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Pack of 63 Norinyl-1 tablets
blister packet containing Norinyl-1 pills
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Prices from £12.00

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6 months

6 x 21 tablet(s) / 50 mcg - £15.00

3 months

3 x 21 tablet(s) / 50 mcg - £12.00

What is Norinyl-1?


  • is a monophasic (this means that all the pills contain the same amount of hormones), combined oral contraceptive pill (‘the Pill’) that is used by women who are having sex but do not want to get pregnant
  • it contains a man-made form of oestrogen called mestranol
  • it also contains norethisterone, a man-made version of another hormone progesterone
  • it is under patent from Pfizer, a major pharmaceutical company

You should take one tablet of Norinyl-1 every day for 21 days. After that you can decide to have a 7-day break and restart a new pack, or if you prefer you can take your packs back-to-back without leaving any break between them.

In order to decide whether Norinyl-1 still suits you, your doctor will need to ask some questions about your health, lifestyle, and family history and do some routine examinations like blood pressure. You can talk to your doctor about which schedule could work best for you.

How does Norinyl-1 compare to other brands of birth control?

Like most forms of oral contraception, with Norinyl-1 is around 99% effective against pregnancy whereas barrier methods such as condoms are around 95% effective with perfect use.

Other methods such as the calendar or the “rhythm method” where working out when you’re likely to be ovulating and avoiding sexual intercourse during that time tend to be less effective, especially when you have you have irregular periods.

It is important to remember that oral contraception does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhoea, chlamydia and HIV. Only condoms (male and female) can help to protect against these as well as pregnancy.

How will Norinyl-1 affect me?

It is common to feel a little nauseated at first when starting Norinyl-1 and some women experience some weight gain and breast tenderness but these usually improve as your body adjusts to taking the medication.

A small number of women have raised blood pressure when taking Norinyl. You may not feel any symptoms of this so it’s important to get regular check-ups with your doctor to monitor your blood pressure.

It’s important to know the relationship that combined oral contraceptive pills (COCPs) have to some cancers. The chances of developing certain cancers (ovarian and endometrial) are reduced by regularly taking COCPs and others such as cervical cancer are slightly increased. It’s now thought to be unclear whether they increase the risk of breast cancer or not. If you have questions or concerns over the cancer benefits and risks of taking COCPs, you should discuss this with your doctor.

Is Norinyl-1 suitable for me?

Yes, if it is prescribed to you by your doctor. However, it might not be suitable for people with following conditions:

  • Allergy, intolerance or hypersensitivity to any of the active substances or ingredients in Norinyl-1 (N.B. may be unsuitable for those with lactose intolerance)
  • A history of blood clots (thrombosis) either yourself or in your family
  • Thrombophlebitis, problems with the blood supply to the brain (“cerebrovascular disorders”), current heart problems or a history of these
  • Liver problems
  • A history of certain problems during pregnancy such as jaundice (turning yellow), severe itching or certain other skin conditions
  • Existing or suspected cancer of the breast or genitals or other oestrogen-dependent cancer
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • A history of migraines
  • Pregnancy

Norinyl-1 is not suitable for people taking the following drugs / herbal remedies:

  • St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) may reduce the effectiveness of Norinyl-1 leading to an increased risk of unwanted pregnancy
  • Some prescription drugs may also have a similar effect. These include certain sedatives, antibiotics, some drugs which are used to treat HIV and hepatitis, anti-epileptics and some anti-arthritic drugs
  • If in doubt then discuss this with your doctor who may advise using extra forms of contraception (e.g. condoms) during the time that you’re taking any of these medications, or switching to a more suitable form of contraception
  • If your doctor is testing you for certain conditions such as high cholesterol/lipids/triglycerides or thyroid, liver or clotting problems then it is important to remember that sometimes the results of these tests may be affected by taking a medication containing oestrogen
  • Ulipristal acetate (contained in the emergency contraceptive EllaOne®, for example) also interacts with Norinyl-1. This doesn’t mean you can’t take it if you need it, but your doctor will explain the steps to follow afterwards

What if my Norinyl-1 doesn’t work?

Norinyl-1 is a 99% effective contraceptive when used properly, but if you forget to use it or it gets removed from your body your risk of pregnancy will go up.

What if I miss a pill/throw up/have diarrhoea?

  • If you miss a pill by less than 24 hours, take one as soon as you remember and carry on with the next dose as normal. This may mean taking two pills close together which is fine
  • If you miss a pill by more than 24 hours, do as above but ALSO use a condom or abstain from vaginal intercourse for at least the next 7 days
  • If the tablet/s that you’ve missed are in the last 7 days of the current pack, then start new pack and go without your normal 7 day tablet free time
  • If you vomit or have diarrhoea whilst taking Norinyl carry on taking Norinyl but ALSO either abstain from vaginal intercourse or use a condom during the period of time you are unwell AND for 7 days afterwards
  • If you’ve forgotten one or more pills or taken them late, you might need emergency contraception. If you have any doubts, you should contact your doctor, who will be able to give you the best advice on this

How to practice good pill-taking technique:

  • Treat your oral contraception pill like the medication it is, and take it at the same time of day, every day
  • Oral contraception tablets come with a calendar printed on the foil side. Use it to keep track of when the last day you took the pill

What to do if you think you’re pregnant:

  • There are home pregnancy test kits available from your pharmacy if you want to check if you are pregnant
  • If a pregnancy test is negative but you are still concerned you may be pregnant, repeat this test in 3 weeks time
  • If you have had unprotected sex and you do not wish to become pregnant then there is an option called the “morning after pill” but this is only effective within 72 hrs or 120 hrs of intercourse (depending on which one you take) and it is more effective the sooner it is taken
  • The morning after pill is available from your GP, sexual health clinics or some pharmacies or reputable online health providers. The other option in this instance is to have the contraceptive coil fitted (a type of intrauterine contraception) as emergency contraception, this can be done at most sexual health clinics
  • If you miss this time window, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you can to discuss other options about either abortion or carrying the pregnancy through to term. This may be a very difficult and stressful time so remember that certain charitable organisations exist to help give you the important information you may need e.g.

What other options could I consider?

There are many different types of contraceptive methods. You can discuss these with your doctor to help you decide which one suits you best. If you’re not thinking about getting pregnant soon, you could think about using long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC).

LARC are contraceptive methods that last for months or years and are reversible when you stop using them. The hormonal implant, the progesterone injection, the intrauterine device (IUD) and the intrauterine system (IUS) are all LARC. You can further discuss these options with your GP if you think they might be a good option for you.

What are the different types of Norinyl?

The main differences between the different types of Norinyl-1 is the amount of synthetic oestrogen they contain.

Type of Norinyl-1

Norinyl-1 +35 - 1mg norethisterone -35µg ethinyl estradiol

Norinyl-1 +50 - 1mg norethisterone - 50µg ethinyl estradiol

Other ingredients

41.47mg lactose41.47mg lactose

Medically reviewed by:
Dr Laura Joigneau Prieto

Dr Laura Joigneau Prieto joined ZAVA in April 2018 as a clinical doctor. She studied medicine at the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid, Spain, and at the Pierre and Marie Curie Faculty in Paris, France. She did a Master’s Degree in clinical medicine in 2009 at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid.

Meet our doctors

Last reviewed: 03 Mar 2019

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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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