Norethisterone Tablets - 5mg

  • Commonly prescribed to women to delay a period
  • Can be used to delay your period for up to 17 days
  • To be taken 3 days before your period is due to start

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Norethisterone period delay tablets

Special events such as weddings and holidays can often coincide with your period. If you want to delay your period, norethisterone tablets can effectively delay your period for up to 17 days when taken 3 days before your period is expected to start.

Norethisterone tablets can effectively and safely delay your period and can be purchased from Medicine Direct following an online consultation with one of our UK prescribers.

Norethisterone, for the purpose of delaying a period, should only be used by women who are not currently taking a contraceptive pill.

What is Norethisterone?

Norethisterone is a medicine that is used in birth control pills; it is often prescribed for women to delay a period. Typically, Norethisterone is used to delay a period for a holiday, wedding or other specific event. It should not be taken for this purpose continually.

It is suitable for women over the age of 18 years old.

You need a prescription to buy Norethisterone tablets.

What is Norethisterone used to treat?

Norethisterone is commonly prescribed for women as a medicine to delay their period. It is also prescribed to help women who suffer from irregular periods, or painful or heavy periods.

It is a synthetic progestogen, which is similar to the natural female sex hormone progesterone.

Before a woman gets her period, the progesterone levels in her body will normally fall. Taking Norethisterone will sustain the lining of your womb and delay a period until you stop taking the tablets.

These tablets can be used safely to delay your period for up to 17 days, although you should not use them to delay periods regularly.

Norethisterone tablets are available in two different packet sizes:

  • Packets of 30 pills to delay period bleeding for 7 days.
  • Packets of 60 pills to delay your period for up to 17 days.

Norethisterone as a hormonal replacement therapy

When taken in combination with oestrogen, norethisterone is also used in hormonal replacement therapy (HRT).

Hormone replacement therapy most commonly involves taking a combination of oestrogen and progesterone (combined HRT). Taking oestrogen on its own increases the risk of endometrial cancer.

Why delay your period?

It is perfectly natural for a woman to have a monthly period; this is an important and natural part of your menstrual cycle.

However, there may be times when you wish to delay your period to avoid it arriving at an inopportune time. There is no specific reason you must give a doctor for medication to delay your period, and most women have considered delaying their period for convenience. For example, if you are getting married you may wish to delay your period to stop it from coming on the big day.

Norethisterone tablets are designed to be taken in isolated events. They should not be used to permanently prevent your period from occurring.

Norethisterone cannot stop a period from occurring if it has already started, it must be taken 3 days before you are expected to start your period.

How does Norethisterone work?

Norethisterone is a synthetic progestogen designed to mimic progesterone, which is a naturally occurring hormone within the body. During a menstrual cycle, the level of progesterone in the body drops, which causes the lining of the womb to shed and a period to commence. Norethisterone tops up the naturally occurring levels of progesterone, which prevents a period from taking place.

Norethisterone dose

The dose you need to take will depend on why you are taking Norethisterone. Typically, our prescribers will follow NICE guidelines when prescribing Norethisterone.

Below is a table that shows the usual recommended doses for each condition. However, it is most important that you take Norethisterone tablets in the dose your doctor prescribes for you.



Delay your period

Take 1 5mg tablet 3 times a day (15mg). Start taking them 3 days before you are due on your period.

Premenstrual tension

Take 1 tablet each day for 10 days, beginning 16 days after your last period started.

Heavy bleeding or other period problems

Take 1 tablet 3 times a day for 10 days.


Take 1 tablet 3 times a day for at least 6 months. This dose may be increased to 4 or 5 tablets by your doctor if you experience irregular bleeding or spotting.

How to take Norethisterone

  • Start taking Norethisterone three days before you are due to start your period.
  • Take one tablet three times a day.
  • You will get your period two or three days after you stop taking Norethisterone.
  • Swallow Norethisterone tablets whole with a drink of water.
  • Norethisterone will not stop a period once it has started. You will need to start taking it before your period is due.

Read the patient information leaflet, which will come with your tablets, for full instructions.

Who can take Norethisterone?

Norethisterone may not be suitable for all women to use. Speak to your doctor if you are not sure if this medication is suitable for you.

