Utovlan: Everything You Need to Know
That dreaded week from hell, the constant cramping, the aches, bloating, and never lasting need for chocolate. Periods can be an utter nightmare, and I can understand that you would try anything to avoid them. Well, there is a product called Utovlan that might just be your (temporary) answer. Especially useful for those going away on holidays or playing sports, this product can delay your period for up to seventeen days. So what is it? What does it do? How can I get it? This week's article has the answer to all those questions and more.
What Is Utovlan?
Utovlan 5mg tablets, or norethisterone if you want to refer to its generic drug name, is a prescription only medicine in the UK that can help with treating menstrual irregularity or absense. It can also be used to treat endometriosis and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Norethisterone is a synthetic version of a hormone called progesterone which prevents eggs from being released in the ovaries.
Rather than allowing for the natural fall in progesterone during your period, norethisterone keeps your progesterone levels up. This delays the shedding of your womb lining, and therefore delays your period. Progesterone levels tend to fluctuate during your monthly cycle, as progesterone levels rise your body prepares to receive a fertilised egg and your womb lining develops. If you do not become pregnant then the progesterone levels drop and the womb lining is shed as a period. If however you do become pregnant your levels maintain at a high level.
How Do I Take Utovlan?
Like any prescribed medicine it is important that you take it as your Doctor has prescribed it. Since Utovlan is licensed to treat more than one condition, there are multiple ways to take this medicine so it is important to adhere to what has been prescribed for your treatment. You will either take norethisterone on selected days or you will need to take it daily.
For delaying periods, you take one 5mg tablet three times a day, starting three days before the expected onset of your period and your period will begin two to three days after stopping Utovlan, a period can be delayed for up to 17 days.
For endometriosis, the normal dose is one tablet three times a day for a minimum of six months, the dose may be increased if spotting occurs.
For premenstrual tension the doctor will typically prescribe one tablet daily for ten days, starting sixteen days after your last period.
It is worth noting that these are standard doses for these indications however your doctor may have to increase the amount of tablets taken to achieve the desired outcome - always consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have any queries on how to take medicines.
Utovlan Side Effects
Like all medicines, side effects can occur. However it is not a guarantee that you will experience these but more something to keep in mind. The risk of these side effects is massively reduced for those on short courses of Utovlan.
Common, and self limiting, experiences from patients taking Utovlan are:
- Changes in libido and fluid retention
- Menstrual spotting or breakthrough bleeding
- Headaches and mood swings
- Weight change
However, sometimes medicines can rarely cause more serious reactions. With Utovlan, it has been reported that it can cause allergic reactions to the medicine. If you notice any difficulty breathing, wheezing, feeling faint, or any facial swelling it is important that you seek medical attention immediately. Some women who take Utovlan are also at a slight increased risk of developing a blood clot in the vein of the legs and other parts of the body also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Certain risk factors can increase your likelihood of developing a DVT such as:
- Family history of blood clots
- Recent blood clots
- Recently had major surgery
- People who are immobile
- People with a condition called system lupus erythematosus (SLE)
If you have any of the conditions mentioned, please ensure to tell your prescriber.
Utovlan can sometimes cause a term called breakthrough bleeding, which is where the body bleeds at a time when you aren't expecting it too - this is normally due to the fluctuating hormonal changes that have gone on in your body recently. There is a small increase in breast cancer in patients taking norethisterone, so it is important that if you experience any changes in your breasts or tenderness, you must see a GP to get this explored.
Can Utovlan Stop Your Period Once it Has Started?
A common question for those looking to buy norethisterone is is there anything to stop their period once it has started. I can totally empathize that you would do anything in the world to stop the week of hell, or sometimes a little longer if you really are unlucky. However, for delaying your period with Utovlan it is vitally important that you must take these tablets two to three days before your period is due. As mentioned earlier the tablets effectively trick the body into thinking that you are not needing a period at present, but if a period has already started the body cannot be tricked back. There are ways you can ease your period such as taking pain killers, applying heat patches, and trying to relax.
Is Utovlan Effective?
The short answer is yes. It's very effective and has raring reviews, a quick Google search will show you just how many women are starting to switch to this wonder week pill for that important event that they don't want mother nature to join them.
Does Utovlan Stop You From Getting Pregnant?
Utovlan is useful to help delay periods, PMS, and help with heavy bleeding. It is important to remember that norethisterone is not a birth control pill, so does not provide you with any contraception cover. It is important to take additional measures to help prevent pregnancy. So does Utovlan stop you from getting pregnant? It does many things, but not that.
It has been hailed as a phenomenal aid for women who want an uninterrupted holiday, event, or just a delay in their period. So if you have an important event or holiday coming up (not that you can go anywhere these days) and do not want to be disturbed why not speak to your local GP and see if Utovlan can help you.
Author: Matt Jennings MRPharmS
Clinically Reviewed By:
Ibrahim Nakib BSc(Hons) MRPharmS