Dronabinol (Oral)

Dronabinol belongs to a class of medications called cannabinoids, creating a sense of euphoria in the brain, easing nausea and vomiting in addition to stimulating appetites.

Overview

Dronabinol treats patients experiencing uncomfortable side effects of nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite associated with cancer chemotherapy or immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This medicine is successful when other medicines fail.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved this medicine for AIDS and chemotherapy patients. Don't confuse this medication with marijuana (illegal or recreational products) as a proven or accepted medical application. FDA recognizes the clinical benefits of this dronabinol for treating medical induced side effects, along with the potential abuse and methodical addiction.

Dronabinol is a fabricated drug with similar characteristics of natural marijuana. The chemical compounds in this form of medication have its effects precautions are listed when taking this medication. If you have allergies be aware, this medicine has cannabinoid and sesame oil in it you may experience adverse reactions. Talk with your doctor before starting treatment.

  • Introduction or changes to this drug can cause changes in blood pressure.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol with dronabinol.
  • If you have heart problems DO NOT take this medicine.
  • DO NOT smoke or use other forms of cannabis when taking this prescription.
  • DO NOT eat or drink grapefruit while taking this medication.
  • This medicine is not approved for children.

Read the product information and use this medicine as instructed to prevent serious injury or further harm to your health. Tell your doctor if the condition or effects worsen.

Conditions Treated

  • Gastrointestinal nausea and vomiting
  • Digestive loss of appetite

Type Of Medicine

Cannabinoids

Side Effects

We all need help with medications to prevent or treat a health condition. Sometimes, introducing medications into our daily routines can cause minor to serious side effects. Dronabinol offers benefits of easing certain side effects when undergoing medical treatments, therapy or dealing with fatal health disorders. There are situations where the effects are linked to an existing health condition or your own intolerance to a chemical substance in the medicine.

If you have known allergies, before starting this treatment, you need to talk to your doctor. If you suffer from kidney, liver or heart disease this drug may have serious reactions for you. If you have a history of seizures, mental health or substance abuse it's critical that your doctor knows about your past and current medical incidents to prevent harmful effects.

Your doctor will tell you what side effects are more prevalent with your disorder (s) most individuals experience some of these listed, but not all. You may experience a side effect not listed, be sure to tell your doctor if the effect persists or reaches a level of discomfort beyond your tolerance. There are methods to help prevent or relieve the effects. The severity of each effect will vary from person to person depending on your health, the current phase of your disorder and age.

Most Common

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Elevated mood
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Some side effects do not need medical attention, in most cases, the effects fade during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Your health care professional or doctor will tell you about ways to prevent or reduce the side effects you're experiencing. It is important to keep your doctor updated on how you feel, if any of the following side effects continue. Talk with your doctor or the healthcare professionals - they can't help if they don't know. If you have questions about the effects ask for information.

It's essential to tell your doctor about the severity and persistence of side effects throughout treatment. The changes may be signs of underlying conditions may prompt an unexpected reaction. Since everyone is unique, your doctor will watch for changes to gather more information about your probable response and the duration of side effects.

Least Common

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Flushing of the face
  • Hallucinations
  • Headaches
  • Memory loss
  • Restlessness
  • Stomach pain
  • Tiredness
  • Vision problems
  • Weakness

In all health cases, current disorders, diet regimes that include certain foods, health supplements, and herbal remedies can trigger a side effect. Lifestyle choices about alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs and other medications will instigate more serious and fatal side effects.

There are situations where this medicine should not be used. If you have allergies, you may have a dangerous allergic response to dronabinol. If you are receiving treatment for other health conditions, talk to your doctor to avoid unwanted adverse reactions.

Rare, but they can happen

  • Itching eyes
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Facial swelling
  • Hearing loss
  • Hives or rash
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Sinus problems

Because this medicine will change your mood and may disrupt your concentration abilities DO NOT drive or operate machinery that could be dangerous. Once your doctor completes your health evaluation your response to this medication will be monitored to make sure this drug works best for you.

Precautions

This medicine can be habit-forming DO NOT use more than your prescribed dose. If you have a substance disorder, this drug may put you at a higher risk for more serious side effects. If you recognize unusual effects while taking this medicine contact your doctor. If you have other medical or health treatments scheduled, be sure to tell the doctor and the attending physicians that you are taking this drug before proceeding with treatment.

