Norgeston Pill

A progestogen-only mini pill highly effective in preventing pregnancy

Packet front of 30mg oral tablets of Norgeston
front of blister packet containing norgeston pills
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Prices from £13.00

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3 x 35 tablet(s) - £13.00

6 x 35 tablet(s) - £18.00


What is Norgeston?

Norgeston is a pill that stops you from getting pregnant. It contains levonorgestrel, which is a synthetic version of progestogen. It is also known as the mini pill because it contains progestogen only, instead of progestogen and oestrogen. Norgeston does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

How to take Norgeston

Norgeston comes in packs of 28 pills. Each pill contains 30 mcg (micrograms) of the active ingredient levonorgestrel, as well as small amounts of the sugars sucrose and lactose. The days of the week are written next to each pill to help you remember to take it every day. You can start taking Norgeston at any time during your menstrual cycle, but it is best to start taking it on the 1st day of your period. If you start taking Norgeston on the 1st to the 5th day of your period, you’ll be protected from pregnancy straight away. If you start taking Norgeston after the 5th day, you’ll need to use another form of contraception, like condoms, for 2 days.

You can take the pill at any time, whenever it is convenient for you, but you need to take it at the same time every day (within a 3 hour window) for it to be effective. To take Norgeston, swallow one pill whole with water. When you have finished the pack, you should start the next pack straight away.

How does Norgeston work?

In normal female reproduction, sex hormones (oestrogen and progestogen) tell the body to produce an egg and thicken the lining of the uterus (womb) to get ready for pregnancy. For pregnancy to occur, sperm must enter the womb and fertilise the egg. The egg then attaches itself to the thickened lining of the womb.

Norgeston contains a synthetic version of the hormone progestogen. It prevents pregnancy by:

  • making the mucus in the cervix (the entrance to the womb) thicker which makes it more difficult for sperm to enter.
  • stopping the lining of the womb from getting thick enough for an egg to attach to it.
  • stopping eggs from being produced in the ovaries in some women.

How effective is Norgeston?

Though slightly less effective than some other forms of contraception, such as the combined pill, Norgeston is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy when taken correctly. In reality, Norgeston is about 91% effective because of factors like missed pills, sickness, and taking medications that can reduce its effects.

What are the side effects of Norgeston?

Norgeston is a very safe medicine that is taken regularly by a lot of women. Most women who take Norgeston do not have any side effects, but some common side effects to be aware of are:

  • changes to the frequency, duration, or flow of your periods
  • headaches or migraines
  • feeling dizzy
  • nausea (feeling sick) or vomiting (being sick)
  • reduced libido (less interest in sex)
  • low mood and mood changes
  • allergic reactions to the medication including skin rashes
  • breast tenderness. Your breasts may be sore and more sensitive than usual
  • skin problems such as spots or acne
  • cysts (fluid-filled sacs) on the ovaries. These are usually not dangerous and do not need treatment.

Rarely, Norgeston can cause serious side effects, including:

  • a slight increase in risk of breast cancer. Norgeston should not be taken by women with breast cancer or who have had breast cancer in the past. You should check your breasts regularly, at the same time every month for changes or lumps
  • liver disease such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and liver tumours
  • severe allergic reaction

Most mild side effects settle down within 3 months of starting Norgeston, but if you are worried about side effects, or experience any serious side effects, you should talk to your GP.

Who can take Norgeston?

Norgeston is safe for most women to take, but it may not be suitable if you have certain health conditions or if you are taking other medications. Sometimes Norgeston can make other health conditions worse. Your GP will ask you some questions about your health before prescribing Norgeston. Norgeston may not be suitable for you if you:

  • have diabetes
  • have a history of ectopic pregnancy (when the baby grows outside the womb)
  • have cysts on your ovaries
  • have a history of liver problems
  • have itchy skin (pruritus)
  • have chloasma (dark patches on the skin)

Norgeston is not safe to take if you:

  • are pregnant
  • have liver problems or a history of liver disease
  • have or have had a sex hormone-related cancer, like breast or ovarian cancer
  • have unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • are allergic to any of the ingredients in Norgeston

Norgeston interactions

Some medications interact with Norgeston and may stop Norgeston from working properly. Make sure you tell your GP about any other medicine you are taking before starting Norgeston. Medicines that interact with Norgeston include:

  • some epilepsy medications
  • medicines used to treat HIV and hepatitis C
  • some medicines used to treat vomiting
  • some medicines used to treat high blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension)
  • some medicines used to treat skin and fungal infections like jock itch, athletes foot, and ringworm
  • some medicines used to treat heart problems and high blood pressure
  • some specialised antibiotics
  • St John’s wort (a herbal supplement)
  • grapefruit juice

Alternative treatments

If the progestogen-only pill isn’t right for you, there are many other forms of contraception available. They include:

  • the combined pill. This is similar to the progestogen-only pill but contains both sex hormones, oestrogen and progestogen
  • the contraceptive implant (Nexplanon). A tiny rod-like implant that is inserted just below the skin and lasts for 3 years
  • contraceptive injections. These last 8-13 weeks depending on the type of injection given
  • the intrauterine device (IUD). A small T-shaped device that is inserted into your uterus (womb) and lasts several years depending on the type
  • condoms. These protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as pregnancy
  • the vaginal ring. This is inserted into the vagina and releases hormones continuously to prevent pregnancy. It stays in place for 3 weeks
  • the diaphragm. A dome that sits over the cervix (the entrance to the womb) and prevents sperm from entering
  • the contraceptive patch (Evra). Applied to the skin, this releases hormones slowly into the body. This needs to be changed weekly.

