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 in 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?
Each No. 4 hard gelatin capsule, with opaque green cap and white body, imprinted "NB" on the cap and "0.25" on the body, contains nabilone 0.25 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: D&C Yellow No. 10, FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Red No. 40, gelatin, pregelatinized starch, povidone, and titanium dioxide.
Each No. 4 hard gelatin capsule, with opaque red cap and white body, imprinted "NB" on the cap and "0.5" on the body, contains nabilone 0.5 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: D&C Red No. 33, D&C Yellow No. 10, FD&C Red No. 40, gelatin, pregelatinized starch, povidone, and titanium dioxide.
Each No. 2 hard gelatin capsule, with opaque blue cap and white body, imprinted "NB" on the cap and "1" on the body, contains nabilone 1 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: FD&C Blue No. 2, gelatin, pre-gelatinized starch, povidone, red iron oxide, and titanium dioxide.
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.
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 the age of 18 years
- 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.
- blurred vision or any changes in vision
- 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:
- changes in mood (including a false sense of well-being)
- convulsions (seizures)
- dizziness or fainting
- fast or pounding heartbeat
- nervousness or anxiety
- sensation disturbance (unusual sensations or changes in sensations)
- unusual tiredness or weakness (severe)
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.
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.
Emotional disorders: Nabilone should be used with extreme caution if you have non-psychotic emotional disorders, and not at all by people with psychotic emotional disorders.
Liver function: Nabilone should be used with extreme caution if you have severe reduction in liver function.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Nabilone should not be used by pregnant women or breast-feeding mothers since its safety for use under these circumstances has not been established.
Children: The safety of nabilone has not been established for use by children and should not be used by this age group.
Seniors: 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, lisdexamphetamine)
- 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)
- decongestants (e.g., phenylephrine, oxymetazoline, pseudoephedrine)
- muscle relaxants (e.g., cyclobenzaprine, methocarbamol, orphenadrine)
- narcotics (e.g., morphine, codeine)
- sedatives (any medications that cause drowsiness)
- seizure medications (e.g., carbamazepine, clobazam, ethosuximide, felbamate, 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.