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Norethindrone is a first-generation progestin containing low progestational and slight estrogenic activity. The level of progestational effects refers to how successful the progestin is at preventing ovulation and lessening menstrual bleeding – the higher the better. This progestin does not prevent ovulation as well as some of the others.

This progestin tends to be less androgenic than second-generation progestins but more androgenic than third or fourth generations. The level of the androgenic effect refers to possible unwanted side effects such as acne and hirsutism (female unwanted hair growth), which are more common as the androgenic level increases. So this progestin has fewer unwanted side effects than some second-generation progestin but will have more than third and fourth generations.


In low doses, which include any pill containing less than 50mcg of ethinyl estradiol (estrogen), this progestin raises HDL and lowers LDL cholesterol.

Norethindrone has fewer unwanted side effects, such as acne or unwanted hair growth, than second-generation pills.


There is a risk of unwanted side effects with all progestin types. Norethindrone has a higher risk of side effects than third and fourth generation progestin.


Mini Pill: Aygestin, Camila, Errin, Jolivette, Nor-QD, Nora-Be, Ortho Micronor
Monophasic: Aranelle, Balziva, Femcon Fe, Jenest-28, Junel 1.5/30, Junel Fe 1/20, Microgestin, Modicon, Necon, Ortho-Novum, Ovcon 35, Tilia FE, Zenchent
Multiphasic: Nortel, Tri-Norinyl, Tri-Legest Fe

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