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What is Norethisterone?

Norethisterone, also sold under the name Primolut N, is a prescription treatment used to delay your period. It is a synthetic progesterone and, once taken, can prevent your period for up to two weeks.

It's a great treatment option if you're going on holiday or have an important occasion coming up, and you don't want to have to worry about getting your period.

Whilst most commonly used for period delay, it can also be prescribed long-term for painful periods (dysmenorrhoea), endometriosis, and the late stages of breast cancer.

How does Norethisterone work?

Norethisterone is a synthetic version of progesterone, a group of medicines known as progestins, and works by altering your natural menstrual cycle. It is the same active ingredient that is in the progestogen-only contraceptive pill Noriday.

Throughout your menstrual cycle, your hormone levels naturally rise and fall which signals different processes in the reproductive system. The job of progesterone is to prepare your uterus (womb) lining for pregnancy, namely so a fertilised egg can implant itself. However, when there's no egg, progesterone levels fall and the uterus lining sheds, this is what causes your period.

When you take Norethisterone, this alters your progesterone levels. More specifically, it supplements progesterone where it would normally fall. This means that your uterus lining does not shed and it means you do not get a period.

What are the benefits of taking Norethisterone?

There are several benefits of taking period delay tablets.

It's easy to take, as it is just one tablet 3 times a day. It is also a great option for those who don't take a combined hormonal contraceptive.

Delaying your period is great for when you have a sporting event, important occasion or are just going on holiday. It's also a convenient option if you're going somewhere with limited toilet facilities.

Who can and can't take Norethisterone?

Norethisterone is a safe option for most adult women, but you should always check with your doctor before taking it.

You should not take Norethisterone if you:

  • are allergic to Norethisterone, a similar synthetic hormone or any of the listed ingredients
  • are pregnant, breastfeeding, or think you may be pregnant
  • have ever experienced unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • have a history of blood clots
  • have ever had angina (chest pain) or a heart attack
  • have liver problems

You should also consult your doctor if you have epilepsy, migraine, asthma or a heart condition.

For a full list of potential contraindications, please refer to the patient information leaflet.

How do I take Norethisterone tablets?

The way you take Norethisterone will depend on what you are being prescribed it for.

For period delay, you must start taking one 5mg tablet three times a day for up to 20 days. You should start taking the tablets 3 days before your period is due.

Once you have finished taking it, you should expect your period in 3 days. If you don't get your period, you may want to take a pregnancy test or consult your doctor.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember and continue as normal from your next scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose to make up for the missed dose.

If you take more Norethisterone than you should, contact your doctor or a healthcare professional.

What are the side effects of Norethisterone?

As with all prescription medicines, Norethisterone tablets can cause some side effects. However, the most common side effects are usually mild and go away on their own once you have finished treatment.

You may experience side effects such as:

  • irregular menstrual cycle or lack of periods
  • breakthrough bleeding between periods (spotting)
  • change in vaginal discharge
  • breast tenderness
  • nausea
  • headache
  • constipation, diarrhoea or bloating

Serious side effects are rare whilst taking period delay tablets, however if you experience any swelling, shortness of breath, sight or speech difficulties or allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention.

For a full list of Norethisterone side effects, please consult the patient information leaflet.

Does Norethisterone react with other medicines?

It's important you tell your prescriber all the medicines they take, including any over-the-counter or herbal medicines, as Norethisterone can react with other medicines.

Consult your doctor before taking Norethisterone if you take:

  • medicines for epilepsy (e.g. phenytoin and carbamazepine)
  • certain antibiotics (e.g. tetracyclines and co-trimoxazole)
  • medicines to treat HIV (e.g. ritonavir and nelfinavir)
  • high blood pressure medicines
  • St John's Wort
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. ibuprofen and naproxen)

Norethisterone and hormonal contraceptives

If you take a combined hormonal contraceptive such as a combined contraceptive pill or the patch (Evra), do not take period delay tablets. Instead, you can delay menstruation by skipping your patch or pill-free week. If you take an everyday tablet, you can skip the inactive pills and start the next course of active pills straight away to delay your bleeding.

However, if you take the mini-pill, you can take Norethisterone to delay your period.

How do I buy Norethisterone tablets online?

You can buy Norethisterone 5mg tablets online for period delay at euroClinix. It is available in packs of 30 tablets, which means you can delay your period for up to 10 days with each pack.

All you have to do is complete our free online consultation. This will be reviewed by one of our UK-registered doctors so they can ensure the medication is safe for you to take. Once approved for treatment, our in-house pharmacy will dispense and dispatch your treatment with free next-day delivery.

Note: You must complete a short online consultation so that our doctor can ensure that the treatment is suitable for you. The above pricing should only be used as a reference. The final decision to issue this treatment lies with the prescribing doctor.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Plauto Filho Written by our editorial team Last reviewed 20-01-2024
Norethisterone information
Product nameNorethisterone
Active ingredient(s)Norethisterone
Trustpilot rating4.8/5
Trustpilot reviews116
AvailabilityOut of stock
DescriptionNorethisterone is a hormonal treatment that allows women to delay the start of their period for up to 10 days
ExemptionSubject to medical prescription
Available dosage5mg
ApplicationWomen over 18 looking to delay their period
UsageTake 1 tablet 3 times per day (starting 3 days before your expected start date)
Drug classProgesterons
Alcohol consumptionNo influence
When breastfeedingNot recommended, ask your doctor for alternatives
When pregnantNot recommended, ask your doctor for alternatives
Norethisterone reviews
Box contains 30 tablets of Norethisterone 5mg for oral use Excellent 4.8 116 patients have reviewed Norethisterone on Trustpilot
03 Sep

Helps me at important times

Samantha butler

Further reading

How To Delay Your Period

How To Delay Your Period

Reviewed by Dr. Caroline Fontana
Understanding the menstrual cycle

Understanding the menstrual cycle

Reviewed by Dr. Caroline Fontana
What are the causes of irregular periods?

What are the causes of irregular periods?

Reviewed by Dr. Caroline Fontana
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