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dronabinol (Marinol, THC): Side Effects and Dosing

What is dronabinol-oral, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Dronabinol (Marinol) is a man-made compound that
contains cannabinoids found in the
marijuana plant (Cannabis sativa L). Dronabinol contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in standardized concentrations
and does not contain other compounds found in street marijuana that is not
approved by the FDA for medical use. Dronabinol activates cannabinoid receptors causing a wide range of effects in
the brain, including short-term memory loss, euphoria, enhanced sensation, and
increased appetite. It also prevents nausea and vomiting probably by inhibiting
the vomiting center in the brain. Dronabinol was approved by the FDA in May 1985.

What brand names are available for dronabinol-oral?

Marinol, THC

Is dronabinol-oral available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for dronabinol-oral?


What are the side effects of dronabinol-oral?

The most common side effects of dronabinol include

Less common
side effects include

Dronabinol is a controlled substance because
it may be abused.

What is the dosage for dronabinol-oral?

For appetite stimulation in AIDS patients

  • The general recommended starting dose is 2.5 mg by mouth twice daily, before
    lunch and dinner.
  • Patients who are having difficulty tolerating this dosage may
    take 2.5 mg once a day in the evening or at bedtime.
  • In patients who are
    tolerating dronabinol well, the dose may be slowly increased up to a maximum
    dose of 20 mg per day.

For nausea and vomiting

  • 5 mg per meter-squared of body surface (5 mg/m2) should be administered 1-3
    hours before chemotherapy followed by repeated administration every 2 to 4 hours
    after chemotherapy for a total of 4 to 6 doses per day.
  • If needed, the dosage
    may be increased in 2.5 mg/m2 increments to a maximum of 15 mg/m2 per dose.

Which drugs or supplements interact with dronabinol-oral?

Although no drug-drug interactions were identified during clinical trials conducted by the manufacturer, dronabinol should be used cautiously with other medications that are known to interact with cannabinoids.

People taking dronabinol should not drink alcohol, smoke marijuana, take sedatives and hypnotics, or take other medicines that have an effect on the central nervous system. Examples of drugs to avoid include diazepam (Valium), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), alprazolam (Xanax), secobarbital (Seconal), pentobarbital (Nembutal), and phenobarbital.

Is dronabinol-oral safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies evaluating the
use of dronabinol during pregnancy. Dronabinol should only be used during
pregnancy if the potential benefit to the mother justifies the potential risk to
the unborn baby. Dronabinol is classified as FDA pregnancy risk category C.
(Animal studies have shown adverse effects on the fetus, but there are no
adequate studies in humans.)

Dronabinol is not recommended for use during breastfeeding
because it is excreted into human milk and may have harmful effects on the
nursing infant.

What else should I know about dronabinol-oral?

What preparations of dronabinol-oral are available?

Oral capsules: 2.5, 5, and 10 mg

How should I keep dronabinol-oral stored?

Dronabinol capsules should be stored in a cool location between 8 C
and 15 C (46 F and 59 F ) or in the refrigerator. Capsules should not be frozen.


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