"Cancer patients with limited finances are more likely to have increased symptoms and poorer quality of life, say the authors of a new study published online February 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
- The effects of Cesamet may persist for a variable and unpredictable period of time following its oral administration. Adverse psychiatric reactions can persist for 48 to 72 hours following cessation of treatment.
- Cesamet has the potential to affect the CNS, which might manifest itself in dizziness, drowsiness, euphoria “high”, ataxia, anxiety, disorientation, depression, hallucinations and psychosis.
- Cesamet can cause tachycardia and orthostatic hypotension.
- Because of individual variation in response and tolerance to the effects of Cesamet, patients should remain under supervision of a responsible adult especially during initial use of Cesamet and during dose adjustments.
- Patients receiving treatment with Cesamet should be specifically warned not to drive, operate machinery, or engage in any hazardous activity while receiving Cesamet.
- Cesamet should not be taken with alcohol, sedatives, hypnotics, or other psychoactive substances because these substances can potentiate the central nervous system effects of nabilone.
The benefit/risk ratio of Cesamet use should be carefully evaluated in patients with the following medical conditions because of individual variation in response and tolerance to the effects of Cesamet.
- Since Cesamet can elevate supine and standing heart rates and cause postural hypotension, it should be used with caution in the elderly, and in patients with hypertension or heart disease.
- Cesamet should also be used with caution in patients with current or previous psychiatric disorders, (including manic depressive illness, depression, and schizophrenia) as the symptoms of these disease states may be unmasked by the use of cannabinoids.
- Cesamet should be used with caution in individuals receiving concomitant therapy with sedatives, hypnotics, or other psychoactive drugs because of the potential for additive or synergistic CNS effects.
- Cesamet should be used with caution in patients with a history of substance abuse, including alcohol abuse or dependence and marijuana use, since Cesamet contains a similar active compound to marijuana.
- The safety aspects of the effects of hepatic and renal impairment have not been investigated.
- Nabilone is purportedly highly bound to plasma proteins and undergoes extensive first pass hepatic metabolism. Those properties have the potential to lead to drug-drug interactions affecting the pharmacokinetics of similar behaving co-administered drugs or of Cesamet itself.
- The effects of QT prolongation potential by Cesamet have not been determined.
- Cesamet should be used with caution in pregnant patients, nursing mothers, or pediatric patients because it has not been studied in these patient populations.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
No long-term studies in animals have been performed to evaluate the carcinogenic potential of nabilone.
Nabilone was not genotoxic in the Ames test, the rat hepatocyte unscheduled DNA synthesis (UDS) test, the Chinese hamster bone marrow cell sister chromatid exchange (SCE) test, the male rat dominant lethal tests nor the rat micronucleus test.
Dietary administration of nabilone up to 4 mg/kg/day (about 6 times the recommended maximum human dose based on body surface area) was found to have no effect on fertility and reproductive performance of male and female rats.
Pregnancy Category C
Teratology studies conducted in pregnant rats at doses up to 12 mg/kg/day (about 16 times the human dose on a body surface area basis) and in pregnant rabbits at doses up to 3.3 mg/kg/day (about 9 times the human dose on a body surface area basis) did not disclose any evidence for a teratogenic potential of nabilone. However, there was dose related developmental toxicity in both species as evidenced by increases in embryo lethality, fetal resorptions, decreased fetal weights and pregnancy disruptions. In rats, postnatal developmental toxicity was also observed. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal studies cannot rule out the possibility of harm, Cesamet should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
It is not known whether this drug is excreted in breast milk. Because many drugs including some cannabinoids are excreted in breast milk it is not recommended that Cesamet be given to nursing mothers.
Safety and effectiveness have not been established in patients younger than 18 years of age. Caution is recommended in prescribing Cesamet to children because of psychoactive effects.
Clinical studies of Cesamet did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy. Cesamet should be used with caution in elderly patients aged 65 and over because they are generally more sensitive to the psychoactive effects of drugs and Cesamet can elevate supine and standing heart rates and cause postural hypotension.This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Last reviewed on RxList: 1/14/2016
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