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.
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;
- 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.
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.
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Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and vaginal bleeding.
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.
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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;
- 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.
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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.
Aygestin, Camila, Errin, Jolivette, Nor-QD, Nora-Be, Ortho Micronor, and norethindrone
Available Strengths & Dosages
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Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04