Easy-to-read medicine information about norethisterone – what it is, how to take it safely and possible side effects.
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What is norethisterone?
Norethisterone belongs to a group of medicines called progestogens. Progestogen is very similar to the hormone progesterone that your body makes naturally. Norethisterone has different uses such as for endometriosis (where the womb-lining tissue grows outside the womb), heavy menstrual periods, irregular periods and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), many symptoms women may have before their menstrual period each month.
In New Zealand, norethisterone is available as tablets (5 mg) called Primolut N®.
Norethisterone is also available in a lower dose as a contraceptive pill for women, to prevent pregnancy, called Noriday®. It's a progestogen-only oral contraceptive pill or mini pill. Read more about the mini pill.
- The dose of norethisterone will be different for different women.
- The usual dose is 5 mg two or three times a day.
- Take norethisterone exactly as your doctor tells you to. You may be asked to take the tablets every day, or to take them just on certain days of your monthly cycle. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much norethisterone to take, how often to take it and any special instructions.
How to take norethisterone
- Swallow your tablets with a glass of water.
- You can take norethisterone with or without food.
- If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.
Precautions before taking norethisterone
It’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start using norethisterone if you:
- are pregnant or think you may be pregnant
- are breastfeeding
- have blood clots such as in the blood vessels in your legs (deep vein thrombosis), lungs (pulmonary embolism), heart (heart attack), brain (stroke) or any other parts of your body.
- Have ever had depression.
- are planning to have any surgery (operation).
Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.
Possible side effects
Like all medicines, norethisterone can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them.
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Norethisterone may interact with a number of important medications and herbal supplements so check with your doctor or pharmacist before you start taking norethisterone or any other medicines.
The following is further reading that gives you more information on norethisterone.
Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet: Primolut N