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Active substance(s): NORETHISTERONE

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Norethisterone 5mg tablets
Check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking Norethisterone tablets if

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Read all of this leaflet carefully before you start taking this medicine.
• Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it again.
• If you have any further questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
• This medicine has been prescribed for you. Do not pass it on to others.
It may harm them, even if their symptoms are the same as yours.

1 What Norethisterone tablets are and what it they are used for
2 Before you take
3 How to take
4 Possible side effects
5 How to store
6 Further information

1  What Norethisterone tablets are and what it they are used for
Norethisterone tablets belong to a group of medicines called progestogens. These work by
acting on receptors in the body to mimic or exaggerate the effects of the natural hormone,
Norethisterone tablets may be used to treat:
• or prevent abnormal or unexpected bleeding from the uterus
• the symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome which occur before a period including breast pain,
headache, migraine, water retention and mood disturbances
• painful or heavy periods
• e ndometriosis
• certain types of breast cancer.
The tablets can also be used to stop periods.

2 Before you take
Your doctor will discuss your medical and family history with you. Your doctor will also need
to check your blood pressure and make sure you are not pregnant. You may also need
additional checks, such as a breast examination, that will be specific to your medical needs
and/or concerns.

Do not take Norethisterone tablets and tell your doctor if you have:

• a llergic to norethisterone or any of the other ingredients. The ingredients are listed in
section 6
• p regnant or if you think you might be pregnant
• b reastfeeding.
• o r if you have:
• ever had a problem with your blood circulation. This includes a blood clot (thrombosis) in the
legs (deep vein thrombosis), lungs (pulmonary embolism), heart (heart attack), brain (stroke)
or any other parts of the body
• a ny symptoms of a blood clot, such as chest pain, unexplained and often sudden
shortness of breath and/or cough
• any condition which makes you more at risk of a blood clot (thrombosis)
• ever suffered migraine with visual disturbance
• (or are recovering from) a liver disease and the blood tests show that your liver is not yet
working normally
• (or have ever had) liver tumours.
• d iabetes with damaged blood vessels.
• a ny type of cancer which might be made worse by exposure to female sex hormones
(including breast cancer).
• problems with genital bleeding for which the cause is not yet known.
• a condition called endometrial hyperplasia which has not been treated.

In addition, do not take Norethisterone tablets if you have had any of the following
conditions when you were pregnant:
• yellowing of the skin (idiopathic jaundice of pregnancy)
• itching of the whole body (pruritus of pregnancy)

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• s moke
• h ave diabetes. Norethisterone tablets can produce changes in blood sugar levels. If you are
diabetic, your doctor will check your blood sugar before starting treatment and regularly
during treatment.
• are overweight (BMI≥30kg/m2)
• h ave high blood pressure
• have a heart valve disorder or a certain heart rhythm disorder (heart problems)
• have had a thrombosis/embolism or anyone in your close family has had a thrombosis, a
heart attack or a stroke at a young age
• suffer from migraine, asthma, or kidney problems
• suffer from epilepsy (see“Other medicines and Norethisterone tablets”)
• have an inflammation of your veins (superficial phlebitis)
• h ave varicose veins
• have anyone in your immediate family who has had breast cancer
• if you have previously had a condition called chloasma where the skin on your face may
develop brownish blotches. You may be advised to avoid exposure to the sun and to
ultraviolet light while you are taking Norethisterone tablets.
• have previously suffered from depression.
• or someone in your close family has ever had high blood levels of cholesterol or
triglycerides (fatty substances)
• have a disease of the liver or gall bladder
• have certain rare medical conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), sickle cell
disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
• h ave haemolytic uremic syndrome (‘HUS)’
• have a condition that occurred for the first time or worsened during pregnancy or previous
use of sex hormones (e.g. hearing loss, porphyria, or Sydenham’s chorea)
• h ave hereditary angioedema. Consult your doctor immediately if you experience
symptoms of angioedema such as swollen face, tongue or throat, and/or difficulty
swallowing, or hives, together with difficulty breathing. Products containing oestrogens may
induce or worsen symptoms of angioedema
• have an intolerance to some types of sugar (galactose intolerance, Lapp lactase
deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption)
• are using other medications as mentioned in“Other Medicines & Norethisterone tablets”.
Tell your doctor before you take Norethisterone tablets if any of these applies to you. Also tell
your doctor if any of these conditions develop or worsen while you are taking Norethisterone
tablets, because you may need to stop taking it.

Norethisterone tablets and blood clots:

The main ingredient in Norethisterone (progestogen) is partly converted into oestrogen so
you should also consider the general warnings given for combined oral contraceptive pills
(“the Pill”).
Do not take Norethisterone tablets if you have a blood clot or have any medical condition
which makes you more at risk of developing clots.
The risk of blood clots occurring in the veins and arteries is slightly greater in women who take
the combined oral contraceptive pill than in women who don’t. People do not always fully
recover from such blood clots, which can cause strokes, heart attacks and bleeding into the
brain (subarachnoid haemorrhage). In very rare cases these blood clots can be fatal.

