Utovlan releases a hormone into your body to delay your period for one-off occasions where having your period will be inconvenient. It contains Norethisterone, a synthetic version of the progesterone hormone naturally produced in a woman’s body. It can also be taken to ease painful, heavy and irregular periods, and to treat endometriosis and breast cancer.
Utovlan works by altering the progestogen levels inside the body at key points in your cycle. When your progestogen levels are at their highest, this causes the lining of your womb to thicken and prepare itself for the arrival of a fertilised egg. If a pregnancy doesn’t take place, the lining of the womb breaks down and leaves your body as menstrual blood during your monthly cycle. Utovlan works by essentially tricking your body into thinking you are pregnant to keep the womb lining intact. Your period will return three days after you stop taking the medicine.
How long you take Utovlan depends on why you are taking it. To delay your period you can take it for up to 20 days. If you’ve been prescribed it for heavy periods it should be taken on a set twenty days out of the month for a total of three months. To treat endometriosis, it’s normally taken for 3–6 months. Follow your doctor’s instructions.
Utovlan is effective provided it’s taken correctly as prescribed. Some of the side effects may cause vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods but most women don’t experience this.
Utovlan is prescribed for short term period delay and shouldn’t be used regularly. Utovlan can interfere with your natural hormone production and put you at risk of developing side effects. Delaying your period with Utovlan should be for important or one-off occasions, like your wedding night, a holiday or an athletic event.
Utovlan won’t have an effect on your long-term fertility but if you are planning to get pregnant in the near future then discuss this with your doctor before taking Utovlan as the medicine can be harmful to a developing fetus.
Utovlan is not a contraceptive and cannot be used to prevent pregnancy. You should ensure that you continue to use an effective method of birth control while you are taking it.
If you are on the combined pill and wish to delay your period, simply take two packs back to back and skip the seven-day break – there is no need to take Utovlan as well. If you are on the progestogen-only pill, you may be able to take Utovlan as well to delay your period – your doctor will be able to advise what’s suitable for you.
The active ingredient in Utovlan is norethisterone. This is a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone which is naturally produced in the body.
The inactive ingredients in Utovlan are lactose monohydrate, maize starch, polyvidone and magnesium stearate.
Norethisterone very rarely causes a severe allergic reaction in people presenting with wheezing, difficulty breathing, dizziness, facial/lip swelling and a rash/hives. If you are allergic to the medication, you will notice the symptoms soon after using the medication. Make sure to get medical attention right away if you have an allergic reaction to the medication.
To delay your period, start taking your prescribed dose of Utovlan three days before your period is due. You take the medicine three times a day for up to fourteen days. To delay your period for up to 17 days, take Utovlan for 20 days, starting 3 days before your period is due to begin. For the purpose of delaying your period, 20 days is recommended as the maximum length of time to take the treatment. Once you stop taking it, your period will return after three days. For any other conditions or issues with your period then follow the instructions provided by your doctor or pharmacist.
Utovlan will not usually cause problems. The most common side effects are related to undesirable bleeding patterns.
Other side effects
Utovlan should not be used by women who:
Speak to your doctor before taking Utovlan if you have any medical conditions.
If you are taking any other medications then always inform your doctor of this before being prescribed with something new. Utovlan is not suitable to be taken alongside the following medicines as they may lessen the effect of the drug:
You can still drink alcohol while taking Utovlan. It may cause sleepiness but mixing the two drugs will not cause any harm.
Norethisterone is the name of the medicine itself, while Utovlan is a brand of norethisterone. They are essentially the same thing so the two names may be used interchangeably.
Both Utovlan and the combined contraceptive pill are effective methods of period delay. If you are already taking the combined pill then it’s simple to just run two packs back to back to delay your period for an additional 3 weeks. Utovlan works well for women not already taking the combined pill. Whether Utovlan or the pill will be most effective, will depend on your individual circumstances and medical history and how soon you need to delay your period. Speak to your doctor for more information and guidance.
Utovlan is safe to use as long as you follow the instructions provided by your doctor. It is only available on prescription and is unsuitable for those with certain medical conditions or who are taking certain medications. Speak to your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you.
There is no way to stop your period after it has begun. Once the lining of the uterus has started to shed, you will continue to bleed until the end of your period. If you want to delay your period then you need to take Utovlan three days before your period is due.
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