Generic Name: dronabinol (droe NAH bih nol)
Brand Names: Marinol

What is Marinol?

Marinol (dronabinol) is a man-made form of cannabis (also known as marijuana).

Marinol is used to treat loss of appetite that causes weight loss in people with AIDS. It is also used to treat severe nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. Marinol is for use only when other medications have been unable to control the nausea and vomiting.

Important information

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Marinol may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. It should never be given to another person, especially someone who has a history of drug addiction or habitual marijuana use. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.

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Avoid using other medicines that affect the central nervous system (such as stimulants, diet pills, cold medicine, pain medication, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression, anxiety, mental illness, or Parkinson's disease). These other drugs can add to the effects of Marinol.

Marinol causes effects that will impair your thinking or reactions. Do not drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert until the effects wear off.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Marinol if you have ever had an allergic reaction to natural or man-made marijuana such as nabilone (Cesamet).

To make sure Marinol is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;

  • high or low blood pressure;

  • heart disease;

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • history of alcoholism or drug addiction;

  • past or present mental illness (depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis); or

  • if you are also using other medicines that can affect your central nervous system, such as a tranquilizer, sleep medicine, or anti-psychotic medications.

Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of this medication.

Marinol may be habit-forming. Never share Marinol 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.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Marinol will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)

Dronabinol can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Marinol is not for use in patients younger than 18 years old.

How should I take Marinol?

Take Marinol exactly as it was prescribed for you. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

To stimulate appetite, Marinol is usually taken before lunch and dinner.

To prevent nausea and vomiting, Marinol is usually given 1 to 3 hours before your chemotherapy treatment, and then every 2 to 4 hours (up to 6 doses total). Follow your doctor's instructions.

Do not crush, chew, break, or open a capsule. Swallow it whole.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while using Marinol.

Do not stop using Marinol suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when you stop using Marinol.

Store the capsules in a tightly-closed container at cool room temperature, away from heat and moisture.

You may store the capsules in the refrigerator, but do not allow them to freeze.

Marinol dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Nausea/Vomiting -- Chemotherapy Induced:

Initial: 5 mg/m2, 1 to 3 hours prior to chemotherapy treatment, then every 2 to 4 hours after chemotherapy for a total of 4 to 6 doses per day.

Usual Adult Dose for Anorexia:

Initial: 2.5 mg orally twice daily, before lunch and supper.

Maximum: 20 mg daily, given in 4 divided doses.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Nausea/Vomiting -- Chemotherapy Induced:

Initial: 5 mg/m2, 1 to 3 hours prior to chemotherapy treatment, then every 2 to 4 hours after chemotherapy for a total of 4 to 6 doses per day.

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 drowsiness, feelings of extreme happiness or sadness, fast heartbeat, memory problems, little or no urinating, constipation, loss of energy, problems with speech or coordination, or fainting.

What should I avoid while taking Marinol?

Marinol may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine will affect you.

Do not smoke marijuana while taking Marinol, or you could overdose.

Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of dronabinol.

Marinol side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Marinol: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using Marinol and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • mood changes, anxiety, panic, paranoia, extreme fear;

  • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not real), nightmares;

  • confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior;

  • problems with speech, ringing in your ears;

  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest; or

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out.

Common Marinol side effects may include:

  • feeling "high";

  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea;

  • weakness;

  • depressed mood;

  • muscle pain;

  • eye redness, vision problems; or

  • flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling).

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.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Marinol?

Taking this medicine with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can worsen these effects. Ask your doctor before taking Marinol with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, 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 each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about Marinol.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Marinol only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.01. Revision Date: 2014-02-04, 9:42:04 PM.

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