Key Points About Sublocade
Sublocade is a one of many prescription medications that can be used in the treatment of opioid dependence, as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling and psychosocial support. It is specifically designed for adults with moderate to severe opioid use disorder. Here are some key points about it:
- Active Ingredient: Sublocade contains buprenorphine, which is the same active ingredient found in Suboxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that helps to reduce opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
- Form and Administration: Unlike Suboxone, which is taken daily in tablet or film form, Sublocade is administered as a monthly injection. The medication is injected under the skin (subcutaneously) in the abdominal area and forms a solid deposit, or depot, from which buprenorphine is slowly released over time.
- Mechanism of Action: The buprenorphine in Sublocade activates the brain's opioid receptors, but to a much lesser degree than full agonists like heroin or methadone. This action helps to alleviate cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid addiction. The slow and steady release of buprenorphine from the depot maintains stable levels of the medication in the body, aiding in treatment adherence and reducing the burden of daily dosing.
- Benefits: The once-a-month injection can be more convenient for patients and may help with adherence to the treatment plan. It also reduces the risk of misuse, diversion, or accidental exposure to the medication, which can be concerns with daily-dose forms.
- Prescription and Supervision: Sublocade should only be administered by a healthcare provider, and it's typically prescribed only after a patient has initiated medication-assisted treatment with a transmucosal buprenorphine-containing product (like Suboxone) for a minimum period to ensure tolerability of buprenorphine.
- Considerations and Side Effects: As with any medication, Sublocade can have side effects, including potential injection site reactions, constipation, nausea, headache, vomiting, increased liver enzymes, fatigue, and dizziness, among others. It's important for patients to discuss their medical history and potential risks with their healthcare provider.
The medications used in MAT are powerful tools in treating substance use disorders. They work by minimizing withdrawal symptoms and reducing cravings. For example, buprenorphine (the active ingredient in Suboxone, Sublocade & Brixadi) acts on the same receptors in the brain as opioids. For alcohol use disorder, medications like naltrexone and acamprosate help reduce alcohol cravings, while disulfiram causes unpleasant effects when alcohol is consumed, discouraging further use.
How Does Sublocade Work?
Once Sublocade is injected, it begins to decay and release the buprenorphine into your system. Over time, the levels of the medicine is in your system will stabilize, allowing for a more constant absorption.
While Sublocade is an FDA approved prescription medication, there can be serious side-effects that patients might experience. Please make sure that you are fully aware of all potential side-effects and that you understand the trade-offs associated with the range of addiction treatments.
We also offer the full complement of treatment in an outpatient setting. While medications like Sublocade are crucial in MAT, they are even more effective when combined with behavioral health care. MATClinics encourages its patients to take advantage of behavioral health care, especially at times of stress. These services help address the underlying psychological, social, and emotional factors that contribute to substance use disorders.