Generic Name: dronabinol (droe NAH bih nol)
Brand Name: Marinol, Syndros
What is dronabinol?
Dronabinol is a man-made form of cannabis (also known as marijuana).
Dronabinol is used to treat loss of appetite that causes weight loss in people with AIDS.
Dronabinol is also used to treat severe nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. Dronabinol is usually given after medicines to control nausea and vomiting have been tried without success.
Dronabinol may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Dronabinol may cause new or worsening psychosis (unusual thoughts or behavior), especially if you have ever had depression or mental illness.
You should not use dronabinol capsules if you are allergic to sesame oil. You should not use dronabinol oral solution if you have had an allergic reaction to alcohol or if you also use disulfiram (Antabuse) or metronidazole (Flagyl).
Dronabinol can raise or lower blood pressure, especially in older adults or in people with heart problems.
Call your doctor at once if you have new or worsening mood symptoms, changes in behavior, headaches, vision problems, rapid heartbeats, or severe dizziness.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use dronabinol if you are allergic to it.
You should not take dronabinol capsules if you are allergic to sesame oil.
Dronabinol oral solution (liquid medicine) contains alcohol. You should not take dronabinol liquid if you have ever had an allergic reaction to alcohol or if you also use disulfiram (Antabuse) or metronidazole (Flagyl). Do not take dronabinol liquid within 14 days after or 7 days before using disulfiram or metronidazole.
To make sure dronabinol is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
an allergy to any medication;
epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
heart problems, high or low blood pressure, fainting spells, fast heartbeats;
alcoholism or drug addiction; or
depression, mental illness, or psychosis.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of dronabinol.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
HIV can be passed to your baby if you are not properly treated during pregnancy. If you have HIV or AIDS, take all of your medicines as directed to control your infection.
Dronabinol can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine, and for at least 9 days after your last dose.
Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast feed a baby. Even if your baby is born without HIV, the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast milk.
Dronabinol is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
How should I take dronabinol?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Dronabinol may be habit-forming. Never share dronabinol with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it. Tell your doctor if you feel an increased urge to take more or higher doses of dronabinol than prescribed.
Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
To stimulate appetite in people with AIDS, dronabinol is usually taken 1 hour before lunch and 1 hour before dinner.
To prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy:
Take your first dose on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes before eating.
After your first dose, you may take dronabinol with or without food but take it the same way each time.
Dronabinol is usually given 1 to 3 hours before your chemotherapy treatment, and then every 2 to 4 hours (up to 6 doses per day).
Older adults may need to take this medicine less often. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.
Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Take the liquid medicine with a full glass of water.
Dronabinol may be only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes a special diet. Follow the diet plan created for you by your doctor or nutrition counselor. Get familiar with the list of foods you should eat to help boost your food intake.
Do not crush, chew, break, or open a dronabinol capsule. Swallow it whole.
Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while using dronabinol.
Do not stop using dronabinol suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when you stop using dronabinol.
Store the capsules or unopened liquid medicine in a tightly-closed container in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
You may also store the capsules at cool room temperature, away from moisture and heat. After opening the liquid medicine, store it at room temperature. Throw away any unused liquid 28 days after opening the bottle.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include changes in mood, memory problems, little or no urinating, constipation, loss of energy, problems with speech or coordination, or feeling light-headed.
What should I avoid while taking dronabinol?
Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how dronabinol will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.
Do not use marijuana while taking dronabinol.
Do not drink alcohol while taking dronabinol.
Dronabinol side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, skin rash or burning; mouth sores; warmth, redness, or tingly feeling; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
fast or pounding heartbeats;
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
confusion, trouble sleeping, problems with memory or concentration;
unusual changes in mood or behavior;
restlessness, feeling nervous or irritable;
slurred speech, drowsiness;
severe or ongoing nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain; or
increased blood pressure--severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears, anxiety, nosebleed.
Common side effects may include:
dizziness, drowsiness, thinking problems;
unusual thoughts or fears;
feelings of extreme happiness; or
nausea, vomiting, stomach pain.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect dronabinol?
Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medications at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you take, which may increase side effects or make the medications less effective.
Taking dronabinol with other drugs that make you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before taking a sleeping pill, narcotic medication, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Other drugs may interact with dronabinol, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Editorial References and Review
Medically reviewed by USARx EDITORIAL TEAM Last updated on 1/1/2020.
Source: Drugs.com Dronabinol (www.drugs.com/mtm/dronabinol.html).