Errin

Avoid pregnancy with Errin birth control pills delivered discreetly

Errin is a “mini-pill”, which means it only contains progresterone and no estrogen, reducing the risk of unwanted side effects from estrogen.

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Information

Reviewed by Dr Rohanti Ravikulan, MD

Information last reviewed 10/27/19

About

What is Errin?

Errin is a type of progesterone-only contraceptive pill, also known as the mini pill. Progesterone is a female sex hormone. Errin is primarily prescribed to prevent pregnancy, but can also be used to treat endometriosis (a condition in which tissue lining the uterus is found outside the uterus) or abnormal vaginal bleeding. This type of contraceptive pill does not contain estrogen (another female sex hormone), which means that it is taken continuously and does not allow for a monthly withdrawal bleed.

How does Errin work?

Errin contains norethindrone, a synthetic version of the female sex hormone progesterone, which plays a vital role in regulating the menstrual cycle. Norethindrone helps to prevent pregnancy in three ways. Firstly, it thickens the mucus lining around the cervix, which prevents sperm from being able to reach the uterus. Secondly, it prevents ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary) and finally, it alters the uterine lining (womb lining) to prevent a fertilized egg from being able to implant (adhere to the uterine wall) and develop.

How effective is Errin?

When taken correctly, Errin is considered to be 99.5% effective in preventing pregnancy. A more accurate success rate, which takes into account women who occasionally miss a pill or are late taking their pill, is about 95%.

Errin will NOT protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), nor will any other form of hormonal contraception. The only form of contraception to offer partial protection from STIs is the male condom.   

Is Errin safe?

Errin is considered to be a safe and effective form of contraception for most women. In general, hormonal contraceptives can very slightly increase the risk of developing more serious health complications, including blood clots, heart disease, gallbladder disease, liver tumors, and estrogen-sensitive cancers such as breast, ovarian and uterine cancer. While the benefits of hormonal contraceptives greatly outweigh these risks, women who have a personal or family history of the above conditions should consult a doctor before using them, as they may not be suitable. See ‘Contraindications’ below  for more information.

Ingredients

Active ingredients

Each Errin tablet contains 0.35mg of norethindrone, a synthetic form of the progesterone hormone. 

Inactive ingredients

Errin also contains the following inactive ingredients:  anhydrous lactose, corn starch, D&C yellow no. 10 aluminum lake, ethylcellulose aqueous dispersion, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose and povidone.

Dosage

Errin dosage

The usual dosage of Errin is one tablet (containing 0.35 mg norethindrone) per day, taken at the same time each day.

How to start taking Errin

Never start taking Errin without first consulting a doctor, and make sure to read the information on the package carefully before use. It is recommended that you start Errin on the first day of your period in order to be protected against pregnancy from the very first day. If you decide to start the medication on any other day of your menstrual cycle , you will need to use an additional form of contraception, such as condoms, for the first 7 days after which the pill alone will protect you against pregnancy.

If you are switching to Errin from a different type of contraceptive pill, you should start taking Errin on the very next day of taking the last dose of  your previous contraceptive. If your current hormonal contraception is a combined method and contains inactive pills, throw these away and start taking Errin right after you finish the active pills in the pack. If your current contraception is progesterone-only, you can switch to Errin at any time.     

How to take Errin

To assure that Errin achieves its maximum contraceptive effectiveness, take one tablet every day at the same time (24 hours apart), and continuously, which means without interruptions between pill packs. After you finish a pack, start a new one the next day.

Pregnancy is likely to occur if you skip doses, for example, if you miss a pill, start a new pack later than the next day, or take a pill at a different time than usual. If this happens, use a back-up method of birth control such as condoms or a spermicide gel every time you have sex for the next 48 hours in order to avoid pregnancy.

What should I do if I miss a pill?

If you miss a pill and you remember it within 3 hours of when you are supposed to take the dose, take the missed pill immediately and take the next pill at the usual time on the next day. You do not need an additional form of contraception.

If you are more than 3 hours late to take your pill, take one pill as soon as you remember (even if you’ve missed more than one) followed by the next pill at the usual time, even if this means taking two pills in one day. Continue the rest of the pills normally. In this scenario, you are no longer protected against pregnancy, and you will need to use an additional form of contraception, such as condoms, for the next 48 hours (from the time you take the missed pill). This is how long it would take for the pill to sufficiently thicken the cervical mucus. It takes 7 days for the pill to stop ovulation, so it may say on the packaging or the information leaflet to use additional contraception for 7 days if you miss a pill, though this is not mandatory. 

