Delay your period with Utovlan 5mg tablets
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Utovlan contains norethisterone, a type of progestogen (a synthetic version of the female sex hormone progesterone). While ZAVA only prescribe Utovlan for period delay treatment, it can be used to treat women with certain health conditions including:
- heavy or painful periods
- premenstrual tension (PMT)
- irregular periods
- endometriosis (where womb tissue grows outside the womb)
- breast cancer
Utovlan needs to be prescribed by your GP for the treatment of these conditions and cannot be ordered online at ZAVA.
Utovlan can also be used to delay your period until a more convenient time.
Utovlan is not a birth control method and does not stop you from getting pregnant.
Utovlan comes in 5mg tablets and should be swallowed whole with water. It can be taken with or without food and it’s safe to drink alcohol while taking Utovlan.
Utovlan needs to be prescribed by a doctor to make sure it is safe for you to take. At ZAVA, our doctors can prescribe it to you for period delay treatment. You should take Utovlan exactly as your doctor tells you.
To delay your period, you normally take 5mg (1 tablet) 3 times a day (a total of 15mg) starting 3 days before your period is due to start and continuing for the amount of time you want to delay your period. When you stop taking Utovlan, your period will normally start within 3 days.
If you forget to take Utovlan at the correct time, take it as soon as you remember and then continue taking it as before. Don’t take 2 tablets together to make up for your missed dose.
When a woman gets pregnant, progesterone is produced by the body in order to help the pregnancy along. One of the ways it does this is by preventing the shedding of the lining of the womb (your period). Utovlan is a synthetic progesterone called norethisterone and works by mimicking the effects of progesterone, tricking your body into thinking it’s pregnant. This stops your body from shedding the womb lining and delays your period.
Utovlan is highly effective in delaying your period if taken correctly.
Common side effects of Utovlan include:
- changes to your period like irregular bleeding or spotting
- nausea (feeling sick)
- abdominal pain
- breast pain and tenderness
- hair loss
- feeling dizzy
- weight gain
- fluid retention
- hair growth on the face, chest, and back (hirsutism)
Utovlan and other similar hormonal medications have been shown to slightly increase the risk of developing blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) brain (stroke), heart (heart attack), and lungs (Pulmonary embolism or PE). This risk is increased if you:
- have had blood clots in the past, or have a family member who has had blood clots in the past
- are unable to move around for a long time because of illness, injury, or surgery
- are very overweight
- are a smoker
- have had miscarriages in the past
- have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- have a history of migraines with aura
- have high blood pressure
Other uncommon, but serious possible side effects of Utovlan include:
- severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
- liver problems
You should stop taking Utovlan and seek medical help immediately if you experience:
- wheezing (noisy, rapid breathing)
- difficulty breathing
- feeling faint or dizzy
- swelling of the face, tongue, hands, or feet
- severe itchy rash
- sudden, severe chest pain
- coughing up blood
- fast heartbeat
- severe headache, or headache that doesn’t go away
- changes in your vision (sight)
- difficulty talking
- numbness or weakness in any part of your body
- swelling, pain, redness, and heat in your lower legs or ankles
- yellowing in your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
For a full list of possible side effects please read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medication carefully.
Utovlan is normally a safe medication, but it is not suitable or safe for all women. Before prescribing Utovlan your doctor will ask you some questions to check that it is safe for you to take. You should not take Utovlan if you:
- are pregnant
- have had a severe allergic reaction to Utovlan, any similar medications, or any of the ingredients in Utovlan (norethisterone lactose monohydrate maize starch, polyvidone, and magnesium stearate)
- are, or think you could be pregnant
- have or have ever had unexplained vaginal bleeding (bleeding for which your doctor could not find a cause)
- have ever had blood clots or have a family member with a history of blood clots
- have a high risk of blood clots
- have ever had a heart attack
- have liver problems
- have ever had pemphigoid gestationis (a skin condition that occurs in pregnancy)
- have pruritis (itching all over your body)
- have porphyria ( an inherited blood disease)
Sometimes Utovlan isn’t safe for people with certain health conditions such as:
- heart problems
- kidney problems
If you have one of these conditions, your doctor will decide if Utovlan is safe for you to take.
Depression has been reported in some women taking Utovlan. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider if you feel low in mood while taking Utovlan.
Your doctor will ask you what other medicines you are taking before prescribing Utovlan. It's important that you tell your doctor about any medications you are taking including herbal supplements, as some medicines may change the way Utovlan works in your body. Some medications that may interact with Utovlan include:
- epilepsy medications like Phenytoin and Carbamazepine
- antibiotics such as tetracyclines, rifampicin, and co-trimoxazole
- HIV medicines like ritonavir and nelfinavir
- Some cancer medications
- Some herbal supplements like St John’s wort
- Aminoglutethimide (a medication used to treat Cushing’s syndrome, seizures, breast, and prostate cancer)
- Ciclosporin (a medication that suppresses the immune system)
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and diclofenac
- some medications used to treat high blood pressure
Having blood tests while taking Utovlan
Some hormonal blood test results can be affected if you are taking Utovlan and may not be as accurate as usual. Tell your doctor if you need to have any blood tests while you are taking Utovlan.
Pregnancy and Utovlan
It is not safe to take Utovlan while you are pregnant as it may affect the development of your baby. Your doctor may ask you to take a pregnancy test before you start taking Utovlan to make sure you are not pregnant. Utovlan is not a contraceptive (birth control) medication, and you can become pregnant while taking it. You should use another form of birth control, like condoms, while you are taking Utovlan to prevent pregnancy.
Breastfeeding and Utovlan
If you are breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before taking Utovlan and they will decide if it is safe for you.
There are various herbal and lifestyle choices, including apple cider vinegar, lentils, gelatine, and vigorous exercise, that claim to delay your period, but none have been proven to work and some may cause side effects. In addition to Utovlan, the following hormonal methods can also delay your period
Norethisterone is the generic name for Utovlan and is the same thing.
Primolut is another brand name for norethisterone and is the same as Utovlan.
Provera is a brand name for medroxyprogesterone. It is another form of progesterone which has an off licence use as a period delay medication.
The combined contraceptive pill contains both oestrogen and progestogen. It is normally taken for 21 days followed by a break of 7 days during which you have your period. If you start another course immediately without the 7 day break, you will “skip” your period that month.
Utovlan can cause bloating as it causes the body to hold on to more fluid. This side effect is usually mild and stops when you stop taking Utovlan. If you are worried about bloating or any other side effect while taking Utovlan, speak to your doctor.
There is no evidence that Utovlan has any long term effect on fertility
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.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 17 Dec 2021
Utovlan (2019) Medicines.org.uk [Accessed December 2021]
Utovlan (2021) Medicoverhospitals [Accessed December 2021]
Progesterone (2018) Everydayhealth [Accessed December 2021]
How to Delay Your Period Naturally (2019) Healtline.com [Accessed December 2021]
Norethisterone (2020) NetdoctorUK [Accessed December 2021]