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Dronabinol (By mouth)

Dronabinol (droe-NAB-i-nol)

Treats or prevents nausea and vomiting caused by cancer medicines, when other medicines did not work. Also used to increase appetite in patients with AIDS.

Brand Name(s):

Marinol, Syndros

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to dronabinol (tetrahydrocannabinol), marijuana products, sesame oil, or alcohol, or if you are pregnant.

How to Use This Medicine:

Capsule, Liquid Filled Capsule, Liquid

  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • Capsule: Swallow whole. Do not crush, break, or chew it.
  • Oral liquid:
    • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
    • Take each dose with a full glass of water.
    • If you are taking this medicine for increasing appetite: Take this medicine 1 hour before lunch and 1 hour before dinner. For elderly patients, take this medicine 1 hour before dinner or at bedtime.
    • If you are taking this medicine for treatment of nausea and vomiting caused by cancer medicines: Take the first dose on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes before a meal. After your first dose, you can take it with or without food.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Missed dose: Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
    • Capsule: Store medicine in its original container in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
    • Oral liquid: Store the unopened medicine in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. You may keep the opened bottle at room temperature. Throw away any unused medicine 28 days after opening the bottle.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not use this medicine if you are also using disulfiram or metronidazole within the past 14 days. Do not use disulfiram or metronidazole within 7 days after treatment with dronabinol.
  • Some foods and medicines can affect how dronabinol works. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • Amiodarone, amoxapine, amphetamine, amphotericin B, atropine, buspirone, clarithromycin, cyclosporine, erythromycin, fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, lithium, phenobarbital, ritonavir, scopolamine, warfarin
    • Medicine to treat depression (including amitriptyline, desipramine)
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.
  • Tell your doctor if you use anything else that makes you sleepy. Some examples are allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, and alcohol.
  • Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • It is not safe to take this medicine during pregnancy. It could harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
  • Do not breastfeed. You can spread HIV or AIDS to your baby through your breast milk.
  • Do not breastfeed while taking this medicine and for 9 days after your last dose, if you are being treated for nausea and vomiting caused by cancer medicines.
  • Tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, drug or alcohol abuse problems, or a history of seizures or mental health problems (including depression, mania, or schizophrenia).
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Change in mood or behavior
    • High or low blood pressure
    • Seizures
  • This medicine may cause some people to become drowsy, dizzy, lightheaded, or to feel a false sense of well-being. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you. Standing up slowly from a sitting or lying position can lessen the chance of getting dizzy.
  • Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.
  • This medicine can be habit-forming. Do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor if you think your medicine is not working.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using this medicine several days before you have surgery or medical tests.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Fast or slow, pounding, or uneven heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Seizures
  • Unusual changes in mood or behavior, feeling depressed

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Drowsiness, confusion
  • New or worsening nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain
  • Problems with memory, trouble thinking clearly

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 2/4/2020

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