Norethindrone (By mouth)


Norethindrone (nor-ETH-in-drone)
Prevents pregnancy. This medicine is an oral contraceptive (progestin-only birth control pill or minipill).

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Errin, Camila, Jolivette, Nora-BE, Ortho Micronor, Nor-QD, Aygestin

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to norethindrone. You should not use this medicine if you are pregnant, or if you have abnormal bleeding in between your menstrual periods. You should not use this medicine if you have liver disease, liver cancer, or breast cancer.

How to Use This Medicine

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Keep your pills in the container you receive from the pharmacy. Take the pills in the order they appear in the container.
  • Take your pill at the same time every day, even during your menstrual period.
If a dose is missed:
  • This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss taking one pill, you could become pregnant.
  • If you are more than 3 hours late or you miss one or more pills, take a missed pill as soon as you remember that you missed it. Then you can go back to taking your pills at your regular time. Be sure to use a backup method (such as condom or a spermicide) for the next 48 hours.
  • If you are not sure what to do about the pills you have missed, keep taking the pills and use a backup method until you can talk to your doctor.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using seizure medicine such as phenytoin (Dilantin®), carbamazepine (Tegretol®), or phenobarbital. Tell your doctor if you are using medicine to treat tuberculosis (TB) such as rifampin (Rifadin®).

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breast feeding, or if you have diabetes. Tell your doctor if you have had an allergic reaction to other progestin drugs, such as progesterone, megestrol, or medroxyprogesterone.
  • If you smoke while taking birth control pills, you increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. If you have any questions about the risks in taking this medicine, talk to your doctor.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain medical tests.
  • Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
  • This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to your partner during sex. Make sure you understand and practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles 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.
  • Breast lumps.
  • Severe stomach pain, or vomiting.
  • Irregular or missed menstrual period.
  • Severe headache.
  • Yellowing of the skin or the whites of your eyes.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
  • Acne, or weight gain.
  • Breast pain or tenderness.
  • Excessive growth of hair on your chin and lips.
  • Dizziness, 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
Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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