What is Utovlan?
Utovlan is a prescription medicine used by women to adjust their menstrual cycle and delay their next period for up to 14 days. It is sometimes also prescribed to treat premenstrual syndrome and other menstrual problems, breast cancer, and endometriosis. Utovlan uses a synthetic hormone called norethisterone to mimic the action of the natural bodily hormone progesterone. A sustained dosage of norethisterone (3 x 5mg Utovlan tablets per day) will delay your period for as long as you continue to take the tablets. Unless instructed otherwise by our online GP, you should not use Utovlan continuously for more than 14 days. If you want to suppress your periods on a long-term basis, there may be other alternatives, including some brands of contraceptive mini-pill.
What is the active ingredient of Utovlan?
The active ingredient of Utovlan is norethisterone, a synthetic progesterone hormone that is also used in the contraceptive pill Norriday. The norethisterone in Utovlan works to adjust your menstrual cycle and temporarily delay your next period. Norethisterone was discovered in 1951 and has successfully been used in medications since 1963.
How does Utovlan work?
Utovlan uses a synthetic progesterone hormone called norethisterone to delay your coming period. If you want to delay your next period, you will need to know roughly when it is likely to begin. You must begin taking Utovlan three days before your period starts, to allow the active ingredient norethisterone to build up in your body and influence your menstrual cycle. A daily dosage of 3 x Utovlan pills will delay your period for as long as you continue to take the pills - up to a maximum of 14 days. Your period should start within 3 days after you stop taking Utovlan.
Who can take Utovlan?
Our online GPs will generally consider prescribing Utovlan to women over the age of 18 who meet the necessary health requirements to use the medication safely. If you are pregnant or think that you may be pregnant, you cannot take Utovlan. If you are allergic to the main active ingredient norethisterone or any of the other minor active ingredients (see product leaflet) you must also avoid this medication.
When you complete the short online medical questionnaire, our duty GP will immediately check whether Utovlan tablets are safe for you to take. If we cannot issue a prescription for Utovlan, you may be offered advice about other options for delaying your period.
What doses of Utovlan are available?
Utovlan tablets contain the active ingredient norethisterone and are available in a standard 5mg dosage. A single Utovlan tablet is taken three times a day for as long as you want to delay your next period (up to a maximum of 14 days). Your period will start within 3 days after you stop taking Utovlan.
- Identify the start date of your next period.
- Begin taking Utovlan 3 days before your period is due.
- Take a single 5mg pill three times a day (total daily dosage 15mg).
- Continue this routine every day for as long as you want to delay your period (max 14 days).
- Your period will start within 3 days of ceasing to take Utovlan.
Tablets may be swallowed with a glass of water. Most women take a pill after each meal for convenience.
How do I take Utovlan?
If you want to delay your next period, you need to start taking Utovlan 3 days before you are due to begin bleeding. You will need to order the medication enough time in advance to allow for these three days.
- Calculate when you expect to begin your next period and set a start date for the medication three days before you expect to menstruate.
- Take a single 5mg Utovlan tablet three times a day.
- Continue to follow this routine every day, until you are ready to menstruate again (14 day maximum).
- Stop taking the tablets. Your period should begin within 3 days. If it doesn’t, seek medical advice.
Can I take Utovlan and drink alcohol?
Our online GPs generally do not recommend drinking alcohol while using any prescription medications. In the case of Utovlan pills there are no specific warnings against drinking alcohol in moderation. There is no evidence that alcohol will reduce the efficacy of the active ingredient norethisterone or cause unpleasant side effects.
What are the side effects of Utovlan?
Your Utovlan pills will come with a patient leaflet giving detailed information about the medication, its ingredients, possible side effects, and contraindications. Please read this leaflet carefully before you take any tablets. Keep the leaflet with the medication for future reference.
If you use Utovlan tablets exactly as directed by our online GP you are unlikely to experience any significant unwelcome side effects. A small minority of patients may experience some minor side effects. In the unlikely event that you experience any serious side effects you should seek immediate medical advice.
Common side effects
- Nausea or vomiting
- Bleeding or spotting between periods
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Loss of appetite
The following symptoms could be warning signs of thrombosis (a blood clot) which will need urgent treatment:
Symptoms of a blood clot in the lungs:
- Sudden, severe, sharp pain in your chest
- Coughing up blood
- You suddenly become short of breath
- Your heart beats more rapidly
Symptoms of a blood clot in the brain (‘a stroke’):
- You have an unusually severe or long headache
- Your sight is affected in any way
- You find it difficult to speak
- You collapse or faint
- Any part of your body feels weak or numb
Symptoms of a deep-vein thrombosis (DVT):
- You have severe pain, tenderness or swelling in your calf, ankle or foot
- You have purple discolouration of the skin of the leg or the skin becomes red and warm to touch
- Difficulty breathing
- Feeling faint
- Swelling of the face or tongue
- Swelling of the hands and feet
- Intense itchy skin rash.
If you experience serious discomfort we recommend that you go straight to your nearest casualty department. In an emergency dial 999.
When should I not take Utovlan?
If you are allergic to the active ingredient norethisterone, you are pregnant, or think that you might be pregnant, you cannot take Utovlan.
If you suffer from any of the following medical conditions, or are taking the following medications, Utovlan may not be a safe option for you. You must mention all relevant medical conditions and any medication that you are taking when you complete the short online health questionnaire. Our duty GP will make sure that you can take Utovlan safely. If we cannot issue a prescription for Utovlan tablets, you may be offered advice about other options for period delay.
- Family history or previous personal incidents of thrombosis or a history of blood clots.
- If you had Pemphigoid gestation: Presence of jaundice (yellowish skin color) and generalized itching that occurs while pregnant.
- Cardiovascular disease such as previous heart attacks or angina.
- If you suffer from liver problems.
- If you suffer from Porphyria.
- Migraine headaches.
- Uncontrolled diabetes.
- Medicines for Epilepsy treatment: Phenytoin, Carbamazepine, Oxcarbazepine, Topiramate, barbiturates.
- Medicine to treat depression.
- St. John’s Wort herbal remedy.
- Antibiotic treatments such as Rifampicin, tetracyclines, ampicillin, oxacillin.
- Antiviral medicines used to treat HIV: Ritonavir, nelfinavir.
- High blood pressure medicines.
- NSAID’s (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen.
- Immunosupressive treatments: Ciclosporin.
- Other hormonal medicines: progestogens, oestrogens.
The Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) is the leaflet included in the pack with a medicine. It is written for patients and gives information about taking or using a medicine. It is possible that the leaflet in your medicine pack may differ from the PDF-version from this website because it may have been updated since your medicine was packaged or the medicine is from another brand.