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Cancer Manag Res. 2016 May 12;8:49-55. doi: 10.2147/CMAR.S81425. eCollection 2016.

Dronabinol for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting unresponsive to antiemetics.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmacy, Baptist Health Lexington, Lexington, KY, USA.
2
Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA.

Abstract

Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) is one of the most common symptoms feared by patients, but may be prevented or lessened with appropriate medications. Several antiemetic options exist to manage CINV. Corticosteroids, serotonin receptor antagonists, and neurokinin receptor antagonists are the classes most commonly used in the prevention of CINV. There are many alternative drug classes utilized for the prevention and management of CINV such as antihistamines, benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants, cannabinoids, and dopamine receptor antagonists. Medications belonging to these classes generally have lower efficacy and are associated with more adverse effects. They are also not as well studied compared to the aforementioned agents. This review will focus on dronabinol, a member of the cannabinoid class, and its role in CINV. Cannabis sativa L. (also known as marijuana) contains naturally occurring delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (delta-9-THC). The synthetic version of delta-9-THC is the active ingredient in dronabinol that makes dronabinol an orally active cannabinoid. Evidence for clinical efficacy of dronabinol will be analyzed in this review as monotherapy, in combination with ondansetron, and in combination with prochlorperazine.

KEYWORDS:

antiemetic; cannabinoids; chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting; dronabinol

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