Norethisterone is a non-contraceptive, period delay drug. It works by regulating the level of progesterone in your blood. During your menstrual cycle, a decrease in your natural progestogen causes your period to begin. Norethisterone increases your body’s level of progesterone, temporarily preventing a period from occurring. It does not affect the egg, or the sperm fertilising the egg. Therefore, Norethisterone does not affect conception and is not a suitable contraceptive form, but some contraceptive pills can be used to period delay. Speak to your doctor to explore your options.
Norethisterone’s only purpose is to alter your body’s level of progesterone and delay your period. Norethisterone does not have any protective effects against HIV or other STIs. While taking Norethisterone, it is essential to still practice safe sex to avoid pregnancy or STIs.
If you have already been taking the pill for several weeks, combined contraceptive pills, e.g. Cilest, Microgynon, Rigevidon and Yasmin, can also be used for period delay. (You should not start taking the contraceptive pill shortly before your period is due to delay a period.) For those pills mentioned above, you can take two packets of pills back to back, to alter your hormone levels and prevent a period. It is possible to take three packs back to back, but many women do not find this an effective method of period delay and experience spotting. It may be possible to use other pills for period delay, but you should speak to your pharmacist who can tell you which pills to miss out for period delay.
Phasic pills contain different levels of hormones in each pill, and most are not suitable for period delay. Phasic contraceptive pills include Aranelle, jenest, mircette, nelova, necon.
The Mini Pill, e.g. Cerazette, involves taking a pill every day; therefore it cannot be used for period delay.