Try Norinyl-1 birth control to enjoy sex without worry about getting pregnant

  • Combined contraceptive pill that works by preventing ovulation

  • Replaces your natural menstrual cycle to ensure you can’t get pregnant

  • Over 99% effective if used properly

  • Available from £11.95 + Prescription Fees and Delivery Costs

Our prices

Strength Quantity Price Stock
50mcg/1mg63 tablets£11.95In Stock
Prices exclude a prescription fee. This treatment requires a quick online consultation,
which a doctor will review to determine if a prescription is appropriate.

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Dr Samantha Miller

Reviewed by Dr Samantha Miller MB ChB
(2017, University of Glasgow)
GMC number: 7561464

Information last reviewed 22/02/2021


What is Norinyl?

Norinyl is a type of combined hormonal contraceptive used to prevent pregnancy. More commonly referred to as ‘the pill’, it contains both oestrogen and progestogen hormones. The combined pill is one of the most popular methods of contraception in the UK.

How does Norinyl work?

Norinyl works by preventing ovulation, replacing your natural menstrual cycle so that you cannot get pregnant. In a normal cycle, your ovaries release an egg that enters the womb ready to be fertilised. The womb lining thickens, ready to receive a fertilised egg. If fertilisation doesn't occur, the lining breaks down and it is released from the body as menstrual blood. The hormones contained in Norinyl stop an egg from being released and reduce the thickness of the womb lining. They also cause the mucus at the womb entrance to thicken. This prevents sperm from entering the uterus to fertilize an egg.

How effective is Norinyl?

Norinyl is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy as long as it is always taken correctly. In typical use, some women forget pills, become unwell or take medications that reduce the effectiveness of the pill, so bearing this in mind, the pill has an overall real-life effectiveness of 91%. Before starting the pill, ensure you carefully read the instructions so you can be sure you know how and when to take it and what to do if you miss a pill, get sickness or diarrhoea or take medications that may interfere with it.

When does Norinyl start to work?

Norinyl will have an immediate effect if you start taking it on the first day of your menstrual cycle (day one of your period). Otherwise, you can start it upto day five, however, you may not be protected from pregnancy right away and it’s recommended to use condoms for 7 days until the contraceptive cover is effective. If you start taking Norinyl at any other time during your cycle, you must be sure you aren’t already pregnant, and it will take seven days to work. 

Switching from a different type of combined pill will not affect your contraceptive cover if you start taking Norinyl right after you’ve finished the pack of your previous combined pill. If you’re switching from a progestogen-only pill, you’ll need to use condoms for 7 days.

Norinyl-1 Summary


One tablet, taken once daily, at the same time each day

Type of Medicine

Combined hormonal contraceptive


Prevents ovulation, thickens mucus to make it harder for sperm to reach eggs, and prevents egg attachment to the uterus

Available Size

63 tablets

Available Strengths


Active Ingredient

Norethisterone and mestranol


From 19p per tablet

Side Effects

Can include weight gain, nausea, vomiting, mood changes including depression, appetite changes, changes in libido, acne


Active ingredients

Each Norinyl-1 tablet contains 1 milligram of norethisterone and 50 micrograms of mestranol. 

Inactive ingredients

The inactive ingredients are maize starch, polyvidone, magnesium stearate and lactose.

Which ingredients can cause an allergic reaction?

Other than the small amount of lactose present in the Norinyl-1, normally deemed safe for consumption in people with lactose intolerance, there are no other ingredients which are linked to cases of severe allergic reactions in users. Rash/hives, trouble breathing and swelling of the face are signs of a severe allergic reaction which require emergency medical attention.


What should I do if I missed a pill?

Missed pills are a common occurrence and it's important that you know what to do in case this happens as your contraception may be affected. A missed pill is defined as being 24 hours or more late in taking a scheduled pill. If you've missed one pill, take it as soon as possible. It doesn't matter if this causes you to take two at once. Continue with the rest of your pack as usual. As your contraceptive cover might be affected, you should abstain from sex or use condoms for the next 7 days, to ensure you do not become pregnant. 

If you have missed two or more pills, you are at greater risk of pregnancy. Take the most recent missed pill right away and continue with the rest of your pack as scheduled. You will need to use condoms for the next 7 days and you should visit your local pharmacy or sexual health clinic if you have had unprotected sex during this time to get emergency contraception

What should I do if I took a pill too late?

Norinyl should be taken at around the same time each day but if you take one later than usual this will not affect your contraception, provided it is taken within 12 hours of the scheduled time. Regularly taking your pill late makes it difficult to determine when you have missed a pill should you forget to take one so you may want to set an alarm to remind you.

How to start Norinyl

Ideally, you should start taking Norinyl on the very first day of your cycle. This will ensure you are protected from pregnancy right away. If you start it at any other time in your cycle, you must be sure you are not already pregnant and you must use condoms for the first 7 days to prevent pregnancy. You should choose a time of the day that is convenient for you to take it to ensure you remember it!

How to take Norinyl

Norinyl should be taken at the same time each day for three weeks. Your pill strip will have the days of the week printed on it. Follow this until you reach the end of the pack and then wait 7 days until starting the next one. The pill-free week is when you'll have your withdrawal bleed, similar to your period. Begin the next pack on time, even if you are still bleeding.

How to take Norinyl for period delay

To delay your period with Norinyl, simply skip the seven-day break between packs. This means you will not have a bleed until the following pill-free break.

