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

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About Norethisterone

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.

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The Team


Giselle Goodwin

Superintendent Pharmacist
Giselle Goodwin
GPhC Number 2051 757



Dr Roisin McHugh

GMC Registered Doctor
Dr Roisin McHugh
GMC Number 4538 637


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