You are more at risk of having a blood clot:

• as you get older
• if you’re off your feet for a long time because of major surgery, injury or illness.
• if you smoke
• if you or any of your close family have had blood clots
• if you are overweight (BMI ≥ 30kg/m2)
• if you have a disorder of blood fat (lipid) metabolism
• if you have a blood disorder
• if you have high blood pressure
• if you suffer from migraines
• if you have a heart valve disorder or a particular type of irregular heartbeat (atrial
• if you have recently had a baby
• if you have diabetes
• if you have certain medical conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), sickle
cell disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
Tell your doctor if any of these apply to you. Taking Norethisterone tablets may add to this
risk so it may not be suitable for you.
To reduce the risk of blood clots, treatment with Norethisterone tablets must be stopped:
• six weeks before any planned major operation
• before any surgery to the legs
• before medical treatment for varicose veins
• if you are going to be immobilised for a long time (e.g. if you need bed-rest after an accident or
operation, or if you have a plaster cast on a broken leg)

Signs of a blood clot include:

• a migraine for the first time or one that is worse than normal
• unusually frequent or severe headaches
• any sudden changes to your eyesight (such as loss of vision or blurred vision)
• any sudden changes to your hearing, speech, sense of smell, taste or touch
• pain or swelling in your leg
• stabbing pain when you breathe
• coughing for no apparent reason
• breathlessness
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• p ain and tightness in the chest
• s udden weakness or numbness in one side or part of your body
• d izziness or fainting.
See a doctor as soon as possible if you notice any possible signs of blood clot.
Do not take any more Norethisterone tablets until your doctor says you can.

Norethisterone tablets and cancer

If you have breast cancer, or have had it in the past, you should not take combined oral
contraceptives (the Pill). The Pill slightly increases your risk of breast cancer. This risk goes up the
longer you’re on it, but returns to normal within about 10 years of stopping it. Because breast
cancer is rare in women under the age of 40, the extra cases of breast cancer in current and
recent Pill users is small. For example:
• Of 10,000 women who have never taken the Pill, about 16 will have breast cancer by the
time they are 35 years old.
• Of 10,000 women who take the Pill for 5 years in their early twenties, about 17–18 will
have breast cancer by the time they are 35 years old.
• Of 10,000 women who have never taken the Pill, about 100 will have breast cancer by the
time they are 45 years old.
• Of 10,000 women who take the Pill for 5 years in their early thirties, about 110 will have
breast cancer by the time they are 45 years old.

Your risk of breast cancer is higher if:

• you have a close relative (mother, sister or grandmother) who has had breast cancer
• you are overweight (BMI ≥ 30kg/m2)
See a doctor as soon as possible if you notice any changes in your breasts, such as
dimpling of the skin, changes in the nipple or any lumps you can see or feel.
Very rarely, the Pill has been linked with some forms of liver cancer in women who take it for a
long time. These may lead to bleeding in the abdomen.
Taking the Pill has also been linked to liver diseases, such as jaundice and non-cancerous liver
tumours, but this is rare.
• S ee a doctor as soon as possible if you get severe pain in your stomach that does not go
away, or yellow skin or eyes (jaundice). You may need to stop taking Norethisterone tablets.

Taking other medicines

Please tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken any other
medicines, including medicines obtained without a prescription. Especially:
• other hormonal products (oestrogens or progestogens)
• medicines used to treat epilepsy (e.g. phenobarbital, phenytoin, carbamazepine)
• medicines used to treat infections (e.g. rifampicin, nevirapine, tetracyclines, ampicillin, oxacillin,
co-trimoxazole, ritonavir, nelfinavir)
• St John’s Wort (hypericum perforatum) (a herbal remedy)
• a minoglutethimide
• ciclosporin (to prevent transplant rejection)
• other medicines which can also cause fluid retention such as anti-inflammatory medicines
(e.g. ibuprofen) or vasodilators

Pregnancy and breast-feeding

If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or are breast-feeding ask your doctor or
pharmacist for advice before taking this medicine as you should not take these tablets.

Driving and using machines

Norethisterone tablets may make you feel dizzy, drowsy or affect your vision. Make sure you
are not affected before you drive or operate machinery.

Sugar intolerance

If you have been told you have an intolerance to some sugars, contact your doctor before
taking this medicine, as it contains a type of sugar called lactose.


If you go to a different doctor than the one who has prescribed you this medicine, or go to
the hospital, let them know that you are taking Norethisterone tablets as they may affect
certain tests.