Side Effects

Norinyl side effects

Possible side effects include: 

  • Nausea
  • Breakthrough bleeding or spotting, particular in the first few packs
  • Breast tenderness/soreness 
  • Weight gain
  • Acne
  • Mood changes or depression
  • Headache 
  • Appetite changes 
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Changes in libido (sexual desire)
  • Exacerbation of uterine fibroids
  • Blood clots
  • High blood pressure

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience an allergic reaction or signs of a blood clot. Signs of an allergic reaction are: 

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing 
  • Swollen tongue, neck or mouth
  • An itchy rash
  • Chest pain
  • Fever

Signs of a blood clot include:

  • Coughing up blood 
  • Chest pain
  • Pain while breathing
  • Stabbing pain in the leg
  • One swollen lower leg
  • Painful or swollen veins
  • An unusual or severe migraine 
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Problems with sight or speech
  • One-sided paralysis or sensory changes


Norinyl is not suitable for everyone. Your doctor will assess your situation and health before prescribing you the pill to ensure it is safe for you to take. Do not take Norinyl if:

  • You are allergic to any of the ingredients 
  • You have, or have previously experienced, a blood clot
  • There is a history of blood clots in the family
  • You have unexplained vaginal bleeding 
  • You may be pregnant 
  • You have had a stroke or heart attack
  • You have angina or coronary artery disease
  • You have a high level of fat in the blood
  • You have had breast, cervical, vaginal or womb cancer
  • You have pemphigoid gestationis
  • You have a severe liver disease 
  • You suffer from migraines with aura (unusual visual or sensory symptoms)
  • You are over the age of 35 and smoke

Inform your doctor if any of the following apply to you:

  • Asthma 
  • Epilepsy 
  • Liver conditions
  • Heart conditions or cardiovascular disease
  • Headaches or migraines
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Varicose veins
  • Severe depression
  • Gallstones 
  • Fibroids in the uterus 
  • Porphyria
  • Sickle cell anemia 
  • Chloasma 
  • Any condition that was provoked by pregnancy

Drug interactions

There are certain medicines which interact with Norinyl, causing it to stop working correctly. 

These include: 

  • Rifabutin 
  • Rifampicin 
  • Griseofulvin 
  • Modafinil 
  • HIV treatments 
  • Hepatitis C treatments
  • Epilepsy treatments 
  • St John's wort

You should disclose all of your regular medications to your prescriber to ensure there are no interactions.

Norinyl and alcohol

Norinyl is not affected by alcohol so it is safe to drink while you are on the pill. 

Treatment Options

Norinyl for non-contraceptive purposes

Taking Norinyl also provides some non-contraceptive benefits. Most women taking the combined pill will have lighter, less painful periods. Norinyl can also reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and can be taken to delay your period for a holiday or special event. Taking the pill also gives you a regular cycle so this can help women with irregular periods to gain relief and control over their menstrual cycle.

Can you use Norinyl for period delay?

You can delay your period with Norinyl. It's usually taken for 21 days and then you have a break for 7 days. To skip your period, start your next pack the day after you take the last pill in your current pack instead of taking the usual pill-free week.

Switching contraceptive pill

You may wish to switch contraceptive pills if your current brand is not working for you. Different types contain varying amounts of hormones so many women find they need to try a few before finding the one that's best suited to them. Switching contraceptive pills is straightforward. Simply start taking Norinyl the day after you stop your old one. If you are currently taking the progestogen-only pill (known as the mini-pill) you can switch at any time, but you must use condoms or abstain from sex for 7 days to avoid pregnancy.

Norinyl vs the mini pill

Norinyl is a form of the combined contraceptive pill, meaning it contains synthetic versions of both the progesterone and the oestrogen hormones that exist naturally in the body. Norethisterone is a progestogen, similar to progesterone, and mestranol is converted into oestrogen by the body. The mini pill has fewer hormones, containing only a progestogen. This makes it suitable for women who are unable to take oestrogen or who suffer unpleasant side effects from the combined pill.

Alternatives to Norinyl

There are many different types of contraceptive pill available in the UK. Some alternative brands include Microgynon, Ovranette, Cilest and Yasmin. The mini pill is a good alternative for women who are unable to take Norinyl, as it only contains the progestogen hormone and poses less of a health risk. Long term reversible contraceptives are a more secure option if you are on medications which affect the pill or if you are likely to forget to take it. These options include the implant, injection and the coil. There are two different types of the coil; the hormonal intrauterine system (IUS) and the copper intrauterine device (IUD) which does not contain hormones.


If I have vomited, will Norinyl still work?

Vomiting after taking Norinyl may mean it has not been properly absorbed into the body and therefore may affect your contraceptive cover. Should this happen, use an alternative form of contraception such as condoms until you feel better, and for 7 days afterward.

When can I get pregnant after taking Norinyl?

When you stop taking Norinyl, you can get pregnant at any time. Your natural menstrual cycle may take a couple of months to return to normal so you may be advised to wait until your first normal period before trying to start a family. The timing will differ from woman to woman as everyone's body is different and there are numerous factors which affect fertility.

Can Norinyl be used as emergency contraception?

Norinyl cannot be used as emergency contraception. If you have had unprotected sex, the morning after pill or the copper coil are the only recommended options for effective emergency contraceptives. These need to be used as soon as possible after having unprotected sex.

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