Under certain circumstances, you may need to stop using this medicine for several days before having surgery or medical tests. Before you stop taking this medicine, talk with your doctors stopping can prompt withdrawal symptoms leading to side effects similar to an overdose.

Dosage

Dronabinol should be taken as directed by your doctor. DO NOT take more or less than the prescribed dosageĀ  exceeding the limit can trigger an overdose reaction. DO NOT extend the duration of taking this medicine without the approval of your doctor.

Doses vary from person to person make sure you understand your doctor's instructions for taking this medicine. The doses listed are averages, based on your medical condition and response to treatment. This medication is available in capsule or liquid form - both are taken orally.

General populations start at 5 milligrams (mg. Elderly patients will start at the lowest dose due to existing health conditions and susceptibility of falling, cardiac functions and increased sensitivity to drug therapy. The doctor will prescribe pediatric doses fitting to the patient's age, condition and response to treatment.

For Chemotherapy - nausea or vomiting (antiemetic)

Adult and Adolescents

  • 5 mg is taken 1 to 3 hours before scheduled chemotherapy.
  • Followed with 5 mg every 2 to 4 hours after therapy
  • Maximum NOT TO EXCEED limit of 4 to 6 doses daily.
  • Depending on an individual's response, dosage may increase in 2.5 mg increments during chemotherapy cycles.

Elderly Adults

  • 2.5 mg is taken 1 to 3 hours before scheduled chemotherapy.
  • Followed with 2.5 mg every 2 to 4 hours after therapy
  • Dosage may increase depending on response and tolerance to this medicine.

ChildrenĀ  your doctor will decide the dosage.

For Appetite Stimulation

Adult and Adolescents

  • 2.5 milligrams (mg) before lunch and 2.5 mg before dinner.
  • Depending on the severity of illness, symptoms may occur and will fade in 1 to 3 days.
  • If symptoms persist, your doctor may reduce the frequency to 2.5 mg before dinner only.
  • If the effects persist with no adverse reactions your doctor may increase the dose to 5 mg, twice a day.

Elderly Adults

  • 2.5 mg is taken once a day to increase appetite, before dinner.
  • Depending on your response, the doctor may increase the dose or frequency.

Children: your doctor will decide the dosage.

Follow the product instructions exactly. If you are taking the solution form, use the medicine spoon provided for measuring the doses.

  • Swallow the capsules whole: DO NOT chew or crush them.
  • When taking the solution form of dronabinol, be sure to drink a full glass of water after each dose.
  • Carefully measure the dose using a special measuring spoon. DO NOT use a household spoon measurements are not the same.
  • DO NOT share your medicine with anyone, even if they are treated for the same condition.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose take it as soon as possible. If you are scheduled for chemotherapy, you may want to contact your doctor. The time difference between taking the medication and your treatment may not be sufficient to prevent the side effects from happening.

If the missed dose is a follow-up dose and it's almost time to take the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your schedule doses. DO NOT double doses it will instigate a serious side effect.

Overdose

If an accidental overdose happens, you may experience one of these side effects - contact your doctor at once. If a child is involved in an overdose - contact your doctor and the local poison control center for specific pediatric treatment immediately.

  • Chills
  • Drowsiness
  • Fever
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of memory
  • Panic reaction
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Seizures
  • Slurred speech

Interactions

In some circumstances, particular medicines work well together to manage the condition. Your doctor may adjust the doses of two different drugs to treat both conditions for the health of the individual. There are other situations where two different medicines interact with each other and cause serious effects. Your doctor may change the frequency or time of administering to reduce or prevent the reactions.

There are health situations where using multiple medications is necessary and doctors are concerned with the interactions changing the results and increasing risks. If you look at the names on this list, some share similarities - a sign they also share similar compounds that interact with other drugs or change the outcome of treatment due to the chemical quantities.

Your doctor will decide how to treat you if you are taking any of these medications. It may be necessary to change some of the medicines. If you are taking, any of these medicines listed or others that may affect your response to this medicine tell your doctor. There are other medications not listed that are known to interact with this medicine. To be sure, this medicine is safe for you; your doctor will check the medications you are taking now.

  • Amphetamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Atropine
  • Barbiturates
  • Belladonna
  • Buspirone
  • Clidinium
  • Cocaine
  • Dicyclomine
  • Disulfiram
  • Glycopyrrolate
  • Hyoscyamine
  • Lithium
  • Marijuana
  • Mepenzolate
  • Methantheline
  • Metronidazole
  • Over-the-counter weight loss aids
  • Propantheline
  • Sedatives
  • Theophylline

Prevailing health conditions can affect your response to this medicine or instigate another more serious condition. If you are treated for these disorders, talk with your doctor. Your doctor may decide not to prescribe this medicine. You need to understand the risks to your existing illness.

Other Drug Interactions

Besides different medicines, foods can trigger interactions with medicines. Be sure to read the package instructions or ask your doctor, some medications should be taken on an empty stomach or specific intervals between meals and scheduled dose when taking more than one.

Alcohol or tobacco may increase the side effects, causing severe interactions with this medication. Alcohol like other central nervous system depressants will cause drowsiness.

If you take over-the-counter medicines, they will affect your response to treatment. It's best not to take other medicines without talking with your doctor first. If you have a dentist appointment or a scheduled surgery tell your doctors, you are taking this medicine to prevent adverse reactions.

Warnings

Public health warnings are based on the drug's benefits, outweighing the risks for the condition and the drug treating the majority population. When deciding to use this medicine, you need to understand the risks and the benefits associated with the drug and the potential effects on your own health before starting treatment.

  • Consequently, its effects on blood pressure are inconsistent between increases and decreases, randomly causing lightheadedness when standing quickly. In most cases, sitting down for a few minutes alleviates the change in blood pressure.
  • Dronabinol effectiveness of boosting appetites, cognition and memory appear to be dose-related and individual responses to the medicine.
  • After administration, appetite stimulant effects continue for 24 hours or longer.
  • Chronic use will develop in some individuals a tolerance of dronabinol and other cannabinoids affecting moods with no effect on appetite stimulation.

It's difficult to predict how your body will respond to any medication. Many factors affect the dose of medication an individual needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and medications for present health conditions. If your doctor has recommended a different dose, method or frequency, do not change how you take this medication without talking to your doctor.

  • It is important to see your doctor and report changes or any unwanted effects throughout treatment.

Pregnancy

FDA assigned pregnancy category C this medication could be harmful to the fetus. Animal studies report adverse effects in developing fetuses. There are no controlled studies in humans, but based on the information precautions are recommended when using this drug.

Dronabinol is reportedly passed to the nursing infant. You need to talk to your doctor if you are breastfeeding. There may be unwanted and harmful effects to your baby. If you become pregnant while taking this medication contact your doctor immediately.

Geriatric

Studies do not show differences in response between this group population and younger patients. The distinction for the population is a matter of age and the body's natural process of maturing, increasing its vulnerability to specific health disorders like liver (hepatic) or kidney (renal) functions.

  • Older adults are more sensitive to the side effects of dronabinol.

Pediatrics

Treatment of chemotherapy effects between this group and adults appears similar for nausea and vomiting. FDA and health professionals have put emphasis on precautions when considering dronabinol as treatment. The health concern is due to the chemical substance effect changing how the brain functions (psychoactive).

  • There are insufficient studies for this age group undergoing chemotherapy treatment or effects related to AIDS and this medicine.
  • Patients under the age of 18 should not use dronabinol.

Storage

Keep this medication out of reach of children and pets accidental doses can have fatal effects.

  • Capsules should be stored in a cool place between 46 to 59 Fahrenheit.
  • Unopened solutions need to be stored in the refrigerator. After opening, store it at room temperature for up to 28 days.
  • DO NOT freeze either form of dronabinol.

Unused portions or outdated medicines need to be disposed of through medicine take-back-programs. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you with disposal.

  • DO NOT discard this medicine by flushing or in the household trash

Summary

Dronabinol has been effective for treatment in soothing the side effects of chemotherapy in most patients. It's proven to an efficient method of management in preventing drug abuse and addiction to drugs sharing characteristics of controlled substances. As a stimulate for the loss of appetite associated with treating patients with AIDS, the chances of developing a dependency to this drug increase without the supervision of your doctor.

Although this manufactured product does not contain all the natural compounds found in marijuana the ability to control the effects with lower doses and monitor an increased dosage as needed without harmful interactions suggest the benefits outweigh the risks.