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Nortrel Uses

Although Nortrel is primarily used for preventing pregnancy, it can also be used "off-label" to treat several conditions. Some off-label Nortrel uses include treating acne, painful menstrual periods, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Nortrel works to prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation, altering the cervical mucus, and changing the lining of the uterus. It is only approved for adult and adolescent females of reproductive age.

What Is Nortrel Used For?

Nortrel® (norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol) is a generic oral contraceptive, more commonly known as a birth control pill. There are three different types of Nortrel, including:
  • Nortrel 7/7/7, a triphasic birth control pill, generic for Ortho-Novum® 7/7/7
  • 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.
"Triphasic" means that there are three phases (with three different hormone doses) in each pack. "Monophasic" means that there is only one dose of hormones throughout the pack.
Like most birth control pills, Nortrel is easy to use, very effective, and also offers the following benefits:
  • Regular, predictable menstrual periods
  • Lighter menstrual bleeding
  • Less menstrual pain
  • A decreased risk of ovarian or endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus).
As with almost all methods of birth control, Nortrel must be used correctly and consistently in order to prevent pregnancy. Importantly, Nortrel does not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In many situations, it is advisable to use condoms in addition to Nortrel (to prevent the transmission of STDs).
Today, women can choose from a large variety of different birth control options. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and no particular birth control method is right for all women. Some of the most commonly used birth control methods include:
  • Barrier contraceptives -- Condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, and various other methods that physically block the sperm from entering the uterus
  • Spermicides -- Foams, jellies, gels, suppositories, and inserts
  • Periodic abstinence, sometimes known as natural family planning or the rhythm method -- Avoiding intercourse during the fertile phase of your menstrual cycle
  • Withdrawal -- Removing the penis from the vagina prior to ejaculation
  • Combined hormonal contraceptives (which contain a progestin and an estrogen) -- Most birth control pills, patches, and rings
  • Progestin-only contraceptives -- Some birth control pills ("mini-pills"), injections, and implants
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs) -- Implanted devices that are both very effective and reversible
  • Surgical sterilization -- Tubal ligation (getting your "tubes tied") or a vasectomy (for men).
Like most birth control pills, Nortrel falls into the category of combined hormonal contraceptives, as it contains both an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (norethindrone). Birth control pills are often a great contraceptive choice for many women. However, combined hormonal contraceptives may increase the risk of blood clots and other problems, and not all women should take combined hormonal contraceptives (see Nortrel Warnings and Precautions for more information).
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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