Before you begin taking a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnancy or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should take this medication.
Breast cancer: Some studies have suggested the possibility of a link between birth control pills and breast cancer, but nothing conclusive has been found involving this medication. Women with breast cancer should not use birth control pills, as the role of female sex hormones in breast cancer has not been fully determined.
Cervical cancer: Some studies have suggested the possibility of a link between birth control pills and cervical cancer, but nothing conclusive has been found involving this medication. Women with cervical cancer should not use birth control pills, as the role of female sex hormones in cervical cancer has not been fully determined.
Depression: Women with a history of depression may be more likely to have a recurrence while taking birth control pills. If you have a history of depression or other mental health conditions, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Diabetes: Norethindrone may cause slight increases in blood sugar levels (may cause a loss of blood glucose control) and glucose tolerance may change. People with diabetes may find it necessary to monitor their blood sugar more frequently while using this medication.
If you have diabetes, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Irregular menstruation: Irregular menstrual patterns are common among women using progestin-only birth control pills. If you notice changes in your usual menstrual patterns, check with your doctor. If you go a prolonged time without bleeding, you should have a pregnancy test.
Laboratory tests: Progestin-only birth control pills may affect how some laboratory tests work. If you are having blood tests to check your thyroid or a Pap smear, let your doctor know that you are taking norethindrone.
Liver function: Some studies have suggested the possibility of a link between birth control pills and cancerous and non-cancerous liver tumours, but nothing conclusive has been found involving this medication.
This medication may cause changes in liver function. If you experience symptoms of liver problems such as fatigue, feeling unwell, loss of appetite, nausea, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain or swelling, and itchy skin, contact your doctor immediately.
Migraine and headache: If you currently suffer from severe headaches or migraines that become more frequent or increase in intensity, or if you develop migraines or headaches that become persistent and bothersome after starting norethindrone, contact your doctor.
Regular checkups: While you are taking this medication, have follow-up visits and a physical examination done every year by your doctor.
Return to fertility: Studies are limited, but they show a rapid return of normal ovulation and no delay to fertility after stopping this medication.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): Birth control pills do not protect against STIs, including HIV/AIDS. For protection against STIs, use latex condoms.
Smoking: Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious problems with the heart and blood vessels. This risk increases with age and becomes significant after age 35. Do not smoke if you use this medication, especially if you are over 35.
Pregnancy: Birth control pills should not be taken by pregnant women. If you are taking birth control pills and discover that you are pregnant, stop the birth control pills and see your doctor. However, there is no conclusive evidence that the progestin contained in this medication will be harmful to the unborn child.
If the use of birth control pills is started after breast-feeding has begun, there does not appear to be any effect on the quantity and quality of the milk. There is no evidence that progestin-only birth control pills such as this medication are harmful to the nursing infant. No side effects have been found on breast-feeding performance or on the health, growth, or development of the infant.