Norethisterone is a prescription drug that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1973 to prevent pregnancy. Norethisterone is also prescribed to treat symptoms of endometriosis. Norethisterone may be referred to by its alternate drug name, norethindrone, or brand names Aygestin, Errin, and Primolut N.
Norethisterone should not be taken by women who are or may be pregnant. Norethisterone is not appropriate for women who have a history of liver problems, blood clots, or undiagnosed vaginal bleeding. Do not take norethisterone if you have or suspect you may have breast cancer. Norethisterone may not be suitable for women who have previously shown hypersensitivity to norethisterone or other birth control pills.
Norethisterone is a contraceptive, or drug used to prevent pregnancy. Specifically, norethisterone is a progestin, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone. Norethisterone is believed to work by changing hormone levels and controlling the growth of the uterine lining.
How do I take it?
Norethisterone is taken orally once a day. Your doctor will likely begin you on a very low dose of norethisterone and increase the dosage gradually.
Consult your doctor before you stop taking Norethisterone.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking norethisterone.
In a 2014 article, researchers concluded that progestins such as norethisterone are effective, safe to use, and well-tolerated treatments for endometriosis in women who are not trying to become pregnant.
Serious side effects of norethisterone can include blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, and migraines. The risk of these serious side effects is increased in women who smoke or are over 35. Norethisterone may cause birth defects if taken during pregnancy.
Common side effects of norethisterone include changes in menstrual flow or weight, stomach upset, trouble sleeping, nausea, bloating, acne, abnormal vaginal bleeding, and swollen or painful breasts. Many of these side effects fade after several weeks of taking norethisterone.
Some women with depression may notice that it becomes worse while taking norethisterone.
Notify your doctor if side effects worsen. Call your doctor if you experience vision changes, weakness on one side, pain in your chest, jaw, or left arm, swelling or warmth in your groin or calf, severe abdominal pain, sudden, heavy vaginal bleeding, yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice), a sudden, severe headache, dizziness, or confusion.
Many drugs can cause allergic reactions that, in the most serious cases, can result in death. Seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing or swelling of the face, throat, eyes, lips, or tongue.