What is Utovlan and what is it used for?
Utovlan is a prescription medication used by women to delay the onset of a period. It is the branded version of the generic period delay pill Norethisterone. The active ingredient contained in Utovlan is the hormone ‘norethisterone’ – a synthetic version that mimics the naturally occurring sex hormone ‘progesterone’.
Utovlan period delay tablets require a prescription, which can be obtained when you buy Utovlan online through The Independent Pharmacy using our online doctor consultation service. It is not available over the counter. Our simple health questionnaire takes just a few minutes to complete, and we can deliver as quickly as the next working day with tracked delivery and plain packaging.
Utovlan period delay tablets are taken three days prior to the start of your menstrual cycle, until the course is completed. A woman’s period will usually resume three days after completing the course.
You can use Utovlan to delay your period for up to 17 this will effectively completely delay your period and all its symptoms such as bleeding.
Utovlan cannot be used to stop your period once it has already started.
While Utovlan pills are commonly used to delay your next period, they may also be used to treat, manage or relieve:
- Heavy, painful or irregular periods
- Premenstrual tension (PMT)
- Breast cancer
How does Utovlan work?
When Utovlan is taken to delay a period, the norethisterone keeps progesterone levels high, which prevents your period from starting as it usually would.
Please note: Utovlan is not a contraceptive pill, so patients are advised to use other forms of protection if they wish to avoid getting pregnant.
Why delay your period?
Periods are healthy and a normal part of being a woman. However, there may be occasions where the timing isn’t ideal, and you’d rather it didn’t arrive when it was due.
Most women have experienced an occasion at some point in their lives where they’ve thought about delaying their period for the sake of convenience. There are no strict criteria that prevent you asking your doctor for period delay medication like Utovlan.
If you’re thinking of delaying your period, ask yourself why you want to delay it, and for how long. Utovlan is designed for one-off, occasional use to postpone your period – not for preventing periods altogether. If you’re trying to delay your period simply because it’s too painful to handle, this is a sign you should visit your doctor.
We don’t recommend ‘alternative’ means of delaying your period – such as drinking gelatin or vinegar – since there’s no evidence that either option works.
Can I use Utovlan with my contraceptive pill?
We don't normally recommend using Utovlan to delay your period if you are also taking the contraceptive pill. For more information on using your contraceptive pill to skip or delay your period, see our Period Delay information page.
What else can cause a missed period?
A missed period on occasion does not usually cause for concern. While it can be a sign of early pregnancy, it may also be caused by stress, extreme exercise, weight loss, low body fat, or a hormonal imbalance. Periods can also start to become irregular when the menopause starts. In rare cases, a missed period can be a sign of something more serious, like ovarian cancer. Speak to your doctor if you are worried.
Bear in mind too that Utovlan is not a form of contraception, so while taking it, you will still need to protect yourself against pregnancy using another method.
Norethisterone as a hormonal replacement therapy
In addition to its use as a period delay medication, Norethisterone can also be used as hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) when taken in combination with oestrogen. HRT replaces the hormones that a woman's body stops producing naturally when she enters the menopause, which can alleviate some of the troublesome symptoms.
HRT most commonly involves taking a combination of estrogen and progesterone (combined HRT), since this option is safer than taking estrogen on its own (linked to an increased risk of endometrial cancer). Oestrogen-only HRT may be recommended for women who have had a hysterectomy.
The Independent Pharmacy does not prescribe Utovlan for HRT. You can see our HRT treatments here.
Utovlan weight gain
Although it is listed as a possible side effect, Utovlan weight gain is very unusual.
In fact, any weight gained that may be associated with Utovlan is probably a result of fluid retention and bloating (hormonal changes can change the way that water is held in the body).
In some cases, Utovlan may cause weight loss. Progesterone-based medication can cause both weight loss and weight gain, depending on the situation of the individual using it.
If you are worried about Utovlan weight gain or you think that this is something that is affecting you, then speak to your GP about your concerns. If you are taking Utovlan for a longer time to help with painful periods or any other condition, they may suggest changing your dosage or trying lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet.
However, if you’re taking Utovlan short-term to delay your period (it can be used for a maximum of 17 days), then it is unlikely that weight gain is going to substantially impact you during this time.