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)

Aygestin, Camila, Errin, Heather, Jencycla, Jolivette, Lupaneta Pack, Lyza, Nor-QD, Nora-BE, Ortho Micronor

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine


  • Take your medicine as directed.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to 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  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. 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

  • It is not safe to take this medicine during pregnancy. It could harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
  • 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.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect certain medical test results.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.
  • This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to others. Always practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles or other items that may have blood or body fluids on them.

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

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 8/4/2014

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