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Norethisterone can be used to delay your period for between 7 and 27 days.

Select How Long You Need To Delay Your Period For

Norethisterone can be used to delay your period for between 7 and 27 days.

Select How Long You Need To Delay Your Period For

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What is it?

Norethisterone contains a hormone similar to the hormone progesterone which occurs naturally in the body and is also used in a number of contraceptive pills.  It works by mimicking your body’s natural hormones and once it is taken regularly for 2-3 days will cause a sufficient increase in your body’s hormone levels to delay the arrival of your period.

How do I take it?

In order to delay a period, you take one Norethisterone tablet three times a day (every 8 hours) starting 3 days before the expected date of your period.  You can use the tablets to delay your period for up to 20 days if necessary and your period will resume 2-3 days after stopping the tablets. If you do not take Norethisterone 3 days before your period is due then it may not work effectively to fully stop your period. This will not cause you any harm and may make your period lighter but it is less likely to stop your period altogether.

Norethisterone may not work for everybody and it is important to be aware not to take it if you are going on a long haul flight of more than four hours due to a small increased risk of a clot (similar risk as the contraceptive pill).

If you forget to take the tablets do NOT take a double dose to make up for the forgotten tablet. You must take no more than 15mg (three tablets) per day.


Although it alters hormone levels, Norethisterone CANNOT be used as a method of contraception and will not provide protection against pregnancy. You must not take Norethisterone if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or likely to become pregnant.

If you are already using a hormonal method of contraception such as the contraceptive pill, implant or IUD, then Norethisterone is not suitable for you. If you are taking the combined contraceptive pill, running two packs of pills together without taking a break will delay your period.

If you do not have a period after stopping the tablets you must make sure you are not pregnant before taking more.

Other services for period delay:

We also offer a FREE consultation with our prescribers on request or alternatively, our Pharmacists are on hand to answer your queries. If you require this service please contact us via email: [email protected]

What are the side effects?

You must stop taking Norethisterone immediately and contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:

• Jaundice (yellowing of skin)
• Migraines
• Rise in blood pressure or pain and tightness in your chest

Other possible but less serious side effects include:

• Skin rashes
• Nausea
• Headaches
• Fluid retention

Patient information leaflet

The list above is not exclusive. Always read the patient information leaflet before commencing treatment. Patient information can be found here.


Patients with the following conditions require special precautions when taking Norethisterone as it can cause fluid retention. If you have one of the conditions below and would still like to purchase this medicine, please contact us in the pharmacy on 01625 460621 or email [email protected] to speak to our pharmacist or prescribers about your condition.

Cardiac problems
Kidney problems

Drug interactions

Norethisterone can interact with a number of other medicines. If you are taking any of the following and would like to speak to a healthcare professional about your particular situation, please contact us in the pharmacy on 0162 460621 to speak to our pharmacist or prescribers.

  • Epileptic medication (e.g. phenytoin, carbamazepine)
  • Antibiotics (e.g. tetracyclines, rifampicin, co-trimoxazole)
  • Antivirals (to treat HIV e.g. ritonavir, nelfinavir)
  • Anticancer medicines
  • Herbal medicines (e.g. St John's Wort for depression)
  • Aminoglutethimide (Cushing's syndrome)
  • Ciclosporin
  • NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory pain killers such as ibuprofen. These can cause fluid retention and must be used with caution)
  • Medicines for high blood pressure
  • Rifamycin
  • Warfarin
  • Sex hormones
  • Statins for high cholesterol
  • Griseofulvin

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The Team


Giselle Goodwin

Clinical Lead
Laura Jones MPharmS
GPhC Number 207 7331


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