Do not take Norethisterone if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have or have had angina and/or a heart attack
  • You have any liver problems
  • You are allergic to norethisterone or any of the other ingredients contained in this medicine
  • You have or have ever had vaginal bleeding which your doctor could not find the cause of
  • You or anyone in your family has had a problem with blood clots, including deep vein thrombosis
  • You have ever been pregnant and suffered from jaundice, or an itchy rash called pemphigoid gestationis
  • You have severe generalised itching all over your body
  • You have been told by your doctor that you have an allergy to certain types of sugar
  • You are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or think you might be pregnant
  • You have porphyria

This list is not exhaustive. Always refer to the patient information leaflet for a complete list of precautions.

Can you buy Norethisterone over the counter?

No, Norethisterone tablets are not available to purchase over the counter. This is a prescription medicine that can only be bought when a doctor has prescribed it.

Can you buy Norethisterone online in the UK?

Medicine Direct stocks Norethisterone tablets for period delay. However, before you can buy Norethisterone online from our pharmacy, you will need to have an online consultation.

All you have to do is answer some questions to make sure that this medicine is safe for you to take. This will be determined by one of our certified doctors, prescribers or pharmacists, who will review the answers you provide in an online questionnaire. Next day delivery is available on orders placed by 2pm.

For your own safety, do not order prescription or non-prescription medicine online from anywhere other than regulated pharmacies like ours. This will prevent the purchasing of unsafe or fake medication.

Norethisterone alternatives

Norethisterone is also contained in Utovlan, which is a branded version of this medication. You can also order Utovlan for effective period delay treatment from our pharmacy after completing an online consultation.

Additionally, Provera can be purchased from Medicine Direct, which contains medroxyprogesterone acetate and can also be used to effectively delay your period ahead of a special occasion.

Norethisterone Indications and Dose

All our Doctors and Pharmacists follow NICE guidelines when prescribing Norethisterone.

Always take Norethisterone 5mg tablets exactly as instructed by your doctor. Read the patient information leaflet thoroughly before you start taking Norethisterone; speak to your doctor if you are not sure how to take it.

How much you will need to take will depend on the condition you are being treated for. Your doctor will advise you on the dosage.

What if I forget to take it?

If you accidentally miss a dose of Norethisterone, take it as soon as you remember, then continue taking it as normal.

Do not double dose to try and make up for missing a previous dose.

To properly delay a period, Norethisterone tablets should be taken consistently. To make sure you do not forget to use this medicine, it is best if you take it at the same times every day. Some people find it helpful if they set an alarm as a reminder.

What if I take more than I am supposed to?

If you have accidentally taken more Norethisterone 5mg tablets than you are supposed to, you should speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

Do not take this medicine for longer than 17 days.

Can I take Norethisterone as a contraceptive?

This strength of Norethisterone is not a contraceptive and should not be used as one. Norethisterone is contained in some contraceptive pills, but this is in a different dose to this tablet.

Can I keep taking Norethisterone to delay my period?

You can take Norethisterone for up to 17 days to delay your period. However, you must not use it continuously and it should not be used more than once in four months.

Can I drink alcohol with it?

Alcohol will not interfere with Norethisterone.

Can I still get pregnant while I’m taking Norethisterone?

Yes, this medicine is not a contraceptive and you are still at risk of pregnancy while you are taking it.

Will it make me gain weight?

Weight gain and fluid retention are side effects that can occur while taking this medicine. However, this will not affect everyone. Speak to your doctor if you feel that Norethisterone is causing you to gain weight.

How long will Norethisterone stay in my system?

This medicine has a half life of between 5 and 12 hours. Norethisterone is mostly metabolised in your liver and around 60% of the dose will be excreted through your urine and faeces.

When will I get my period?

Your period will come two or three days after you have finished taking Norethisterone tablets.

Will it cause blood clots?

Blood clots are a side effect of Norethisterone. You must not take this medicine if you have blood clots, or if you have a family history of them.

How quickly will Norethisterone stop my period?

It will take Norethisterone a few days to get to work, which is why you need to start taking it three days before you are due to start your period.

Can Norethisterone cause hair loss?

Hair loss is a side effect of this medicine, as is an increase in body or facial hair. If you notice any of these side effects, speak to your doctor for advice on what you can do.

