Marinol Dosage, forms & strengths
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Marinol (dronabinol) is an antiemetic medication that is manufactured by AbbVie Inc. It is a synthetic form of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) that is FDA-approved to treat AIDS-related anorexia and weight loss in adults as well as nausea and vomiting in pediatric and adult patients taking chemotherapy. Marinol is typically taken by cancer patients who have failed other antiemetics. Dronabinol is available as a capsule under the brand name Marinol and as an oral solution under the brand name Syndros.
How does Marinol work?
Dronabinol is a synthetic form of THC (delta-9-THC), which is 1 of over 100 cannabinoids found in marijuana (cannabis sativa). Dronabinol binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and can produce the euphoric high associated with the marijuana plant. They affect areas of the brain that regulate hunger as well as nausea and vomiting.
Marinol dosage forms and strengths
- 2.5mg capsules
- 5mg capsules
- 10mg capsules
- AIDS-related anorexia (loss of appetite) and weight loss: The recommended starting oral dose is Marinol 2.5mg twice a day, 1 hour before lunch and dinner. Elderly patients and patients who don’t tolerate this dose should be started at 2.5mg once a day 1 hour before dinner or at bedtime to reduce the incidence of CNS symptoms. Your doctor can titrate your dose up to 10mg twice a day.
- Chemotherapy-induced nausea/vomiting: The recommended starting oral dose is Marinol 5mg/m² given 1 to 3 hours before chemotherapy and then every 2 to 4 hours after treatment. You can take up to 6 doses of Marinol per day. In elderly patients, the starting dose should be 2.5mg/m² once a day, 1 to 3 hours before chemotherapy. Your dose may be titrated up to 15 mg/m² per dose for 4 to 6 doses per day.
Pediatric and adolescent dosage
Chemotherapy-induced nausea/vomiting: The recommended starting oral dose is Marinol 5mg/m² given 1 to 3 hours before chemotherapy and then every 2 to 4 hours after chemotherapy for up to 6 doses per day. The dose may be increased in 2.5 mg/m² increments to a maximum dose of 15mg/m² for up to 6 doses per day.
Marinol dosage restrictions
- There are no studies available on the use of Marinol in patients with hepatic (liver) impairment. Because it is metabolized in the liver, patients with liver impairment may be at an increased risk of adverse effects.
- There are no studies available on the use of Marinol in patients with renal (kidney) impairment. No dose adjustment or discontinuation appears to be needed in patients with kidney impairment.
How to take Marinol
- Read the Full Prescribing Information, Drug Information, and Medication Guide that comes with this medication.
- Take this medication exactly like your healthcare provider tells you. Do not change your dose or stop taking Marinol without talking with them. Suddenly stopping Marinol can cause withdrawal symptoms and other adverse effects.
- Your dose of Marinol may be reduced if you are having central nervous system (CNS) side effects.
- Your first dose should be taken on an empty stomach at least 30 minutes before eating. After taking your first dose of Marinol, you can take it with or without food but should take it the same way every time.
- If you take too much Marinol, call your Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 right away.
- Store Marinol capsules in the refrigerator or at cool room temperature between 46°F to 59°F (8°C to 15°C), away from moisture and heat.
Marinol dosage FAQs
What are some side effects of Marinol?
Some common adverse reactions to Marinol seen in clinical trials include:
- Stomach pain
Marinol can sometimes cause more serious adverse events, including:
- Serious allergic reactions (hives, swelling of the face or throat, and shortness of breath)
- Tachycardia (fast heart rate)
- Mood changes
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Worsening nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
Contact your healthcare professional for medical advice about any side effects you experience while taking Marinol. You can report your side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
What are some drug interactions with Marinol?
The use of Marinol with other medications may change the way it works or increase the frequency and severity of side effects. Make sure your doctor is aware of all the prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you take, including:
- Opioids, benzodiazepines, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, barbiturates, other sedatives, or CNS depressants
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Atropine, scopolamine, or other anticholinergic medications
Are there any contraindications or precautions with Marinol?
You should not take Marinol if you have an allergy to the active ingredient dronabinol or any inactive ingredients in its formulation such as sesame oil. You should use this medication with caution if you have heart disease, seizures, a history of substance abuse, schizophrenia, depression, are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
Is it safe to use Marinol while pregnant or breastfeeding?
Marinol is synthetic THC and should not be used if you are pregnant as it may cause adverse effects on the fetus. Marinol is found in human breast milk. If you have HIV, you should not breastfeed while taking this medication. If you are taking cancer chemotherapy, you should not breastfeed while taking Marinol and for at least 9 days after your last dose. You should always discuss the risks and benefits of any medication with your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
What is the average price of Marinol?
The average cost of #20, 2.5mg dronabinol capsules is around $130. You may save on brand-name medications such as Marinol if you are eligible for assistance from NiceRx.
How long does it take for Marinol to increase appetite?
After taking Marinol, it will typically take 30 minutes to an hour to start working and its full effects will be felt in 2 to 4 hours. The appetite-stimulant effect of dronabinol may last for 24 hours or longer after taking this medication.
Is Marinol a controlled substance?
Yes, Marinol is considered a Schedule III controlled substance in the United States.
What is the Marinol dosage for chronic pain?
While Marinol is not indicated for use in chronic pain patients, there have been studies that looked at its analgesic effects as an add-on therapy for this condition. According to this study, patients were given between 10mg and 20mg of Marinol per day. Both doses were found to decrease pain intensity and no differences in benefit were found between the 2 doses.
The use of dronabinol has also had some promising results in the treatment of neuropathic pain symptoms that were associated with multiple sclerosis.
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