Norethindrone (By mouth)

Norethindrone (nor-ETH-in-drone)

Prevents pregnancy. Also treats menstrual problems and endometriosis. This medicine is commonly called a birth control pill.

Brand Name(s):

Aygestin, Camila, Deblitane, Errin, Heather, Incassia, Jencycla, Lyza, Nora-BE, Norlyda, Norlyroc, Ortho Micronor, Sharobel, Tulana

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to a progestin drug or if you are pregnant. Do not use it if you have liver disease, liver tumors, or a history of blood clots, stroke, heart attack, or breast cancer.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use. Do not use more than directed. Different brands of birth control pills have different instructions for when to start. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand what day to start taking your brand.
  • You may take this medicine with food or milk if it upsets your stomach.
  • Keep your pills in the container you receive from the pharmacy. Take the pills in the order they appear in the container.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Take your pill at the same time every day, even during your menstrual period.
  • Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose. If you take a pill more than 3 hours late, use another form of birth control for the next 48 hours.
  • Store the pills in the original package, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some foods and medicines can affect how birth control pills work. Tell your doctor if you are also taking any of the following:
    • Bromocriptine, rifampin, St John's wort, bosentan, griseofulvin
    • Antibiotic
    • Seizure medicine, including phenytoin, carbamazepine, felbamate, topiramate
    • Protease inhibitor that treats HIV/AIDS
    • Barbiturate (used to treat seizures, anxiety, or insomnia)

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor right away if you think you have become pregnant. If you miss two periods in a row, call your doctor for a pregnancy test before you take any more pills.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or if you have kidney disease, lupus, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, epilepsy, asthma, migraine headaches, diabetes, or a history of depression.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Ectopic (tubal) pregnancy
    • Ovarian cysts that might twist or break
    • Possible risk of breast cancer
    • Benign liver tumor
    • Blood clots, which may lead to stroke or heart attack
  • You might have spotting or irregular bleeding when you first start to use this medicine. You might have unplanned bleeding if you miss a dose or are late taking it. Call your doctor if you think there is a problem, such as if you have heavy bleeding.
  • This medicine will not protect you from HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Use a second form of birth control during the first 3 weeks to make sure you are protected from pregnancy.
  • Smoking increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, or blood clot while using this medicine. Talk to your doctor about these risks.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect certain medical test results.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Chest pain, trouble breathing, or coughing up blood
  • Numbness or weakness on one side of your body, sudden or severe headache, problems with vision, speech, or walking
  • Pain in your lower abdomen
  • Severe headache, sensitivity to light or sound, nausea or vomiting
  • Trouble seeing, double vision, or other eye problems
  • Yellow skin or eyes

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Breast tenderness or swelling
  • Headache
  • Light spotting or bleeding between periods
  • Nausea

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 11/6/2020

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