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All about: Dronabinol

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Generic Name: Dronabinol (droe-NAB-i-nol)
Brand Name: Marinol

Dronabinol is used for:

Treating nausea and vomiting caused by cancer and chemotherapy in certain patients. It is also used to treat loss of appetite resulting in weight loss in patients who have AIDS. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Dronabinol is a cannabinoid. It works by affecting the action of certain chemicals in the brain.

Do NOT use Dronabinol if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Dronabinol , sesame seed oil, or other cannabinoids (eg, marijuana)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Dronabinol :

Some medical conditions may interact with Dronabinol . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of high or low blood pressure, heart problems, liver or kidney problems, or seizures, or if you use marijuana
  • if you or a family member have a history of mental or mood problems (eg, bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia) or alcohol or other substance abuse or dependence

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Dronabinol . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Amphetamines, anticholinergics (eg, atropine, scopolamine), antihistamines (eg, diphenhydramine), cocaine, sympathomimetics (eg, albuterol, pseudoephedrine), or tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline, amoxapine, desipramine) because the risk of high blood pressure, heart problems (eg, fast heartbeat), or severe drowsiness may be increased
  • Barbiturates (eg, phenobarbital), benzodiazepines (eg, diazepam), buspirone, certain narcotic pain medicines (eg, morphine, codeine), lithium, muscle relaxants (eg, cyclobenzaprine), or phenothiazines (eg, chlorpromazine) because the risk of severe drowsiness may be increased
  • Disulfiram, fluoxetine, or naltrexone because the risk of mental or mood changes may be increased
  • Antipyrine because the risk of its side effects may be increased by Dronabinol
  • Theophylline because its effectiveness may be decreased by Dronabinol

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Dronabinol may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Dronabinol :

Use Dronabinol as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take Dronabinol by mouth with or without food. Take Dronabinol before meals if you are using it to increase your appetite.
  • Swallow Dronabinol whole. Do not break, crush, or chew before swallowing.
  • If you miss a dose of Dronabinol , take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Dronabinol .

Important safety information:

  • Dronabinol may cause drowsiness or dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Dronabinol with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks while you are taking Dronabinol .
  • Do not drink alcohol or use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using Dronabinol ; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
  • Dronabinol may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose or use more often than prescribed without checking with your doctor. Do NOT smoke marijuana while using Dronabinol . Doing so may cause symptoms of overdose.
  • Dronabinol may cause mental or mood changes (eg, anxiety, confusion, depression, feeling disoriented or "high"). These effects may be more noticeable when you first start taking Dronabinol or when your dose changes. Make sure you have a responsible adult who can help care for you while you are taking Dronabinol . This is especially important when you first start taking it or when your dose changes. These effects may last for up to 72 hours after you stop taking Dronabinol .
  • Use Dronabinol with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Dronabinol should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 18 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is not known if Dronabinol can cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Dronabinol while you are pregnant. Dronabinol is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Dronabinol .

Some people who use Dronabinol for a long time may develop a need to continue taking it. People who take high doses are also at risk. This is known as DEPENDENCE or addiction. If you stop taking Dronabinol suddenly, you may have WITHDRAWAL symptoms. These may include hiccups, "hot flashes," loose stools, loss of appetite, runny nose, and sweating.

Possible side effects of Dronabinol :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Confusion; decreased coordination; dizziness; drowsiness; elevated or relaxed mood; headache; nausea; stomach pain; trouble concentrating; vomiting; weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); abnormal thinking; behavioral changes; fast or irregular heartbeat; hallucinations; memory problems; mental or mood changes (eg, feelings of anxiety, depression, detachment, panic, paranoia); seizures; severe or persistent dizziness; vision changes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include decreased bowel movements; decreased coordination; difficulty urinating; distorted sense of time; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; fainting; fast heartbeat; lightheadedness; memory changes; mental or mood changes; panic; reddened eyes; seizures; sluggishness; slurred speech.

Proper storage of Dronabinol :

Store Dronabinol in a cool place between 46 and 59 degrees F (8 and 15 degrees C). Dronabinol may also be stored in a refrigerator. DO NOT FREEZE. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Dronabinol out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Dronabinol , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Dronabinol is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Dronabinol . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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