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Nortrel is a prescription oral contraceptive that contains two different types of hormones (an estrogen and a progestin). This birth control pill works by stopping ovulation, as well as altering the cervical mucus and the lining of the uterus. There are several different types of this product, some of which have three phases (or strengths) of hormones in each pack. Potential side effects include nausea, headaches, and acne.

What Is Nortrel?

Nortrel® (norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill. There are a few different types of Nortrel birth control pills available, including:
  • Nortrel 0.5/35, a monophasic birth control pill, generic for Modicon®
  • Nortrel 1/35, a monophasic birth control pill, generic for Ortho-Novum® 1/35
  • Nortrel 7/7/7, a triphasic birth control pill, generic for Ortho-Novum 7/7/7.
(Click Nortrel Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Nortrel?

Nortrel products are made by Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Although they sound like brand-name drugs, Nortrel birth control pills are actually generic medications (see Generic Ortho-Novum or Generic Modicon for more information).

How Does Nortrel Work?

Nortrel is a combined oral contraceptive, the most common type of birth control pill used today. It is a combined oral contraceptive because it contains a combination of two different types of hormones. It contains both an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (norethindrone). Most importantly, the hormones in Nortrel prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries).
Nortrel also works to prevent pregnancy in two other, minor ways. It changes the cervical mucus (the fluid of the cervix, which is the lower, narrow part of the uterus that is connected to the vagina), making it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus. Lastly, it alters the lining of the uterus (called the endometrium), making it less receptive to an embryo.
Nortrel 0.5/35 and Nortrel 1/35 are "monophasic" birth control pills, which means that there is only one strength of hormones throughout the pack. Nortrel 7/7/7 is a "triphasic" birth control pill, which means that there are three different phases (with three different doses of hormones) in each pack.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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