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Norethisterone is a tablet treatment which provides period delay. It is also sometimes used to ease symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, and occasionally prescribed off-label for endometriosis.

PLEASE NOTE: As this treatment is a generic medicine, the brand of the product you receive may be different to the one shown in the picture.

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PLEASE NOTE: This treatment is not available through our online pharmacy service. This page is for information only. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to the condition(s) this medication treats, we strongly recommend that you see your GP in person.

This content was reviewed by a clinician on

26 April 2022
dr daniel

Dr Daniel Atkinson

(GP Clinical Lead - GMC No. 4624794) 26 April 2022
Product information

Norethisterone is a tablet used in period delay. Its hormonal qualities also make it adept at lessening heavy bleeding, and symptoms related to premenstrual syndrome such as abdominal pain. The pill you can order here is a generic version of the Norethisterone product known as Primolut N, which is made by Bayer.

  1. Period delay pill works for up to 10 days
  2. Alleviates heavy menstrual pain
  3. Simple-to-take 7-10 day course

Period delay treatment suspends the process of menstruation. A woman may choose to delay her period for a number of reasons. The pain associated with a period can be uncomfortable and distracting, and this can make it harder for someone to study for an exam, or concentrate during a job interview.

Bleeding can also make some women feel self-conscious, and this might get in the way during a holiday to the beach, or other special event.

How long someone uses Norethisterone tablets for depends on how long they want to delay their period for. The pill can be applied for up to two weeks, providing a period delay of up to 10 days. It works by overriding the normal menstrual cycle, and preventing the shedding of the uterine wall lining.

Each month, the body goes through various processes in order to prepare it for pregnancy. These are monitored by progesterone and oestrogen, which are naturally-occurring hormones. When levels of progesterone fall, the lining of the wall in the uterus breaks up, and is discharged via menstrual bleeding.

The active constituent of Norethisterone pills works by imitating the function of progesterone. Its presence indicates to the body that the uterine wall should not shed its lining, and a period thereby does not need to take place.

If you haven’t delayed your period with Norethisterone before, we would advise you to see your GP in person. They will be able to initiate a prescription for this medication for you.

If you have used this treatment before, getting your prescription period delay treatment is simple with our online service. We offer our customers a confidential service staffed by qualified doctors, who will review your prescription request. Approved treatments are dispatched by 24 hour courier, so that you can expect to receive it in one working day.

We also offer Norethisterone for endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue lining from inside the womb grows on the outside of the womb. This can take place in either the ovaries or the fallopian tubes. Symptoms include abdominal pain, heavy periods and nausea. 

Sometimes symptoms get better without treatment, but should they persist, there are a number of options that can be explored. Ibuprofen and paracetamol can reduce pain, while hormonal treatments, including the contraceptive pill, intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the patch may also prove effective.  

When Norethisterone is prescribed for endometriosis, it is done so off-label. If you want to order Norethisterone for this purpose, you’ll need to select endometriosis during our online consultation.

Page last reviewed:  26/04/2022


Make sure you adhere to the directions your prescriber gives you. You should also read the information in the accompanying leaflet fully prior to use.

  1. Take as prescribed by your doctor.
  2. For period delay, this might be a course of 3 tablets per day, started 3 days prior to your period.
  3. Continue to take the medication for as long as prescribed. This will be typically be for a total of between 7 and 10 days.
  4. Do not exceed the prescribed dose.
  5. If you forget to take your tablet, refer to the leaflet provided or ask your doctor.
  6. There is a greater risk of blood clots for women over 35 years of age who use this medication for endometriosis.
  7. There is an increased likelihood of women over the age of 50 developing blood clots who take Norethisterone for heavy or painful periods. Heavy or painful periods are a common symptom of endometriosis. Speak to your doctor about these risks before taking the medicine to confirm eligibility.    

Always refer to the guidelines supplied in the patient information sheet when using this medicine.

Page last reviewed:  26/04/2022
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

Norethisterone 5mg

Side effects & Warnings

Side effects

This medicine may cause side effects in some users. It is important to be aware of these so that you can seek medical attention in the event that they occur.

If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, jaundice, rising blood pressure or a migraine, let your doctor know right away.

Frequency unknown:

Breakthrough bleeding and spotting; breast pain or tenderness; feeling or being sick; blood clots; decreased liver function; depression; headache; dizziness; drowsiness; insomnia; loss of concentration; intolerance to contact lenses; high cholesterol; altered insulin and glucose control; worsening of diabetes mellitus; acne; hair growth; hair loss; rash; hypersensitivity; fluid retention; bloating; weight fluctuation; or fever.

The list of side effects provided here is not a complete account of those associated with this medicine. More comprehensive information can be located in the patient information leaflet.

Taking it with other medicines

Inform your doctor if you are currently using any other medications, including: other hormonal products; treatments for epilepsy; medicines for viral or bacterial infections; St John’s Wort; aminoglutethimide; ciclosporin; or anti-inflammatory medicines.

Conditions to look out for

Your prescriber should be made aware of any conditions which may affect your suitability for this medicine. These include: lack of a period; diabetes; epilepsy; migraine; asthma; or kidney or heart problems.

Blood clots

If you smoke or are overweight, your risk of a blood clot may be increased, and this treatment may therefore not be suitable for you. Speak to your GP if either of these apply to you, and you want to delay your period.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Do not take Norethisterone and ask your GP for advice if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive.

Driving and using machinery

This medication may cause dizziness or drowsiness. You should wait to see how this treatment affects you before driving or using machines.

Norethisterone and cancer

Read the leaflet provided for guidance on norethisterone and cancer risk.

Lactose intolerance

This pill contains lactose. Tell your GP if you have an intolerance to any sugars.

Page last reviewed:  26/04/2022
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

Norethisterone 5mg


Can I still drink alcohol?

Yes. Alcohol is not known to inhibit the action of this tablet.

Will I still be able to drive?

Yes. Your driving ability should not be compromised by taking this pill. However, if this pill causes you to experience any side effects which may make driving unsafe, you should not drive and let your doctor know right away.

Can I use this medicine while pregnant?

No. It is not suitable for anyone who is pregnant or thinks they could be. The treatment may also not be safe for women who are breastfeeding.

How do I store it?

Keep in a safe environment below 25°C and away from sources of light and moisture.

Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?

The pills contain norethisterone, lactose, maize starch and magnesium stearate.

Do not take them if you are allergic to any of these ingredients.

Is it available over-the-counter?

You can only buy Norethisterone pills in the UK with a prescription. 

Is it right for me?

If you want to delay your period for the first time or have not used treatment before, we recommend you see your GP. Once they have assessed your overall health, they will be able to issue a prescription for Norethisterone if it is suitable for you.

Patients who have used this treatment before for period delay can buy Norethisterone online with our secure consultation service. Once your order has been approved by our doctor, a prescription will be issued and sent to our UK pharmacy to be dispensed. Medications are shipped using tracked parcel, so you can expect your treatment to arrive in one working day.

Page last reviewed:  26/04/2022
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