This medication is used to relieve severe nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. It is used when other drugs to control nausea and vomiting have not been successful. Nabilone is a man-made drug similar to the natural substances found in marijuana. It is believed to work by decreasing the signals in the brain that lead to nausea and vomiting.
This drug is taken by mouth, usually twice a day or as directed by your doctor. Dosage is based on your response to treatment. The first dose may be taken the night before the chemotherapy treatment. On the day you receive chemotherapy, you should take nabilone 1-3 hours before chemotherapy begins. If required, this drug can be continued until 48 hours after the cancer drug treatment.
Use this medication regularly throughout your treatment cycle to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day. This medication should not be taken on an "as needed" basis.
This medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as irritability, trouble sleeping, sweating, and diarrhea) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. In studies, when nabilone was used for only 5 days for the prevention of nausea and vomiting, this type of withdrawal reaction was not seen. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions right away.
Rarely, abnormal drug-seeking behavior (addiction) is possible with this medication. Do not increase your dose, take it more frequently, or use it for a longer time than prescribed. Properly stop the medication when so directed.
Tell your doctor if your symptoms worsen or do not improve.
Dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, feeling "high", an exaggerated sense of well-being (euphoria), lightheadedness, headache, trouble sleeping, or memory problems may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Some people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these serious side effects occur: fainting, mental/mood changes (e.g., depression, anxiety, panic, paranoia, hallucinations, psychosis), unusual weakness, vision changes.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: fast heartbeat, seizures.
Because nabilone can cause mental, mood, or behavior changes, you should be under the close supervision of a responsible adult or caretaker while you are taking this medication. If you experience any such effects, remain calm and tell your doctor right away. Do not take any more nabilone until after you consult with your doctor.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before taking nabilone, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to marijuana or related products; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, mental/mood conditions (e.g., mania, depression, schizophrenia), personal or family history of regular use/abuse of drugs/alcohol/other substances.
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or affect your judgment. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness and clear thinking until you know how this medication affects you and until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Alcohol can worsen these side effects. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
To reduce dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.
Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially the effects on blood pressure and mental/mood changes.
Caution is advised when using this drug in children because they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially the mental/mood changes.
This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy because of possible unborn baby/infant harm reported with marijuana exposure (nabilone is similar to a substance found in marijuana). Consult your doctor for more details.
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Because other cannabinoids pass into breast milk, breast-feeding while using this medication is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: anticholinergic drugs (e.g., atropine, scopolamine), naltrexone, theophylline.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you take recreational or "street" drugs (e.g., "uppers" such as amphetamines, cocaine) because they may cause serious interactions with this medication.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you also take drugs that cause drowsiness such as: certain antihistamines (e.g., diphenhydramine), anti-seizure drugs (e.g., carbamazepine), barbiturates (e.g., secobarbital), medicine for sleep or anxiety (e.g., alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, narcotic pain relievers (e.g., codeine), psychiatric medicines (e.g., chlorpromazine, risperidone, amitriptyline, trazodone).
Check the labels on all your medicines (e.g., cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness, including alcohol. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: fast heartbeat, severe dizziness, hallucinations, anxiety, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness.
Do not share this medication with others. It is against the law.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Brief storage between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) is permitted. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Information last revised December 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
With WebMD's Medicine Cabinet, you can check interactions with drugs.Go to medicine cabinet