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Marinol (Generic Dronabinol)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Marinol is a prescription medication that contains dronabinol, which is a synthetic form of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the active compounds found in cannabis. It is primarily prescribed for two main medical purposes:

  • Nausea and Vomiting Associated with Chemotherapy: Marinol is often prescribed to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy who experience severe nausea and vomiting as side effects of their treatment. It helps to alleviate these symptoms and improve a patient’s ability to tolerate chemotherapy.
  • Appetite Stimulation in AIDS Patients: Marinol is also used to stimulate appetite and promote weight gain in patients with HIV/AIDS who experience loss of appetite and wasting syndrome. It can help increase food intake and improve overall nutritional status in these individuals.

How should this medicine be used?

The dosage and usage instructions for Marinol can vary depending on the individual patient’s condition and their response to the medication. It is essential to follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations carefully. Typically, Marinol is taken orally in the form of capsules, and the dosing schedule may involve taking it either once or twice a day.

To use Marinol effectively:

  • Follow your healthcare provider’s prescribed dosage and administration instructions. Do not alter the dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.
  • Take Marinol with or without food, as directed by your healthcare provider. Some people find that taking it with a meal can help reduce potential side effects, such as dizziness or drowsiness.
  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is close to the time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not double up on doses to make up for a missed one.
  • Do not stop taking Marinol suddenly without consulting your healthcare provider, as this can lead to withdrawal symptoms.
  • Be aware of potential side effects, which can include dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, mood changes, and changes in heart rate. If you experience severe or unusual side effects, contact your healthcare provider.
  • Do not consume alcohol or use other substances that can cause drowsiness or impair your judgment while taking Marinol, as it may increase the risk of side effects.
  • Store Marinol at room temperature, away from moisture and heat.

Always communicate openly with your healthcare provider about any concerns or questions you have regarding your medication, and inform them of any other medications or supplements you are taking to avoid potential interactions. Marinol should only be used under the supervision and guidance of a qualified medical professional.

Other uses for this medicine

Some off-label uses of Marinol may include:

  • Chronic Pain: Marinol may be prescribed to manage chronic pain in certain situations, although its efficacy for this purpose is limited compared to other pain medications.
  • Neuropathic Pain: Some doctors may consider Marinol as a treatment for neuropathic pain conditions, such as diabetic neuropathy.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): In some cases, Marinol may be used to manage symptoms of PTSD, such as anxiety and nightmares.

What special precautions should I follow?

Special Precautions for Marinol:

  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Marinol should be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding only if the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks. Consult with your healthcare provider before using Marinol if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Mental Health: Marinol may affect mood and behavior, potentially causing mood swings, anxiety, or hallucinations in some individuals. If you have a history of mental health issues, discuss this with your healthcare provider before starting Marinol.
  • Substance Abuse: Marinol contains a synthetic form of THC, which is the psychoactive component of cannabis. Individuals with a history of substance abuse, particularly with marijuana, may have a higher risk of misuse or dependence on Marinol.
  • Driving and Operating Machinery: Marinol can cause dizziness and drowsiness, so you should avoid activities that require alertness, such as driving or operating heavy machinery, until you know how the medication affects you.
  • Interaction with Other Medications: Marinol can interact with other medications, potentially leading to increased side effects or reduced effectiveness. Inform your healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, or herbal products you are taking.
  • Individual Tolerance: People may have different responses to Marinol. Some individuals may be more sensitive to its effects, while others may require higher doses to achieve the desired therapeutic effect. Your healthcare provider will adjust your dosage accordingly.
  • Side Effects: Be vigilant for potential side effects and report any unusual or severe reactions to your healthcare provider promptly.

Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and inform them of your complete medical history to ensure the safe and effective use of Marinol or any medication. They can provide guidance on its use based on your specific circumstances.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

There are no specific dietary restrictions associated with Marinol. You can take Marinol with or without food. However, you should be aware of the potential for increased appetite as a side effect of Marinol. If you are using Marinol to stimulate appetite, you may find that it works best when taken shortly before a meal.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget to take a dose of Marinol, follow these general guidelines:

  • If you remember within a few hours of the missed dose: Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Then, continue with your regular dosing schedule.
  • If it is close to the time for your next scheduled dose: Skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not double up on doses to make up for the missed one, as this can increase the risk of side effects.
  • If you are unsure about what to do: If you are unsure about how to handle a missed dose or have questions about your medication schedule, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist for guidance.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Marinol (dronabinol) may cause various side effects. It’s essential to be aware of these potential side effects and discuss them with your healthcare provider. Common side effects of Marinol include:

  • Dizziness: Many people experience dizziness while taking Marinol, especially when starting treatment or when the dose is increased.
  • Drowsiness: Marinol can make you feel drowsy, and this effect may be more pronounced when combined with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants.
  • Euphoria: Some individuals may experience a sense of euphoria or feeling “high” while taking Marinol.
  • Mood Changes: Marinol can cause mood changes, including anxiety, confusion, and hallucinations. If you experience severe mood swings or any concerning psychological symptoms, inform your healthcare provider immediately.
  • Dry Mouth: Dry mouth is a common side effect of Marinol.
  • Increased Heart Rate: Marinol may increase your heart rate, so it should be used cautiously in individuals with heart problems.
  • Blood Pressure Changes: Marinol can affect blood pressure, potentially causing fluctuations.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Ironically, one of the side effects of Marinol is nausea and vomiting, which is similar to what it is used to treat. If this occurs, discuss it with your healthcare provider.
  • Appetite Changes: While Marinol is used to stimulate appetite, some individuals may experience changes in appetite as a side effect.
  • Fatigue: Fatigue or tiredness may occur while taking Marinol.
  • Headache: Headache is another possible side effect.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Marinol may affect your sleep patterns, leading to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Lightheadedness: You may feel lightheaded or unsteady, especially when you stand up quickly.

These are not all the possible side effects of Marinol, and some individuals may experience side effects not listed here. It’s crucial to report any unusual or severe side effects to your healthcare provider.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?


  • Store Marinol at room temperature, away from excessive heat, moisture, and light. Do not refrigerate.
  • Keep the medication in its original container or packaging, tightly sealed, and out of reach of children and pets.


  • Dispose of unused or expired Marinol capsules in a safe and responsible manner. Do not flush them down the toilet or throw them in the trash where they can be easily accessed by others.
  • Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider about local guidelines for medication disposal, as there may be specific programs or drop-off locations in your area for safe disposal.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • If you suspect an overdose of Marinol or experience severe symptoms such as severe dizziness, confusion, hallucinations, rapid heart rate, or difficulty breathing, seek emergency medical attention immediately. Call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • It is essential to inform the medical professionals treating you about the medication you have taken, including the name (Marinol) and dosage.

What other information should I know?

  • Keep all appointments with your healthcare provider for follow-up and monitoring while taking Marinol.
  • Inform your healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, or herbal products you are taking to check for potential interactions.
  • Do not share Marinol with others, even if they have similar symptoms or conditions. It is a prescription medication intended for your specific use.
  • Marinol may impair your ability to perform tasks that require mental alertness, such as driving. Use caution until you are sure how it affects you.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol or other substances that can cause drowsiness or interact with Marinol.
  • Marinol may cause mood changes or anxiety in some individuals. If you experience significant mood disturbances, discuss them with your healthcare provider.
  • If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, consult with your healthcare provider before using Marinol to assess the risks and benefits.
  • Be aware that Marinol may have varying effects on appetite stimulation and nausea control in different individuals. Your healthcare provider will monitor your progress and adjust the dosage as needed.
  • Marinol may have a potential for abuse and dependence, although the risk is generally lower than that of natural cannabis. Follow your healthcare provider’s prescribed dosage and do not misuse or increase the dose without their guidance.

Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and guidelines for the safe and effective use of Marinol. If you have any questions or concerns about the medication, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your healthcare provider or pharmacist. They can provide you with personalized information and support related to your specific medical condition and treatment plan.

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