sweating, cramps in the calves at night)

  • Effects on the adrenal glands (e.g. Cushingoid syndrome)

  • Cloudy vision

  • Sugar in your urine

Effects on your heart and circulation: 

  • Blood clots

  • Heart attacks

  • Congestive heart failure

  • Increased blood pressure

  • Feeling your heartbeat

  • Clots in the blood vessels of the retina

  • Heart beating faster (tachycardia)

Effects on your skin and hair: 

  • Acne 

  • Increase in body or facial hair

  • Hair loss

  • Itching

  • Rash

  • Hives

Miscellaneous: 

  • Fluid retention and swelling of the hands and ankles

  • Bloating

  • Weight gain

  • Raised temperature

  • Change in appetite

  • Change in sex drive

  • Fatigue

  • Increase in calcium (seen in blood tests)

If you experience any side effects, including any not included in the patient information leaflet, you can report them using the MHRA Yellow Card Scheme

Do I need a prescription for norethisterone?

You do need a prescription for norethisterone in the UK. Our healthcare professionals can provide prescriptions if they think this treatment would be right for you and your condition. When you click the button which reads “Start Consultation” at the top of this page, you’ll see a short questionnaire set up by our healthcare team which is designed to help them understand your medical needs. Just like an in-person consultation with your GP, our doctors will assess your answers to their questions and write a prescription for the treatment they think will be best for you. You’ll then be able to pay for your medication and we’ll send it out to you quickly and in discreet packaging.

Storage information

Keep this medicine out of the sight and reach of children and store below 25°C in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Do not use this medicine after the expiry date, which is stated on the packaging. The expiry date refers to the last day of that month.

Important information

This product is a medicine; make sure to speak to your doctor or Chemist4U pharmacist before taking this product if you have an underlying medical problem or are taking any other medicine or complementary therapy. If your symptoms get worse or continue after taking this product, contact us or your doctor. For medical services in your area, please refer to https://www.nhs.uk

If you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, speak to your doctor or our pharmacist before taking this product. If you suffer from any allergies, ask your doctor or our pharmacist if this medicine is right for you.

Store all medicines out of sight and reach of children.

Please read the included leaflet carefully before using this product.

Please contact your GP if appropriate regarding this product.


Helpful Advice on Medication Restrictions & Addiction

For further information on our medication restrictions policy, please click here.

If you are concerned about addiction to 'over the counter' medication, we urge you to visit the below links for professional help and advice:

NHS Help & Advice on Drug Addiction

Talk To Frank - Drug Addiction Help & Support



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