Noriday is a type of oral contraceptive made using the active ingredient norethisterone, which synthesizes progestogen similar to the natural hormones produced by the human body. Because there is only one type of hormone in Noriday, it is referred to as the mini-pill by some doctors. Many medicines for birth control are “combination pills”, which contain a combination of progestogen and estrogen. Mini-pills such as Noriday may be better suited to people who are breastfeeding and women with an estrogen intolerance.
What is Noriday?
Noriday is a contraceptive pill that prevents pregnancy in a combination of ways: by preventing the release of an egg from the ovaries, by changing the lining of the womb, making it more difficult for fertilized eggs to hold onto the womb wall, and by increasing the thickness of the mucus leading into the entrance of the womb, which makes it harder for sperm to cross from the vagina into the womb. When taken according to your doctor's instructions, Noriday reduces the chances of getting pregnant significantly.
The Noriday contraceptive pill is different from combined pills because it only contains a synthetic progestogen called norethisterone, rather than progestogen and estrogen. A progestogen-only contraceptive pill may be a better choice for some people who do not respond well to the combined pill.
When is Noriday used?
Commonly known as the progestogen-only, or “mini-pill”, Noriday is the oral contraceptive of choice for women who are unable to use other forms of birth control such as the combined pill or use IUDs (inter-uterine devices). The Noriday contraceptive pill is suited to women who are breast-feeding, as it does not pass through into the breast milk, unlike the combined pill. Additionally, it can be an ideal solution for women who do not respond well to excess estrogen in their system. The effectiveness of progestogen-only pills such as Noriday is slightly lower than that of other birth control pills. However, if taken properly, it is very unlikely that you will fall pregnant with Noriday. Importantly, the Noriday contraceptive pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections and diseases. You will still need to use other forms of protection to practise safe sex.
How do you use Noriday?
The progestogen-only pill works very similarly to the combined pill. When you are prescribed the Noriday contraceptive pill, you should decide what time of day you are going to take your pill, then take one tablet each day at the same time. When you finish your pack, you will start another pack straight away without taking a break. This means that you will continue to use the Noriday contraceptive pill when you are having a period. This is different from the combined pill where you will be required to take a seven-day break between each 28-pill packet of tablets.
There are two types of Noriday contraceptive pill available depending on your circumstances. The traditional progestogen- only pill is a three-hour medication that needs to be taken within the same three hours on the same day. The 12-hour progestogen-only pill needs to be taken within the same 12-hour period each day. Your doctor may give you the second option if you feel you might have difficulty sticking to a routine.
Noriday tablets can be taken with or without food. However, as with any oral contraceptive, it is important to follow the instructions given by your doctor. Remember that vomiting, diarrhoea or forgetting to take your pill could make your protection against pregnancy less efficient. If you forget to take a dose of Noriday, you will need to speak to your doctor. The step you need to take next will depend on the kind of pill you are taking, how long it has been since you took your last pill, whether you have had sex without another form of contraception in the last seven days, and if you have forgotten to take multiple pills.
What dosages are available?
Noriday tablets and other progestogen-only pills are only available in a single dosage. They contain 350 micrograms of norethisterone, which is a synthetic version of the progesterone your body naturally creates. This substance, when taken regularly, should help to protect you against pregnancy. If you are concerned about your dosage, or anything to do with taking the progestogen-only pill, speak to your doctor about your options. You will be given the Noriday contraceptive pill in a series of 28-day packets. Usually, the packets of pills you receive will be marked with the days of the week, so that you can track taking them and make sure you do not miss any doses.
What are the side effects of Noriday?
The Noriday contraceptive pill is usually given to women who want to take an oral contraceptive but cannot tolerate taking a pill with estrogen included. Usually, it is a very well-tolerated drug that does not cause many side-effects at all. However, as with many other forms of medication, it is important to be aware of anything that changes with your wellbeing when taking Noriday. Some common side effects might include:
- Breast tenderness or pain;
- Breast growth;
- Acne or increased risk of pimples;
- Mood changes or sudden feelings of stress or anger;
- Headaches and migraines;
- Vomiting and nausea;
- Small and harmless cysts on your ovaries: usually these disappear without treatmen;
- Decreased or increased libido or sex drive.
