Side effects to consider when taking Norethisterone

Before taking Norethisterone, one must understand a few basic facts about the drug. For starters, Norethisterone is known as a hormonal drug. The drug's initial use began in Mexico in 1951. At that time, it was only used as a remedy for endometriosis and irregular menstruation. As a matter of fact, the drug was not marketed as an oral contraceptive until 1962. In addition, norethisterone belongs to a group of medicines commonly referred to as 'Progestogens'. Progestogens have a synthetic similarity to that of the natural female hormone progesterone. These days, Noristhisterone's primary use is delaying periods.

What are the uses of Norethisterone?

As we have mentioned, Norethisterone has the unique feature of mimicking the effects of the natural female hormone progesterone. Progesterone is a female hormone in the ovaries responsible for the menstrual cycles as well as the maintenance of a pregnancy in a woman. If progesterone levels are abnormal, it can result in the disruption of the menstrual cycle. Therefore, norethisterone can be used in several manners, especially:

  • Managing heavy periods
  • Delaying menstrual cycle
  • Managing painful periods
  • Relieving premenstrual tension (PMT)
  • Preventing irregular periods
  • Treating endometriosis (where uterus tissue lining grows outside the uterus)
  • Treating the symptoms of breast cancer

Side Effects that You Need to Look Out For

There are several side effects of Norethisterone; however, they vary significantly. Some side effects are considered normal and can be easily managed. On the other hand, a few side effects can disrupt your daily life and cause health complications.

If you experience nausea, vomiting, headache, bloating, breast tenderness, or weight gain, keep in mind that it is normal. In addition, vaginal bleeding between periods (spotting) or missed/irregular periods may occur. However, if any of these side effects persist or worsen, you should promptly inform your doctor or pharmacist.

Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has deemed its benefit more significant than the risk of side effects. And not many people using this medication experience serious side effects.

Moreover, this medication increases the risk of high blood pressure, so check your blood pressure regularly and inform your doctor if the results are unusual.

These are some of the severe side effects you need to keep an eye out for. If you notice lumps in the breast, sudden mental/mood changes (such as new/worsening depression), unbearable stomach/abdominal pain, unusual changes in vaginal bleeding (such as continuous spotting, sudden heavy bleeding, missed periods), a dark colour in urine or yellowing eyes or skin stop taking the pills and contact your doctor immediately.

Additionally, this medication may rarely cause serious (sometimes fatal) side effects like blood clots (such as deep vein thrombosis, heart attack, pulmonary embolism or a stroke). Once again, a very serious allergic reaction to this drug is incredibly rare. But, the symptoms of severe side effects you should know are rash, itching or swelling – especially if it occurs on the face, tongue or throat – vertigo, and difficulty in breathing.

Precautions to Consider Before Taking Norethisterone

Norethisterone is not a drug you can take whenever you want, like a birth control pill – which also has side effects and possible complications relating to medical history. Therefore, it is essential to consult a doctor before using Norethisterone. This is because, in some cases, people turn out to be allergic to the drug, which can cause serious problems. Furthermore, the product itself may contain some inactive ingredients, which may cause an unwanted allergic reaction or other complications. If you have a medical history of the following, make sure to inform your doctor:

  • Blood clots
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • High blood pressure
  • Low levels of cholesterol
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Severe mood swings which relate to bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder
  • Diabetes
  • Headaches or migraines

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