Norethisterone : Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

Norethisterone uses

Taking Norethisterone

It is used to delay period and stop prolonged period bleeding.

Take 1 tablet 3 times a day starting 3 days before you are expecting your period.

Norethisterone should be taken for no longer than 20 days. you my take it for less if do not wish to delay your period for the 17 days.

Once you stop taking Norethisterone your period should occur within 2 to 3 days and your cycles should continue as usual after this. If you do not get your period you should do a pregnancy test and contact your GP.

Side effects

Side effects can include nausea (feeling sick), breast tenderness, tiredness, bloating, reduced sex drive or headache.
Rarely, it can cause a worsening of some chronic diseases, but our clinicians will advise you on this. For full information on side effects and correct use, see the patient information leaflet. If any side effects concern you, contact us via your Patient Record.


Norethisterone should be taken 3 days before you expect your next period to begin, and should become effective immediately. It can delay your period by up to 17 days if all 20 days worth of pills are taken. It requires you to take 3 pills a day, and once you stop taking them, your period should start after a couple of days.
For women with results outside safe limits, Norethisterone may not be suitable due to the increased risk of serious side effect such as bloods clots.

How it works

Norethisterone is a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone. Rather than allowing for the natural fall in progesterone during your period, Norethisterone keeps your progesterone levels up. This delays the shedding of your womb lining, and therefore delays your period.

Important information about Norethisterone

Norethisterone when taken in the manner needed for period delay will not act as a contraception and you should therefore ensure alternative suitable contraception is used.

You should not take Norethisterone if you are already taking the combined contraceptive pill. It is not suitable if you have a history of blood clots.

It is not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Safety: taking other medicines

You will not be suitable to take Norethisterone if you are already taking the combined contraceptive pill.

Norethisterone can be used alongside other medicines, but as with all medication there may be interactions with certain types. It is therefore important that you let us know which prescription, over-the-counter medicines and recreational drugs you are taking so that we can prescribe Norethisterone safely.

Alternative treatments

Norethisterone is the only period delay treatment we offer. Another alternative method is use of the combined pill back to back, this method should be discussed with a pharmacist, contraceptive service or doctor, as the method varies with different pills. You can also talk to your GP for other alternative treatments which are now available.

Norethsterone is available in most pharmacies.