Importantly, if you do have vomiting or diarrhoea when taking the Noriday contraceptive pill, you will need to speak to your doctor as this can make your medication ineffective. Usually, if you do experience any side effects from Noriday, they will occur during the first few months when you begin taking the pill. However, they should usually stop by themselves. If you are concerned that your side-effects are ongoing, you can speak to your doctor about changing pills. Some people are unable to tolerate any form of oral contraceptive. If this is the case for you, then you will need to discuss alternative options with your pharmacist or doctor.
As with other contraceptive pills, there is a possibility that taking the Noriday or progestogen-only pill may slightly increase your risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Research into the link between pills such as Noriday and breast cancer is ongoing. However, most scientists believe that the risk is very small.
If you are concerned, discuss your options with your doctor. It is also important to read the leaflet that comes with your Noriday prescription, as there may be other side effects that occur for some women that are not listed above.
When should you not use Noriday?
Most women will be able to use the Noriday pill or another form of the progestogen-only pill without any side effects or issues. However, there are circumstances in which an oral contraceptive such as this one might not be right for you – for instance, if you do not want your periods to change, as Noriday can alter the frequency of your menstrual cycle. It is also crucial that you do not take Noriday if you think that you might be pregnant.
Other cases where Noriday may not be appropriate include if you:
- Have a higher risk of breast cancer than some people;
- Have had breast cancer in the past, or have a history in your family;
- Suffer from severe liver tumours or cirrhosis;
- Have liver disease;
- Have developed heart disease or arterial disease;
- Have ever suffered from a stroke or are at greater risk of a stroke;
- Take medications that affect the Noriday pill;
- Have unexplained periods of bleeding after sex.
Most healthy women will be able to take the Noriday contraceptive pill without any problems. However, you can only take the progestogen pill until you reach your menopause, or until the age of 55. Unlike the combined pill, the progestogen-only pill is safe to continue using if you are breast-feeding. Although very small amounts of Noriday might pass into the breast milk, it will not be harmful to your baby. Additionally, the Noriday contraceptive pill will not affect how you produce your breast milk.
If you follow the instructions given by your doctor carefully, it is very unlikely that you will get pregnant while taking Noriday. However, there is a very small chance that pregnancy may still occur. If this happens, there currently is no evidence that the pill will be harmful to your unborn baby. However, it is important to seek medical advice as quickly as possible, as your doctor will be able to tell you what to do next.
Does Noriday interact with any other medications?
All medications, including the Noriday contraceptive pill, have the potential to interact negatively with other drugs. It is important to let your doctor know all of the medicines that you are taking at any time. Remember to tell them about everything you take, including herbal remedies, over-the-counter medications and supplements. The medicines you already take will help your doctor to decide whether Noriday is right for you.
Some of the drugs known to potentially interfere with the effectiveness of Noriday include:
- Rifampicin used to treat tuberculosis;
- Epilepsy medications such as primidone, carbamazepine, phenytoin, and barbiturates;
- Ampicillin and some other antibiotics;
- Griseofulvin and other anti-fungal medicines;
- St. John’s Wort;
- Some medicines from the anti-viral family, including protease inhibitors, used to treat HIV and Hepatitis C.
Antacids commonly reduce the body’s ability to absorb Noriday. If you are taking antacids when using a progestogen-only pill, your doctor will recommend that you do not take the medications within two hours of taking your pill. Additionally, your doctor will be able to offer advice on whether you will need to use other forms of contraception to protect against pregnancy when you are using the abovementioned medicines with Noriday. Seek advice immediately if your period is unusually light, or you have an unusual pain in your stomach. These symptoms can be possible warning signs of an ectopic pregnancy.
Where can you buy Noriday?
Noriday and other forms of the progestogen-only pill are available from registered pharmacies both online and offline. You will need to speak to a doctor and get a prescription before you will be able to buy Noriday.
Can you get Noriday without a prescription?
Although Noriday is available from most pharmacies, you will require a prescription to buy it. This ensures that your doctor does not give you a medication that will react poorly with your lifestyle or any other medications that you might already be taking.
Helen Marshall, September 2018, Net Doctor, Noriday Norethisterone, Retrieved from: https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/sexual/a7229/noriday-norethisterone/
NPS Medicinewise, Accessed on 8 May 2019, Noriday 28 tablets, Retrieved from https://www.nps.org.au/medicine-finder/noriday-28-tablets
Pfizer Limited, Kent, United Kingdom, Last revised December 2018, Noriday 350 microgram tablets, retrieved from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.1146.pdf