1 What is Marinol?

Generic: Dronabinol

Marinol is the main treatment for nausea and vomiting that may occur after treatment with cancer drugs. It is applied only when other forms of medicines for the management of nausea and vomiting are not working.

It is also used for increasing appetite in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome such as AIDs. This drug is also used only when prescribed by a trained professional and specifically a medical doctor.

2 What to Know Before Using

Your doctor will inform you of what you need to know before using Marinol. Proper decision-making process needs to be involved in evaluating the risk to the benefits of using the medicine for the treating of the patient.

This doctor and the patient must be involved in the process. In making the decision, as a patient, inform your medical doctor if you have any form of allergies to foods, dyes, preservatives, and animals or their products. Nonprescription products require for the labels to be read carefully before they can be used.

On the effects of Dronabinol (Oral Route) on children, no studies have been performed on the relationship between age to the effect of this drug in AIDS-related anorexia loss of appetite. There are no efficacy and safety studies have not been performed for Dronabinol (Oral Route).

However, the findings made from the studies done have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems which can limit the usefulness of use of Dronabinol in children suffering from nausea and vomiting induced by cancer medicines.

Note that this drug has some effects on the functioning of the brain. Hence, it is required that caution must be taken when using this drug. Similarly, there have been no geriatric-specific problems that have been identified that reduce the usefulness of Dronabinol in elderly patients.

It has been shown that elderly patients are more likely to develop dementia or age-related liver, kidney or heart problems. Therefore, there is a need for caution and adjustment in the use of dose for patients receiving Dronabinol.

There are no adequate studies that have been done in pregnant women or animal studies that demonstrate the adverse effect for use of Dronabinol for the oral route.

In addition, there are not many studies done on women to determine the risk of the infants following treatment with Dronabinol (Oral Route) while breastfeeding. The potential benefits of using the drug need to be weighed before taking the risk of using the medicine as for the breastfeeding mothers.

Other medicines may not be used together with Dronabinol drug while in other cases, they may be used even with the high potential for the occurrence of the drug interaction effects.

The doctor may, however, change the doses as appropriate or take other precautions as may be necessary. When using this medicine, inform your medical professional when taking any of the listed drugs.

The effects of the drug interactions are listed on the basis of the potential significance and may not be all inclusive of all the effects that are expressed. It is also not recommended that all the medicines may be approved for use with this Dronabinol.

When the medicines have been prescribed together, the dose may be changed, frequency of use of both medicines or both may also be altered as a way of taking precautions such as in the use of:

  • Dasabuvir 
  • Topotecan

There may be other forms of interactions such as:

  • With Food
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco 
  • With certain types of dyes

Therefore, certain drugs may not be taken around the time of eating food or eating any form of food since this may promote an interaction between the food and drug. Use of alcohol or tobacco may also cause an interaction to occur. Ask your doctor how this drug can be used with alcohol, tobacco or food.

Having medical problems may affect how this medicines can be used. Ask your doctor to inform you whether you have any form of a medical problem such as alcohol abuse or dependence, history of drug abuse or dependence or history of dependence on Dronabinol which may develop.

Bipolar disorders which may appear as manic or depressive states or heart conditions, hypertension (high blood pressure) or sometimes mental illness, seizures and its history are important considerations. It is established that Dronabinol taken orally may make this conditions worse.

3 Proper Usage

To use Marinol properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. Never take more of the drug and do not take the drug more often or longer than the time prescribed by the doctor. When too much of the drug is consumed, it may lead to medical problems because of the overdose.

The dosing varies for different patients. Stick to the doctor’s orders or directions provided with the label on the drugs. If your dose is different from others, stick to the doctor's prescribed dose. The amount of medicine to be taken also depends on the strength of the medicine doses to be taken daily, time recommended between doses and length of the duration for which the medicine needs to be taken.

Oral dosage of Dronabinol is used for increasing the appetite in patients with AIDs for both teenagers and adults. It is recommended that 2.5 milligrams (mg) of the medicines two times a day be taken before lunch and after supper. The dose may be changed depending on your medical condition. However, the dose may not be more than 20 mg per day.

