Skip to Content

Norethindrone Side Effects

In Summary

Commonly reported side effects of norethindrone include: ectopic pregnancy. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to norethindrone: oral tablet

As well as its needed effects, norethindrone may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

If any of the following side effects occur while taking norethindrone, check with your doctor immediately:

More common:
  • Frequent and irregular bleeding
  • menstrual changes
Incidence not known:
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • blindness
  • blue-yellow color blindness
  • blurred vision
  • breast pain
  • changes in menstrual period
  • changes in vision
  • chills
  • clay-colored stools
  • confusion
  • cough
  • dark urine
  • decreased vision
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • discouragement
  • dizziness
  • double vision
  • eye pain
  • fast heartbeat
  • feeling sad or empty
  • fever
  • general tiredness and weakness
  • headache
  • heavy non-menstrual vaginal bleeding
  • hives, itching, or rash
  • irritability
  • lack of appetite
  • light-colored stools
  • light vaginal bleeding between regular menstrual periods
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • migraine headache
  • nausea and vomiting
  • numbness of the hands
  • pain, redness, or swelling in the arm or leg
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • swelling
  • tightness in the chest
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • upper right abdominal or stomach pain
  • vomiting of blood
  • yellow eyes and skin

Minor Side Effects

Some norethindrone side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

More common:
  • Breast tenderness
  • increased hair growth, especially on the face
  • pimples
  • weight gain
Incidence not known:
  • Brown, blotchy spots on exposed skin
  • enlarged breasts
  • hair loss or thinning of the hair
  • mood swings
  • nervousness
  • weight changes

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to norethindrone: compounding powder, oral tablet

General

The most commonly reported side effects included cycle irregularity, spotting/breakthrough bleeding, and temporary amenorrhea.[Ref]

Genitourinary

Common (1% to 10%): Uterine/vaginal bleeding and spotting/breakthrough bleeding, short-lasting amenorrhea
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Breast discomfort
Frequency not reported: Irregular/increased/decreased bleeding/delayed menstruation, change in menstrual flow, menorrhagia, vaginal hemorrhage, cervical secretion alteration, cervical erosions, prolonged anovulation, suppressed lactation, galactorrhea, mastodynia, breast tenderness/enlargement, genital discharge, withdrawal bleeding (on treatment discontinuation), premenstrual-type depression, changes in cervical squamocolumnar junction and secretions[Ref]

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Dizziness, headache
Frequency not reported: Drowsiness, somnolence, concentration loss, migraine, tremor, cerebral thrombosis and embolism[Ref]

Local

Common (1% to 10%): Injection site reaction, local skin reaction[Ref]

Gastrointestinal

Common (1% to 10%): Nausea
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Bloating
Frequency not reported: Vomiting, abdominal pain, gastrointestinal disturbance[Ref]

Dermatologic

Common (1% to 10%): Skin disorder
Frequency not reported: Angioedema, acne, hirsutism, alopecia, rash, pruritus, pruritic rash, melasma, chloasma, urticaria, exacerbation of existing skin conditions, sweating, allergic rash with and without pruritus[Ref]

Metabolic

Common (1% to 10%): Increased weight
Frequency not reported: Increased fasting insulin levels, Cushing's syndrome, decreased glucose tolerance, exacerbation of diabetes mellitus, glycosuria, weight gain/change, change in appetite, fluid retention, increased serum calcium and potassium levels, altered serum lipid and lipoprotein levels (e.g., decreased HDL, increased LDL/HDL ratio)[Ref]

Hypersensitivity

Common (1% to 10%): Hypersensitivity reaction
Frequency not reported: Anaphylaxis/anaphylactoid reactions[Ref]

Psychiatric

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Depressed mood/depression/clinical depression/metal depression
Frequency not reported: Insomnia, nervousness, libido change, mood swings[Ref]

Respiratory

Frequency not reported: Urge to cough, paroxysmal cough, respiratory distress, dyspnea, pulmonary embolism, voice deepening[Ref]

Ocular

Frequency not reported: Retinal thrombosis, diabetic cataract, vision disorders, visual disturbance, contact lens intolerance, optic neuritis (may lead to partial or complete vision loss)[Ref]

Cardiovascular

Frequency not reported: Circulatory irregularity, thromboembolic disorders, thrombophlebitis, increased blood pressure/hypertension, edema[Ref]

Hepatic

Frequency not reported: Cholestatic liver changes/cholestatic jaundice, hepatitis, disturbed liver function, transient liver test abnormalities (e.g., AST, ALT, bilirubin)[Ref]

Other

Frequency not reported: Fever, hyperpyrexia, fatigue, extremity pain[Ref]

Hematologic

Frequency not reported: Increased white cell and platelet counts[Ref]

Endocrine

Frequency not reported: Masculinization of the female fetus[Ref]

References

1. "Product Information. Nor-QD (norethindrone)" Watson Laboratories Inc, Corona, CA.

2. "Product Information. Aygestin (norethindrone)" Lederle Laboratories, Philadelphia, PA.

3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

4. "Product Information. Micronor (norethindrone)" Ortho McNeil Pharmaceutical, Raritan, NJ.

5. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

It is possible that some side effects of norethindrone may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. 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 substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

Hide