3 How to take
Always take Norethisterone tablets exactly as your doctor has told you. If you are not sure,
check with your doctor or pharmacist.
Swallow the tablets with water.
This medicine should be taken for as long as your doctor tells you to. If you finish the course of
Norethisterone tablets you will usually have a menstrual bleed 2-3 days after the last tablet. If
you do not have a period you must make sure you are not pregnant before taking more.
Day one of the cycle is the first day of your period.
• A bnormal bleeding – 1 tablet three times a day for 10 days. Bleeding usually stops within 1-3
days. A period usually starts 2-4 days after stopping treatment.
• P revention of abnormal bleeding – 1 tablet twice a day from the 19th - 26th day of the
• P remenstrual syndrome - 2 to 3 tablets a day from the 19th - 26th day of the cycle. You will
normally be treated for several months.
• S topping a period - 1 tablet three times a day starting three days before the expected
beginning of the period. Your period should occur 2-3 days after you have stopped taking
the medicine.
• P ainful periods - 1 tablet three times a day for 20 days starting on the 5th day of the cycle.
You will usually be treated for 3-4 cycles.
• H eavy periods - 1 tablet two to three times a day from the 19th - 26th day of the cycle.
• E ndometriosis - 2 tablets a day starting on the 5th day of your cycle. If you continue having
small bleeds (“spotting”), the dosage may be increased to 4 to 5 tablets a day. Once bleeding
has stopped the dosage may be reduced. You will usually be treated continuously for 4-6
months or longer.
• B reast cancer - 8 tablets a day, the dosage may be increased to 12 tablets a day.
Elderly & Children - Not recommended.

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If you take more than you should

If you (or someone else) swallow a lot of tablets at the same time, or you think a child may
have swallowed any, contact your nearest hospital casualty department or tell your doctor
immediately. Signs of an overdose include feeling or being sick, breast enlargement or vaginal

If you forget to take the tablets

Do not take a double dose to make up for a
forgotten dose. If you forget to take a dose
take it as soon as you remember it and then
take the next dose at the right time.

If you stop taking the tablets

Talk to your doctor before you stop taking
the tablets and follow their advice.

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4 Possible side effects
Like all medicines, Norethisterone tablets can
cause side effects, although not everybody
gets them.

Stop taking Norethisterone tablets and
contact your doctor immediately if you
develop the following:
• a rise in blood pressure
• jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes)
• migraine-type headaches
• signs of sever hypersensitivity (anaphylaxis): e.g. swelling of the mouth, tongue, face, throat,
difficulty breathing, wheezing, severe skin rash, itch, redness
• if you become pregnant
• unusually bad headache
• sever itching (pruritus)
• other liver problems and signs e.g. abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, tiredness, dark brown
• any sudden changes in eyesight, hearing or speech
• any changes in sense of smell or touch
Symptoms of blood clot formation or symptoms of inflammation of the veins combined
with the formation of blood clots (thromnophlebitis):
• unusual pains in your leg(s)
• unusual swelling of your arms or legs
• sharp pains in your chest or sudden shortness of breath
• crushing pains or feelings of heaviness or tightness in your chest
• coughing for no apparent reason
• one side of your body suddenly becoming very weak or numb
Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following side effects or notice any other effects
not listed:
• Genital and urinary: breakthrough bleeding, spotting, absence of bleeding, abnormal
bleeding (irregular, increase or decrease), alterations of cervical secretions, cervical erosions,
prolonged anovulation (not producing an egg), over production of breast milk, breast pain
and tenderness
• Gastrointestinal: feeling or being sick
• Heart: blood clotting disorders (in the lower limbs, lungs or eye), increased blood pressure,
inflammation of the veins
• Liver: changes in liver function
• Nervous system: depression, headache, dizziness, tiredness, difficulty in sleeping,
nervousness, drowsiness, loss of concentration, vision disorders and intolerance to contact
• Metabolic and nutritional: altered blood levels of cholesterol, changes in insulin and glucose
control, diabetic cataract, worsening of diabetes mellitus, sugar in the urine
• Skin: acne, hair growth (especially on the top lip or chin), hair loss, rash which may be itchy,
worsening of existing skin conditions
• Hypersensitivity reactions: severe allergic reaction including skin rash, swelling of the face,
lips, tongue or throat, or difficulty breathing or swallowing
• Other: fluid retention, bloating, weight gain, fever, change in appetite, deepening of the voice,
changes in the sex drive
If you notice any side effects, they get worse, or if you notice any not listed, please tell your
doctor or pharmacist.

5 How to store
Keep out of the reach and sight of children.
Do not store the tablets above 25°C and keep in the original packaging.
Do not use Norethisterone tablets after the expiry date stated on the label/carton/bottle. The
expiry date refers to the last day of that month.
Medicines should not be disposed of via wastewater or household waste. Ask your pharmacist
how to dispose of medicines no longer required. These measures will help to protect the

6 Further information
What Norethisterone tablets contain

• The active substance (the ingredient that makes the tablet work) is Norethisterone.
Each tablet contains 5mg of the active ingredient.
• The other ingredients are lactose, maize starch, magnesium stearate.

What Norethisterone tablets look like and contents of the pack
Norethisterone are white circular uncoated tablets.
Pack sizes are 30 tablets.
Marketing Authorisation Holder
Actavis, Barnstaple, EX32 8NS, UK
CP Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Wrexham, LL13 9UF
Date of revision: June 2016

Actavis, Barnstaple, EX32 8NS, UK

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Source: Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.