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Anti-Nausea Medicine (Antiemetic)

Brand names:

Marinol®, Syndros®

Other names:

Delta-9 THC, Delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol, Tetrahydrocannabinol, THC

Often used for:

Nausea and vomiting, appetite stimulant

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What is Dronabinol?

Dronabinol is a medicine used to prevent or treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It may also be used to improve appetite to help prevent weight loss.

Dronabinol is a type of medicine called a cannabinoid. It acts on areas of the brain that control nausea, vomiting, and appetite.

Dronabinol may be habit-forming with long-term use. Patients receiving dronabinol may be monitored for changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and mood or behavior.

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May be taken as a capsule by mouth

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May be taken as a liquid by mouth

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Possible Side Effects

  • Dizziness, feeling lightheaded
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Mood changes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Headache
  • Problems with thinking, focus, or memory
  • Confusion, strange thoughts, or hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting

Not all patients who take dronabinol will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • When used for nausea caused by chemotherapy, dronabinol can be given 4-6 times per day: 1-3 hours before chemotherapy and then every 2-4 hours after chemotherapy.
  • When used to increase appetite, dronabinol is usually given 1 hour before lunch and dinner.
  • Patients taking dronabinol to improve appetite may be asked to write down what they eat and keep a record of their weight. A dietician can suggest ways to help meet nutrition goals.
  • Patients should avoid drinking alcohol while on this medicine.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Dronabinol at home:

  • Do not take dronabinol more often or in greater amounts than recommended by your doctor.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive or do anything that could be dangerous until you see how this medicine affects you.
  • Capsules: Swallow capsules whole. Do not open, cut, crush, or chew. Store capsules in a cool place or in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
  • Oral liquid: Use the measuring device that comes with the medicine. Take with a full glass of water. Store unopened bottles in the refrigerator. After opening, keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Throw away unused medicine after 6 weeks.
  • Give a missed dose as soon as possible. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the dose. Do not give 2 doses at the same time.
  • Do not share this medicine with anyone or take for reasons other than prescribed.
  • Do not use the medicine past the expiration date.
  • Follow instructions for safe storage and disposal.