norethindrone (Aygestin, Norlutate)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

GENERIC NAME: Norethindrone acetate

BRAND NAME: Aygestin, Norlutate

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Norethindrone is a man-made progestin used for treating abnormal uterine bleeding and related condtions (such as amenorrhea and endometriosis). Progestins are steroid hormones that have the same effect as progesterone. Norethindrone works by stopping gonadotropin production from the pituitary gland, leading to prevention of ovulation in females. The FDA approved norethindrone in April, 1982.



PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 5 mg tablets

STORAGE: Store norethindrone tablets between temperatures of 20 C to 25 C (68 F to 77 F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Norethindrone is used for the treatment of secondary amenorrhea, abnormal uterine bleeding, and endometriosis due to hormone imbalance.


Secondary amenorrhea and abnormal uterine bleeding: Take 2.5 to 10 mg by mouth once daily for 5 to 10 days, during second half of the menstrual cycle.

Endometriosis: Initially, take 5 mg by mouth once daily for first 2 weeks, and then increase dose by 2.5 mg per day every 2 weeks until 15 mg per day of norethindrone is reached. Treatment is continued for 6 to 9 months.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: No drug-drug interactions have been conducted and established with norethindrone.

PREGNANCY: Norethindrone is not recommended for pregnant mothers under any circumstances. Norethindrone may cause birth defects.

NURSING MOTHERS: Norethindrone may enter in breast milk in trace amounts. It should be used with extreme caution in nursing mothers.

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