Supply issue with contraceptive pill Norimin

Suppliers of the combined oral contraceptive pill Norimin have advised that it is temporarily out of stock. Instead women will be prescribed the replacement brand Necon, to cover the short unavailability period. The shortage is due to ongoing supply issues with all ethinyloestradiol and norethisterone products, the hormones found in Norimin. Read more about the combined oral contraceptive pill.

What does it mean for me?

If you are currently taking Norimin and need a new prescription, talk to your prescriber about alternative contraceptive options for you. Your health professional will provide you with advice on Necon or an alternative option that is best for you. They should cover:

  • the different packaging and product information for Necon
  • whether an alternative medicine is a better option for you
  • how to maintain effective contraception when switching between brands
  • the 7-day rule when switching between brands.

If you have a repeat prescription for Norimin, the pharmacist can provide you with Necon.

What are Norimin and Necon?

Norimin and Necon are combined oral contraceptives pills ('the pill'), which contain the female hormones oestrogen and progestogen and stop your ovaries from releasing an egg each month. Note that you can get pregnant as soon as you stop taking the pill. The active ingredients and strengths of Necon are the same as Norimin. However, Necon has different packaging and product information from Norimin.  

How can I switch brands of oral contraceptive tablets safely?

When changing brands of oral contraceptive tablets, to ensure continuous contraceptive cover and reduce your risk of getting pregnant, you can do one of the following:

Skip the pill-free interval
Start the new brand on active hormone pills and skip the pill-free interval (ie, follow active tablets of the former brand with active tablets of the new brand without a pill-free interval). Following this advice means that you will miss a withdrawal bleed for that cycle.

Apply the 7-day rule
Applying the 7-day rule means that you should use alternative methods of contraception, such as condoms, until 7 active hormone tablets have been taken from the new pack.

What are the alternative forms of contraception?

There are several alternative contraceptives funded in New Zealand, including other oral contraceptives, barrier contraceptives and long-acting reversible contraceptives. The ideal birth control method for you will depend on factors such as:

  • your health
  • how reliable you need your contraception to be
  • how often you have sex
  • how many sexual partners you have
  • whether you want to have children in the future. 

Read more about contraception.

Learn more

The Pill Family Planning, NZ

References

  1. Ethinyloestradiol 35 mcg with norethisterone 500 mcg (Norimin): supply issue PHARMAC, NZ, 6 August 2020
  2. Avoiding pregnancy risk when changing oral contraceptives Medsafe, NZ, 1999