Norethisterone Side Effects

Speak to your doctor straight away if:

  • You get yellowing of the skin or the whites of your eyes turn yellow
  • You have a disturbed liver function
  • You get constipation or diarrhoea
  • You get dry mouth
  • You get fluid retention and swelling in your hands and ankles
  • You gain weight or bloat
  • You suffer fatigue or changes in your sex drive
  • You have a change in appetite
  • You have hair loss, or an increase in body or facial hair
  • You get acne, hives or an itchy skin rash
  • You get a decreased tolerance to certain sugars
  • You have altered fat levels in your blood
  • You have cloudy vision
  • You have sugar in your urine
  • You have increased levels of insulin between meals and your existing diabetes gets worse
  • You get a migraine headache for the very first time
  • You get depression, dizziness, confusion, nervousness or difficulty sleeping
  • You have an intense feeling of happiness (euphoria)

If your blood pressure gets too high, your doctor may tell you to stop using this medicine.

Serious allergic reaction

In rare cases, it is possible to have a serious allergic reaction to Norethisterone. If this happens, you might require immediate treatment in hospital.

You must either call 999 or go to A&E straight away if you exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • You have tightness in your chest or throat
  • You have a skin rash that is red, itchy, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
  • You get swelling in your face, throat, lips, tongue or mouth
  • You are wheezing
  • You are finding it hard to speak or breathe

This list may not be exhaustive. Please, read the patient information leaflet thoroughly for a full list of side effects.

If you have any questions or concerns at all, please do not hesitate to discuss these with your doctor.

Norethisterone Warnings and drug interactions

Norethisterone may interact with other medicines and increase your risk of side effects.

It is very important that you tell your doctor if you are currently taking any other medicines before you start using a new one. This includes prescription and non-prescription medication, herbal remedies, vitamins and supplements.

In particular, make sure your doctor is aware if you are currently taking any of the following:

  • Anticancer medications
  • Any antibiotic medicines to treat infections
  • Any herbal remedies that contain St. John's Wort
  • Aminoglutethimide
  • Any medicines used to treat HIV
  • Any medicines to treat epilepsy
  • Ciclosporin, which suppresses the immune system
  • Medicines to treat high blood pressure
  • Any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for treating pain and inflammation

Always read the patient information leaflet for complete lists.

Norethisterone may also interfere with certain laboratory tests, so be sure to tell your doctor that you are taking it if you are required to have any tests.

Make sure you tell your doctor if you have recently had an operation.

Risk of Venous Thromboembolism

All women have a small chance of developing a blood clot in the veins of the leg, in the lung, or other part of the body.

If you are taking a hormone medicine like Norethisterone, your chances of developing a blood clot is raised slightly. This risk is raised even further if you:

  • Are very overweight
  • You have had a blood clot in the veins or lungs before
  • You have systemic lupus erythematosus
  • You have a history of repeated miscarriages
  • You are unable to move for long periods of time
  • You have major surgery or a serious injury
  • You have relatives who had blood clots

If you have any questions or concerns at all, please do not hesitate to speak to your doctor.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Make sure your doctor is aware if you are currently pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or think you might be pregnant. Hormonal medicines can affect the development of an unborn baby, so pregnant women must not take Norethisterone. You must use some form of contraception while using this medication.

Norethisterone is not a contraceptive pill.

You should also inform your doctor if you are currently breastfeeding, as an alternative period delay medicine may be more suitable for you to use.

Norethisterone Ingredients

The main active ingredient within this medicine is: Norethisterone

For a full list of the inactive ingredients, please read the Summary of Product Characteristics

Delivery Company Delivery Service Price Details
Royal Mail UK Delivery Standard UK Tracked £2.99 3 - 4 Working Day Delivery
DPD UK Next Day Delivery Next Day Delivery - Tracked £5.95 Order by 2pm (subject to Dr approval) Next Working Day Delivery
DPD UK Next Day Delivery Next Day Tracked Morning Delivery by 12:00pm £12.95 Next Working Day Morning Delivery by 12:00pm
DPD UK Next Day Delivery Tracked Saturday Delivery £9.95

Delivery specified for Saturday

Order Friday by 2pm (subject to Dr approval)

Please note that next day delivery to Northern Ireland, Scottish Highlands & Islands and British Isles cannot be guaranteed. Please contact our team for more information.

Reviewed bySonia Khan MPharm: 2076091

Updated on: 27/09/2021

This content has been written by our Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh and has been medically reviewed by our Pharmacist Sonia Khan

Hussain Abdeh Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct

Hussain Abdeh
MPharm: 2211840

Pharmacist Independent Prescriber

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