As for the children, the dosage will be determined by your doctor in case of nausea and vomiting caused by the use of cancer medicines. As for adults and teenagers, the dose is based on the body surface area and will be determined by your doctor. Your doctor will inform you of how much of the medicines needs to be taken and when it can be taken.

In the case of missed doses, take the dose as soon as possible. However, when it is almost time for the next dose, skip the dose and go back to the regular dosing schedule. Never double the doses.

The drugs also need to be stored in a refrigerator. Do not freeze. Always keep the medicines out of reach of children. Dispose of all the outdated medicines which are no longer required. Seek for proper information on how the medicines can be disposed.

4 Precautions to Take

In using Marinol, you must be careful and take some precautions as advised by your doctor.

Progress for the condition needs to be checked on regular visits so as to evaluate the effectiveness of your dose and any unwanted effects. Dronabinol is believed to add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants which have an effect of making one drowsy or less alert.

CNS depressants are mainly in the form of:

  • Antihistamines
  • Antiallergics, or cold
  • Sedatives
  • Tranquilizers or sleeping medicines
  • Narcotics
  • Medicines for seizures such as:

         o Barbiturates

         o Muscle relaxants

         o Anesthetics and

         o Dental anesthetics

Always consult with your doctor before using the medicines listed above while on Dronabinol. This medicine makes people become drowsy, dizzy, and lightheaded or even develop a wrong impression of well-being. Always find out how you react to these medicines before you can use machines, or any other things which can be dangerous when dizzy, not alert and clearheaded.

Dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting may occur, when one gets up suddenly from lying or sitting positions. Getting up slowly can reduce the problem. Development of strange thoughts and behaviors while using dronabinol, inform your doctor immediately.

Some of the changes developed in people using dronabinol are similar to those that have taken too much alcohol. In the case of an overdose of Dronabinol, seek medical help immediately. Combining an overdose of Dronabinol or alcohol or any CNS depressants may lead to severe mental effects.

Characteristics of overdose include a change in mood, confusion, hallucinations, mental depressions, nervousness, anxiety and or fast or rapid pounding heartbeat. Never use other medicines unless approved by a medical doctor. This may include the use of prescription or non-prescription, herbal or vitamins supplements.

  • Barbiturates
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Anesthetics and
  • Dental anesthetics

5 Potential Side Effects

Medical attention may be needed in case the side effects occur while taking Marinol. Inform your medical doctor immediately if any of the side effects occur.

This side effects may be presented in the form of:

Seek for emergency help when symptoms of overdose occur such as:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Change in the speed of thinking
  • Change in the smell, taste, sight, touch and sound
  • Constipation
  • Reduced motor coordination
  • Drowsiness
  • dryness of the mouth
  • False sense of well- being
  • Panic
  • Reaction
  • Problems with urination
  • Redness in the eyes
  • Seizures
  • Slurred speech
  • Unusual drowsiness or
  • Dullness

Some of the side effects may occur and may not require medical attention. Instead, they may go away as one proceeds with treatment and the body adjusts to the medicine.

A medical doctor will advise you on how best to reduce some of the side effects. Inform your doctor when the symptoms become more bothersome or you have any questions about the symptoms.

The most common side effects present as:

  • Clumsiness
  • Unsteadiness
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • False sense of well-being
  • Nausea
  • Trouble thinking
  • Vomiting

Less common symptoms will present as:

  • Rare abdominal or stomach pain
  • Flushing of the face
  • Lack of strength
  • Restlessness

Very rare symptoms are:

  • Burning
  • Dry
  • Itching eyes
  • Continuous buzzing or ringing in the ears
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea discharge
  • Excessive tears in the eyes
  • Hearing loss
  • Redness
  • Pain and or swelling in the eyes or eyelid and or inner lining of the eyelid
  • Running nose and stuffy nose

However, other side effects not listed in the symptoms above may present in some of the patients. When other side effects are noticed, check with the healthcare professional.

Inform your doctor for proper medical attention and advice concerning the side effects. The side effects may also be reported directly to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.