norethindrone

Pronunciation

Generic Name: norethindrone (nor eth IN drone)
Brand Name: Aygestin, Camila, Errin, Jolivette, Nor-QD, Nora-Be, Ortho Micronor, Heather

What is norethindrone?

Norethindrone is a form of progesterone, a female hormone. Norethindrone prevents ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). This medication also causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.

Norethindrone is used for birth control (contraception) to prevent pregnancy. Norethindrone is also used to treat menstrual disorders, endometriosis, or abnormal vaginal bleeding caused by a hormone imbalance.

Norethindrone may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about norethindrone?

This medication can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not use if you are pregnant. Use an effective form of birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Do not use this medication if you have any of the following conditions: a history of stroke or blood clot, circulation problems, breast cancer, abnormal vaginal bleeding, liver disease, or if you have recently had an incomplete miscarriage or abortion.

Slideshow: 2014 Update: First Time Brand-to-Generic Switches

You may need to use back-up birth control, such as condoms or a spermicide, when you first start using this medication. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Taking hormones can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack, especially if you smoke and are older than 35.

Norethindrone does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases--including HIV and AIDS. Using a condom is the only way to help protect yourself from these diseases.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using norethindrone?

This medication can cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to norethindrone, or if you have:

  • a history of a stroke, blood clot, or circulation problems;

  • breast cancer;

  • abnormal vaginal bleeding; or

  • if you have recently had an incomplete miscarriage or abortion.

Before using norethindrone, tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions. You may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take norethindrone.

  • high blood pressure or a history of heart disease;

  • migraines;

  • kidney disease;

  • liver disease or liver cancer;

  • a history of depression or mental illness;

  • high cholesterol or triglycide (fatty acid) levels in your blood;

  • asthma; or

  • seizures or epilepsy.

Norethindrone can pass into breast milk. Make sure your doctor knows if you are breast-feeding a baby while taking this medication.

Taking hormones can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack, especially if you smoke and are older than 35.

How should I take norethindrone?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

You may need to use back-up birth control, such as condoms or a spermicide, when you first start using this medication. Follow your doctor's instructions.

If you need to have any type of medical tests or surgery, or if you will be on bed rest, you may need to stop using this medication for a short time. Any doctor or surgeon who treats you should know that you are using norethindrone.

Your doctor will need to see you on a regular basis while you are using this medication. Do not miss any appointments.

Store this medication at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

Missing a pill increases your risk of becoming pregnant. If you are more than 3 hours late in taking your dose, use back-up birth control such as condoms or a spermicide for at least the next 48 hours.

If you miss a period for two months in a row, call your doctor because you might be pregnant.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and vaginal bleeding.

What should I avoid while taking norethindrone?

Do not smoke while using norethindrone, especially if you are older than 35. Smoking can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack caused by norethindrone.

Norethindrone will not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases--including HIV and AIDS. Using a condom is the only way to protect yourself from these diseases.

Norethindrone side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;

  • sudden headache, confusion, pain behind the eyes, problems with vision, speech, or balance;

  • pain or swelling in one or both legs;

  • migraine headache;

  • swelling in your hands or feet, rapid weight gain;

  • symptoms of depression (sleep problems, weakness, mood changes);

  • severe pelvic pain;

  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling; or

  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild nausea, vomiting, bloating, stomach cramps;

  • breast pain, swelling, or tenderness;

  • dizziness;

  • freckles or darkening of facial skin;

  • increased acne or hair growth;

  • changes in weight;

  • vaginal itching or discharge;

  • skin itching or rash;

  • changes in your menstrual periods, decreased sex drive; or

  • mild headache.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Norethindrone dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Abnormal Uterine Bleeding:

2.5 to 10 mg orally per day for 5 to 10 days during the second half of the theoretical menstrual cycle.

Usual Adult Dose for Amenorrhea:

2.5 to 10 mg orally per day for 5 to 10 days during the second half of the theoretical menstrual cycle.

Usual Adult Dose for Contraception:

0.35 mg orally daily at the same time each day.

Usual Adult Dose for Endometriosis:

5 mg orally per day for two weeks. Dosage should be increased by 2.5 mg per day every two weeks until 15 mg per day. This dosage may be continued for six to nine months or until annoying breakthrough bleeding demands temporary termination.

What other drugs will affect norethindrone?

Some drugs can make norethindrone less effective, which may result in pregnancy. Before using norethindrone, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • griseofulvin (Fulvicin, Grisactin);

  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rifater, Rifamate, Rimactane);

  • St. John's wort;

  • ketoconazole (Nizoral) or itraconazole (Sporanox);

  • a barbiturate such as amobarbital (Amytal), butabarbital (Butisol), mephobarbital (Mebaral), secobarbital (Seconal), or phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton); or

  • HIV medicines such as amprenavir (Agenerase), atazanavir (Reyataz), tipranavir (Aptivus), indinavir (Crixivan), saquinavir (Invirase), lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), ritonavir (Norvir), or nelfinavir (Viracept).

There may be other drugs that can interact with norethindrone. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about norethindrone.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.11. Revision Date: 2010-12-15, 5:01:39 PM.

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