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Cesamet Side Effects

Generic Name: nabilone

Note: This page contains information about the side effects of nabilone. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name Cesamet.

In Summary

Common side effects of Cesamet include: ataxia, drowsiness, euphoria, vertigo, lack of concentration, and xerostomia. Other side effects include: dysphoria, and headache. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to nabilone: oral capsule

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by nabilone (the active ingredient contained in Cesamet). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Severity: Moderate

If any of the following side effects occur while taking nabilone, check with your doctor or nurse as soon as possible:

  • Changes in mood
  • confusion
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • delusions
  • dizziness or fainting
  • fast or pounding heartbeat
  • hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there)
  • mental depression
  • nervousness or anxiety
  • unusual tiredness or weakness (severe)
Symptoms of overdose:
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there)
  • mental changes (severe)
  • nervousness or anxiety (severe)

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with nabilone may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common:
  • Clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • drowsiness
  • dryness of mouth
  • false sense of well-being
  • headache
Less common or rare:
  • Blurred vision or any changes in vision
  • dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when getting up from a lying or sitting position—more common with high doses
  • loss of appetite

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to nabilone: oral capsule

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Drowsiness (up to 66%), vertigo/dizziness (up to 59%), ataxia (up to 14%), concentration difficulties (up to 12%)
Common (1% to 10%): Headache, sedation
Frequency not reported: Syncope, cerebral vascular accident, equilibrium dysfunction, paresthesia, tremor, memory disturbance, perception disturbance, convulsions, dystonia, numbness, akathisia, speech disorder, hyperactivity, lightheadedness, coordination disturbance, taste change, nervousness, unconsciousness, hypotonia
Postmarketing reports: CNS depression, CNS stimulation, stupor[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Euphoria (up to 38%), depression (up to 14%), sleep disturbance (up to 11%)
Common (1% to 10%): Dysphoria, disorientation, depersonalization syndrome
Frequency not reported: Hallucinations, confusion, anxiety, abnormal dreams, insomnia, mood swings, inebriated feeling, psychosis, paranoia, apathy, thought disorder, withdrawal, panic disorder, phobic neurosis, emotional disorder
Postmarketing reports: Emotional lability[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Dry mouth (up to 36%)
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Nausea
Frequency not reported: Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, aphthous ulcer, mouth irritation, gastritis, dyspepsia, thick tongue[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Visual disturbance (up to 13%)
Frequency not reported: Eye irritation, eye dryness, eye disorder, amblyopia, eye swelling, eyelid disease, pupil dilation, photophobia, visual field defect[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Hypotension
Frequency not reported: Orthostatic hypotension, tachycardia, palpitation, hypertension, arrhythmia, elevated supine and standing heart rates[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Asthenia
Frequency not reported: Ear tightness, tinnitus, flushing, hot flashes, bacterial infection, unspecified pain, chest pain, fatigue, chills, malaise, irritability, fever, inhibited walking, face edema, lack of effect[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Anemia
Postmarketing reports: Leukopenia[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Muscle pain, back pain, neck pain, joint pain, twitches[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Increased urination, decreased urination, urinary retention, micturition frequency, impaired urination[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Anorexia, increased appetite
Frequency not reported: Thirst[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Dyspnea, pharyngitis, nasal congestion, sinus headache, dry throat, dry nose, sneezing, nosebleed, cough, voice change[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Anhidrosis, photosensitivity, pruritus, rash, allergic reactions, excessive sweating[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Cesamet (nabilone)." Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Costa Mesa, CA.

Not all side effects for Cesamet may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

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