Nabilone: an effective antiemetic in patients receiving cancer chemotherapy

J Clin Pharmacol. 1981 Aug-Sep;21(S1):64S-69S. doi: 10.1002/j.1552-4604.1981.tb02576.x.


Eighty evaluable patients receiving chemotherapy were entered on a random prospective double-blind study to evaluate the effectiveness of nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, compared to prochlorperazine. Most of these patients received cisplatin, a drug that universally produces severe nausea and vomiting, as part of a combination chemotherapy regimen. The patients served as their own controls, receiving either nabilone or prochlorperazine during two consecutive treatment courses with the identical chemotherapy. Side effects consisting of hypotension and lethargy were more pronounced with nabilone. Toxicity, in general, did not preclude antiemetic treatment and in no way interfered with chemotherapy. Sixty patients (75 per cent) reported nabilone to be more effective than prochlorperazine for relief of nausea and vomiting. Of these 60 patients, 46 required further chemotherapy and continued taking nabilone as the antiemetic of choice.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antiemetics*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Dronabinol / adverse effects
  • Dronabinol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Dronabinol / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nausea / drug therapy
  • Prochlorperazine / therapeutic use
  • Vomiting / chemically induced
  • Vomiting / drug therapy*


  • Antiemetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • nabilone
  • Dronabinol
  • Prochlorperazine