Talk to your GP or family planning nurse about which method is best for you.

FAQs

Does Norgeston make you gain weight?

It’s a common belief that taking the contraceptive pill can make you put on weight. A 2014 review of 49 studies found no evidence that taking the combination pill makes you gain weight. There is however some evidence that the pill can cause your body to hold on to more fluid making you feel as if you have gained weight. This side effect is usually temporary and passes in the first 3 months.

Is Norgeston a progesterone?

Progesterone is a natural female sex hormone produced in the body. Progestogen is a synthetic form of progesterone meaning it is a manufactured version that mimics the effects of progesterone. Norgeston contains a synthetic version of progesterone called levonorgestrel.

What is the difference between Noriday and Norgeston?

Noriday and Norgeston are different brands of progestogen-only pills and are taken in the same way. They both contain synthetic progesterones (progestogens). Noriday contains norethisterone and Norgeston contains levonorgestrel.

How does Norgeston help with monthly periods?

Unlike the combined pill which contains both oestrogen and progestogen, the mini pill needs to be taken every day and you will have your period while you are taking it. This means it is less effective at regulating your periods and you cannot skip them altogether. Some women find they have lighter, less painful periods while taking the mini pill, while others may have more frequent or prolonged bleeds.

What is the half-life of Norgeston?

The half-life of a drug or medicine is the amount of time it takes for half the drug to be eliminated from your body. This is important because it allows us to know when the drug stops working, and when you may need to take another dose. The half-life of Norgeston is 24-32 hours which is why you need to take it every day at around the same time.

What should I do if I forget to take Norgeston?

If it is less than 3 hours since you missed your pill, take one straight away. If it is more than 3 hours, continue to take Norgeston the next day at the usual time. You may not be fully protected against pregnancy so you will need to use another form of contraception, such as condoms, for 7 days. If you have unprotected sex and think you may not be protected from pregnancy, you may need to talk to your healthcare provider (GP, nurse, or pharmacist) about taking emergency contraception. Make sure you tell your healthcare provider that you have been taking Norgeston so they can tell you the best type of emergency contraception to use.

What if I vomit after taking Norgeston?

If you vomit within 2 hours of taking Norgeston you should take another pill as soon as you can. If more than 3 hours have passed without being able to keep a pill down, you will need to use another form of contraception for 7 days to avoid pregnancy, and potentially use emergency contraception if necessary. If you have diarrhoea, you should use alternative contraception (additional condom use) for as long as your diarrhoea continues and for 7 days after it stops.

What if I want to have a baby?

There is no evidence that taking Norgeston affects fertility, and, if you want to get pregnant, your body will return to normal when you stop taking Norgeston. Sometimes it can take a few months for your periods to get back to normal, but it can happen very quickly. It’s a good idea to talk to your GP or family planning nurse before stopping Norgeston to make sure you do so safely and plan for your future pregnancy.

When can I take Norgeston after having a baby?

After having a baby you can start taking Norgeston on the 21st day after giving birth. This will give you full protection from pregnancy. If you start taking Norgeston more than 21 days after you give birth you will need to use another method of contraception, in addition to Norgeston, for 2 days.

Can I breastfeed while taking Norgeston?

Yes. It’s safe to breastfeed while taking Norgeston as it does not pass into breast milk and does not affect your baby.

What if I want to change my method of contraception?

If you are having sex, and don’t want to get pregnant, it’s very important that you don’t stop taking your pill without using some other form of contraception. Talk to your GP or family planning clinic about what other methods of contraception are available, and which is the best for you.

Can I take Norgeston if I’m younger than 16?

Advice about contraception is free and confidential to everyone, including people younger than 16. Your doctor or nurse will not tell your parents, but they may advise you to do so. In extreme cases, where abuse or harm is suspected, it may be necessary to inform your parents, but your health provider will usually talk to you about this first.

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Medically reviewed by:
Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Expansion

Babak studied medicine at King’s College London and graduated in 2003, having also gained a bachelor’s degree in Physiology during his time there. He completed his general practice (GP) training in East London, where he worked for a number of years as a partner at a large inner-city GP practice. He completed the Royal College of GPs membership exam in 2007.

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Last reviewed: 15 Dec 2021


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Contraceptive pills are a reliable way of reducing your risk of getting pregnant from sex. ZAVA offers most common brands of pill, so you can order your preferred brand by visiting our contraceptive pill service page.




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