Nabilone is used to treat sickness caused by cancer treatments.
If you notice any changes in your mood or behaviour, speak with your doctor as soon as possible for advice.
Side-effects such as feeling sleepy and dizzy are common. They may last for several days after your last dose.
|Type of medicine||Anti-emetic (anti-sickness)|
|Used for||Treatment of feeling and being sick|
Nabilone is a man-made cannabinoid. You will have been prescribed it to treat nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting (being sick) caused by your anticancer medicines. It is often prescribed when other anti-sickness medicines have not been effective, usually by a hospital doctor.
Before taking nabilone
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking nabilone it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have heart or liver problems.
- If you have high blood pressure.
- If you have ever been diagnosed with a mental health problem - for example, depression or schizophrenia.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take nabilone
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about nabilone and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Swallow the capsules with a drink of water. It is likely that you will be prescribed one (1 mg) capsule twice daily throughout each cycle of your chemotherapy and for up to two days afterwards. You may be advised to take your first dose the night before you start chemotherapy and then another dose one to three hours before your treatment begins. If it is needed, your doctor may increase your dose to two capsules two or three times a day. Take the capsules exactly as your doctor tells you to.
- Try to take nabilone at the same times each day, as this will help you to avoid missing any doses. If you do miss a dose, wait until it is time for your next dose, take this when it is due and then continue as before. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Do not drink alcohol while you are on nabilone.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
Can nabilone cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. Some of the side-effects listed below may last for two or three days after you've stopped taking nabilone.
|Common nabilone side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling drowsy or sleepy||Do not drive or use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol|
|Feeling dizzy (possibly caused by low blood pressure)||Get up and move more slowly than normal. If you begin to feel dizzy, sit or lie down until you feel better|
|High moods, poor co-ordination, eyesight problems, difficulties concentrating, difficulties sleeping||Speak with your doctor if any of these become troublesome|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets|
|Headache||Speak with your doctor about this|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store nabilone
- Keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Nabilone 1 mg Capsules; Meda Pharmaceuticals, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated July 2009.
- British National Formulary; 64th Edition (Sep 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London (links to current BNF)
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr John Cox|
|Last Checked: 13/11/2012||Document ID: 3703 Version: 23||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.