Side Effects

Errin side effects

Errin may cause the following side effects:

  • Vaginal bleeding between periods (spotting) or missed/irregular periods

  • Breast tenderness or pain

  • Weight gain

  • Headache

  • Nausea (feeling sick)

  • Vomiting (being sick)

  • Depression

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Vaginal itching or discharge

  • Hair loss

 

If you experience any of the following rare but serious side effects, call your doctor immediately as they may indicate a possible heart attack, stroke, deep vein thrombosis,  pulmonary embolism, or other serious diseases:

 

  • Lumps in the breast

  • Changes in vaginal bleeding (continuous spotting, sudden heavy bleeding, continuous missed periods)

  • Dark urine

  • Yellowing of eyes / skin (jaundice)

  • Pain in the chest / jaw / left arm 

  • Sudden dizziness/fainting

  • Pain/swelling in the calf

  • Slurred speech

  • Unusual headaches with vision changes, lack of coordination, severe or worsening migraine

  • Vision problems such as double vision, partial/complete blindness

  • Sudden shortness of breath or rapid breathing

  • Unusual sweating

  • Weakness on one side of the body

Contraindications

Errin is contraindicated in the following cases:

  • If you are allergic to norethindrone or any other ingredient in Errin. See the ingredients list above. Allergy to any of the ingredients may present as a rash, itching/swelling of the face/tongue/throat, dizziness, or difficulty breathing. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.

  • If you have breast cancer

  • If you have unusual bleeding that has not been checked by your doctor yet

  • If you suffer from liver disease or have a benign or malignant liver tumor

  • If you have had blood clots in your brain, eyes, lungs, or legs previously 

  • If you are pregnant

  • If you smoke

Drug interactions

Some drugs may disrupt the effects of Errin if taken together. Errin may interact with the following medicines amongst others:

  • Phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
  • Phenobarbital
  • Rifampicin

It is possible for Errin to interact with substances other than those listed here. Therefore, it is important that you let the prescribing physician know of any other medications, supplements, alternative medicines, or recreational drugs that you take, before you start Errin. 

Treatment Options

Errin vs Norethindrone

Errin is a brand name for the generic medication, norethindrone. Both work in the same way and contain the same active ingredient. 

Alternatives to Errin

Errin is a progesterone-only form of birth control and is suited to women who are sensitive to estrogens, have a health condition that contradicts estrogen supplements, or are taking medication that may interact with estrogen. However, there are many different types of hormonal contraceptives and it is not uncommon to try a few before finding one that is right for you. Different combined contraceptives (which have both estrogen and progesterone) contain different synthetic forms of the hormones, and you may be more sensitive to some types than others. Alternatively, you can try a low-estrogen contraceptive, which contains a lower dose of estrogen but still allows for a monthly withdrawal bleed.

If you struggle to remember to take your pill each day, or prefer not to swallow tablets, a non-oral form of hormonal contraceptive might be better suited to you. Non-oral hormonal contraceptives include implants (Implanon, Nexplanon), injections (Depo-Provera), and intrauterine devices (IUD, such as Mirena, ParaGard, Skyla, Liletta, Kyleena). The IUD acts locally on the reproductive organs and therefore tends to have fewer side effects and is particularly suited to women who have a history of contradictory health conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension.

If you’d rather avoid hormonal contraceptives altogether, you will need to rely on barrier methods of contraception such as the cervical cap (FemCap), and male and female condoms. For more information and advice on which method might be best for you, speak to your doctor or health worker.

It is worth noting that male condoms are the only form of contraception to offer partial protection against STIs.  

Q&A

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. You and your physician will determine if and how you should take any medication prescribed to you following a medical consultation.

  1. WebMD, ‘Errin’, [website], https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-64644/errin-oral/details [accessed 20 June 2019]
  2. DailyMed, ‘Errin’, [website], https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/fda/fdaDrugXsl.cfm?setid=32e6366a-8bb4-4b67-b4a3-e372c7696fa7&type=display [accessed 20 June 2019]
  3. Drugs.com, ‘Errin Drug Interactions’, [website], 3 June 2019 https://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/norethindrone,errin.html [accessed 20 June 2019]

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