What is Marinol Uses, warnings & interactions
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Marinol (dronabinol) is an antiemetic medication that is manufactured by AbbVie Inc. It was approved in 1985 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an appetite stimulant in AIDs patients and as a treatment for nausea and vomiting in cancer patients that are receiving chemotherapy. Recent studies also showed it is effective in treating patients with chronic pain. Marinol is considered a controlled substance in the United States as it can be habit-forming.
If your doctor has prescribed Marinol to you, you may want to know more about what it is and how it works. Here we’ll explain what Marinol is used for, how it works, its side effects, and more.
What is Marinol used for?
Marinol is indicated to treat:
- Anorexia (loss of appetite) and weight loss in adults with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
- Nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy in adults who have tried and failed other medications. It is also used off-label to treat pediatric and adolescent patients 5 to 17 years of age.
What is the active ingredient in Marinol?
Dronabinol is a synthetic, psychoactive form of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant (cannabis sativa). Dronabinol binds to chemical receptors in the brain and can produce the euphoric high associated with natural marijuana.
What are the most commonly prescribed doses of Marinol?
- 2.5mg capsules
- 5mg capsules
- 10mg capsules
Before taking Marinol
Before taking Marinol, tell your healthcare provider about your medical conditions, including:
- Heart problems including high blood pressure
- History of seizures
- History of substance abuse or dependence
- Schizophrenia, depression, or other mental health problems
- Are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding
How to take Marinol
- Read the Full Prescribing Information, Patient Information, Drug Information, and Medication Guide that comes with Marinol.
- Take Marinol exactly as your healthcare provider prescribes it to you. Do not change your dose or stop taking this medication without discussing it with them first. Stopping this medication suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms and other adverse effects.
- Patients taking Marinol as an appetite stimulant will take it twice a day, 1 hour before lunch and 1 hour before dinner.
- Patients taking Marinol for nausea/vomiting will take it 1 to 3 hours before chemotherapy and then every 2 to 4 hours after treatment for up to 6 doses per day.
- Your dose of Marinol may be decreased if you are having severe central nervous system (CNS) side effects.
- Your first dose of Marinol should be taken on an empty stomach at least 30 minutes before a meal. After your first dose, you can take this medication with or without food but should take it the same way each time.
- If you think you have taken too much Marinol, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.
- Marinol capsules should be stored at cool room temperature or in the refrigerator between 46°F to 59°F (8°C to 15°C), away from moisture and heat.
You should not take Marinol if you have an allergy to dronabinol or any inactive ingredients in this product such as sesame oil.
- This medication can impair your mental and physical abilities. Do not drive or operate dangerous machinery until you know how Marinol affects you.
- Use Marinol with caution if you have heart disease as it can cause changes in your blood pressure and heart rate.
- Marinol can lower the seizure threshold, so it should be used with extreme caution in patients with a history of seizures. This medication should be stopped if seizures occur.
- Marinol should be used with caution in patients with a history of substance abuse and monitored during treatment.
- Sometimes Marinol can cause worsening symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain. Your dose may be reduced or this medication may be discontinued if this happens.
Marinol drug interactions
When Marinol is taken with other medications, it may change the way they work or increase the frequency and severity of side effects. You should ask your doctor if any of the prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you take may interact with this medication, including:
- Opioids, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, barbiturates, and other sedatives
Marinol side effects
Some common side effects of Marinol seen in clinical trials when compared to placebo include:
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Abdominal pain
- A euphoric or “high” feeling
Marinol can sometimes cause more serious side effects, including:
- Severe allergic reactions (hives, swelling of the face or throat, and trouble breathing)
- Fast heartbeat
- Mental or mood changes (hallucinations or paranoia)
- Low or high blood pressure
- Increased risk of seizures
- Severe intoxication (dry mouth, slurred speech, low blood pressure upon standing, and lack of coordination)
- Drug dependence
Contact your healthcare professional for medical advice about any possible side effects you experience while taking Marinol. You can report your adverse reactions to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Your doctor can prescribe other medications if Marinol is not right for you. They will vary by factors such as side effects and cost. Some FDA-approved alternatives to Marinol include:
- Cesamet (nabilone)
- Megace (megestrol)
- Syndros (dronabinol)
- Akynzeo (palonosetron)
- Emend (aprepitant)
Can you take Marinol while you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
Since Marinol is a form of THC, it should be avoided in pregnant women as it may cause harm to your unborn baby. This medication can be found in breast milk. Women with HIV should not breastfeed while taking Marinol. Women taking cancer chemotherapy should not breastfeed while taking this medication and for 9 days after their 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.
Will you have withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking Marinol?
Suddenly stopping Marinol may cause you to experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, insomnia, restlessness, sweating, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Withdrawal is more likely if you have taken Marinol for a long time or in high doses. Talk with your healthcare provider before stopping this medication.
Does Marinol cause a positive drug test?
Because Marinol is a synthetic form of THC, it can show up on a drug test as if you were using recreational or medical marijuana.
Is Marinol a narcotic?
In the United States, Marinol is a Schedule III medication. Although it is not considered to be a narcotic, it still has a risk of physical or mental dependence.
How much does Marinol cost?
Currently, there is a generic Marinol available on the market. The average cost of #30, generic Marinol 2.5mg capsules is around $130. However, you can save on brand-name drugs like Marinol through NiceRx if eligible for assistance.
The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.