How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Nabilone is chemically related to marijuana and belongs to the class of medications called cannabinoids. It is used to treat severe nausea and vomiting for people undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment. It works on centres in the brain to reduce nausea and cause sedation.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Ran-Nabilone is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada. For brands that may still be available, search under nabilone. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.
How should I use this medication?
The usual adult dose of nabilone is 1 mg or 2 mg twice a day. The first dose is usually taken the night before the start of chemotherapy and the second dose is taken 1 to 3 hours before chemotherapy. Nabilone treatment may continue up to 24 hours after chemotherapy treatment. The maximum recommended daily dose is 6 mg in divided doses.
Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, in its original container. Keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take this medication if you:
- are allergic to nabilone or any ingredients of this medication
- are allergic to marijuana or other cannabinoid agents
- are breastfeeding or pregnant
- are under 18 years old
- have a history of psychotic reactions
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- clumsiness or unsteadiness
- dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when rising from a lying or sitting position (more common with high doses)
- dry mouth
- loss of appetite
- loss of muscular coordination
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- blurred vision or any changes in vision
- changes in mood (including a false sense of well-being)
- depression (e.g., poor concentration, changes in weight, changes in sleep, decreased interest in activities, thoughts of suicide)
- fast or pounding heartbeat
- nervousness or anxiety
- ongoing nausea or vomiting
- sensation disturbance (unusual sensations or changes in sensations)
- sensation of spinning
- sense of being disconnected from thoughts, feelings or memories
- unusual tiredness or weakness (severe)
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- convulsions (seizures)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Alcohol and other medications that cause drowsiness: Do not combine this medication with alcohol or other medications (e.g., antidepressants, sleeping pills, anxiety medications) that cause drowsiness since additional drowsiness can occur and be dangerous.
Blood pressure and heart disease: Nabilone should be used with caution if you have high blood pressure or heart disease.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Since nabilone often reduces the mental or physical abilities needed to perform potentially hazardous tasks, such as driving and operating machinery, you should not drive or engage in dangerous activities until the effects of nabilone are no longer present.
Mental health: Nabilone can contribute to emotional and mental changes, such as anxiety, depression, and feelings of being disconnected from thoughts, feelings, or memories. Mood swings, confusion, and hallucinations are possible.
For people who have psychotic conditions, nabilone can cause psychosis to return, making behavior and thought disturbances worse. This medication is not recommended for people with a history of conditions that trigger psychotic experiences.
Liver function: Nabilone should be used with extreme caution if you have severe reduction in liver function.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if this medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking nabilone, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety of nabilone has not been established for use by children and should not be used by this age group.
Seniors: Seniors may be at increased risk of experiencing side effects of this medication. Nabilone should be used with caution by seniors.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between nabilone and any of the following:
- amphetamines (e.g., dextroamphetamine, lisdexamfetamine)
- antihistamines (e.g., cetirizine, doxylamine, diphenhydramine, hydroxyzine, loratadine)
- antipsychotics (e.g., chlorpromazine, clozapine, haloperidol, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone)
- barbiturates (e.g., secobarbital, phenobarbital)
- benzodiazepines (e.g., diazepam, lorazepam)
- beta-2 agonists (e.g., indacaterol, olodaterol, salbutamol, salmeterol, vilanterol)
- blood-pressure-lowering medications
- chloral hydrate
- decongestants (e.g., phenylephrine, oxymetazoline, pseudoephedrine)
- monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs; e.g., moclobemide, phenelzine, tranylcypromine, selegiline)
- muscle relaxants (e.g., cyclobenzaprine, methocarbamol, orphenadrine)
- narcotics (e.g., morphine, codeine)
- phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors (e.g., sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil)
- sedatives (any medications that cause drowsiness)
- seizure medications (e.g., carbamazepine, clobazam, levetiracetam, phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone, topiramate, valproic acid)
- tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, desipramine)
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2023. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/drug/getdrug/Ran-Nabilone