What is Noristerat?

Noristerat is a progestogen-only, short-term reversible contraceptive administered in the form of an injection. It contains the active ingredient norethisterone enanthate, which is a synthetic progestogen.

Women who have the Noristerat injection are protected from pregnancy for two months at a time. It's popular with a range of women, including those whose partners are having a vasectomy and want to be protect whilst it takes effect, and those who are being immunised against rubella and don't want to conceive whilst the virus is active.

It's not intended to be used for long periods of time, unlike Depo-Provera, which is why relatively small numbers of women have the Noristerat contraception injection.

How do you use it?

If you want to have the Noristerat injection, you'll need to book an appointment with a qualified professional who can administer the injection into the muscles of the buttock or upper arm. Noristerat builds up a reservoir of progestogen, which is steadily released over the eight weeks. It should be injected within the first five days of your period, so it can be effective immediately. However, it can be administered at a later date but you'll need to prove you're not pregnant and use another contraceptive for the first seven days.

You could potentially have the injection a a second time, though women are discouraged from using Noristerat as a long-acting reversible contraceptive. If you want a long-acting progestogen-only injection, you should consider Depo-Provera.

If you have just had a baby and you've decided to breastfeed, you should not have the Noristerat injection until at least six weeks after the birth. If you've had a miscarriage or abortion at less than 24 weeks, you can be given this injection immediately. If you wait more than seven days after the miscarriage or abortion, you'll need to use other protection for the following week.

What are the benefits?

Women who choose Noristerat find the biggest benefits are:

  • It gives over 99% protection for two weeks, after one simple injection
  • You can use it if you're breastfeeding
  • It isn't affected by other medications
  • It can reduce heavy periods and alleviate PMS symptoms
  • It can give you some protection against cancers of the womb and ovaries
  • It can protect you from developing pelvic inflammatory disease

What are the side effects?

There is no antidote to Noristerat, which means that if you develop side effects, you'll need to endure them for as long as the injection lasts. The side effects are generally milder than those associated with Depo-Provera, and include breast discomfort, headaches, depression, dizziness, nausea and reaction at the site of injection.

Who can and cannot have the Noristerat injection?

Your doctor won't be able to give you a prescription for Noristerat if you have abnormal vaginal bleeding, if you suffer from breast cancer and if you have hereditary blood disorders such as acute porphyria. Other medical conditions could affect whether your doctor considers it safe for you to use Noristerat, including any experience of blood clots, liver cirrhosis, diabetes or a history of jaundice.

You must discuss your medical history and any medications you're using with your doctor, to ensure it's safe for you to have the Noristerat injection.

What did it do for me?

After having two children, my husband and I felt that our family was complete and we didn't want to conceive again. It took many discussions, but in the end we agreed that a vasectomy was the best option for us. The only problem is that it can take a while to become effective, so I decided to take control of contraception. After visiting my doctor, I learned that because I'm 38, I can't take contraceptive pills.

I thought I'd have to use condoms until we knew for sure that my husband's vasectomy had worked. Instead, my doctor talked to me about Noristerat and I discovered that one injection would protect me for two whole months! I thought it was brilliant - much more convenient than remembering a pill every day. It provided convenient and effective protection until my husband's tests proved the vasectomy had worked.

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