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What should I know about Heather before taking it?

The birth control pill Heather (norethindrone) is called a minipill or POP (progestin-only pill) because, unlike most oral contraceptives, it contains only the hormone progestin, not estrogen as well. Heather keeps you from getting pregnant primarily by thickening the cervical mucus at the entrance to the uterus so that sperm can't get through. It also creates hormonal changes that make the uterus and the tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus inhospitable and may prevent ovulation (release of an egg). If you generally take Heather as directed, it's 95% effective.

For Heather to work, you have to take one pill at the same time every day. If you're more than three hours late taking the pill (or miss a day altogether), you need to use a backup birth control method, such as a condom and spermicide, anytime you have sex during the next 48 hours.

Before prescribing Heather, your doctor should know your complete health history because if you have (or have had) certain medical conditions, Heather may be risky. These are: breast cancer, benign or cancerous liver tumors, acute liver disease and bleeding between your periods for an unknown reason.

You also shouldn't take Heather if you use any of the following medications:
  • drugs that prevent seizures, including carbamazepine, phenytoin (Dilantin), felbamate (Felbatol), oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), topiramate (Topamax, Trokendi XR), phenobarbital (Solfoton) and barbiturates
  • the antifungal drug griseofulvin (Grifulvin V, Gris-PEG)
  • the herb St. John's wort (hypericum perforatum)
  • some anti-HIV protease inhibitors
  • certain antibiotics. If you need to take an antibiotic while taking Heather, use a backup form of birth control until you talk to your doctor about whether the antibiotic interferes with Heather.

Continue Learning about Progestin

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.