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What is Sublocade?

Sublocade, or buprenorphine, is a prescription drug treatment that is used in the treatment of opioid dependence to reduce cravings for opioids. There has been a notable increase in success using this medication to treat addiction paired with mental health counseling.

Sublocade, or its generic version buprenorphine (Suboxone), works by binding to the same brain receptors that process opiates blocking the euphoric feelings induced by opioid drugs, by blocking these receptors the medication can help manage cravings and the symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

For the use of reducing opioid withdrawal symptoms, Sublocade can help with the following:

  • Shivering
  • Goosebumps
  • Increased sweating
  • Faintness
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling hot or cold
  • Runny nose and watery eyes
  • Lightheaded feeling

Opioid Withdrawal

Opioid withdrawal is a response in the body that signals a lack of opioids in the system. These symptoms of withdrawal can be acute when you suddenly stop taking opioids when you are dependent on them.

Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal include:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Shakiness
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

Do not stop receiving Sublocade suddenly or without telling your doctor you are on it; informing medical staff and family members can help in the case of an emergency. It is important to stop using alcohol and any other opioid pain medicine, as it could cause death and other serious complications. Other opioid pain medications will not fully work while receiving Sublocade.

Reach out and take the first step. Speak directly to a professional!

Where & How is Sublocade Given?

Sublocade is administered through an injection, also known as “buprenorphine injection,” into the stomach area under the skin, and it can have severe reactions if it comes into contact with blood or bodily fluid. Therefore, it can only be given subcutaneously, never into a vein or muscle. A small lump may appear after receiving the injection correctly under the skin, which is normal. A qualified healthcare professional will administer the injection after a week-long period of receiving the oral form of buprenorphine. Afterward, a program of a maintenance dosage will be administered to aid the patient in letting go of the addictive effects of opioid use.

You can only start on Sublocade injections if you have completely detoxed, or else the effect of the injection can cause serious withdrawal reactions. You must be stable and have been receiving buprenorphine for at least a week. Once appropriately used after a period of being stable, this injection can help with the long-term control of opioid cravings.

Generally, a Sublocade injection is given once a month by a healthcare provider by making an in-house appointment and is part of a complete medicated assisted treatment that includes counseling and other forms of addiction support. Sublocade cannot be administered by yourself and is used to complement medicated assisted treatment (MAT) medicines like oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, and therapy.

The Usual Adult Dose for Opiate Dependence and Use of Sublocade

  • After 7 days of treatment with oral buprenorphine between 8 to 24 mg per day.
  • The first dose of Sublocade subcutaneously, 300mg once a month for 2 months
  • Maintenance dose of 100mg over a month
  • The dose can be increased to 300mg monthly if the patient has less response or goes back to using opioids.

Sublocade Side Effects

Find out if you have an allergy to the ingredients in Sublocade or its generic buprenorphine. Symptoms of allergy could be itching, dizziness, difficult breathing, and swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. General recorded side effects or Sublocade include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Itching
  • Infected injection site
  • Headache
  • Liver Issues

Sublocade and the Effects of Other Drugs

Sometimes, it is not safe to use certain medicines during treatment; many other drugs can interfere with Sublocade’s effectiveness or be harmful. Be especially careful and inform your doctor if you are using an antibiotic, antifungal, antiseizure, HIV, or Hepatitis C medicine.

The following medicines can be dangerous when used during treatment:

  • Medicine for allergies, asthma, motion sickness, or overactive bladder
  • Other opioid medicines
  • Benzodiazepines like Valium, Klonopin, or Xanax
  • Sleep medicine
  • Muscle relaxers
  • drugs that affect serotonin, such as antidepressants
  • Stimulants
  • Medicine for migraines or Parkinson’s disease

What to Avoid During Treatment with Sublocade

Before taking Sublocade injections, there are important things for your doctor to know. Let your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:
  • Trouble with breathing
  • An enlarged prostate
  • Liver, kidney, or gallbladder problems
  • Alcoholism
  • Problems urinating
  • Adrenal and thyroid problems
  • Mental illness
Until you are sure of how you are affected by Sublocade after receiving an injection, try to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery. Buprenorphine can cause extreme drowsiness and dizziness. You should never drink alcohol, take prescription medication, or over the counter medicines that contain alcohol while receiving the injections, as it can lead to overdose or death.

What Happens in an Overdose?

Patients being treated for the diagnosis of Opioid Use Disorder have the potential for relapse, putting them at risk of experiencing an opioid overdose. It is important to administer the treatment of the medicine naloxone, which reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Prescribing naloxone can be a life-saving measure, especially as relapse on opioids can cause overdose while being treated with Sublocade.

Overdose symptoms may include severe drowsiness, pinpoint pupils, slow breathing, or not breathing.

Can You Take Sublocade During Pregnancy?

Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Opioid-dependent women on buprenorphine or Sublocade injection may require additional medicinal help during delivery. If you have been receiving Sublocade treatment during pregnancy, your baby may have opioid withdrawal symptoms at birth that could be life-threatening and require maintenance care. Sublocade can also be transmitted into breast milk while breastfeeding. Monitor your baby for drowsiness and breathing problems.

Overall, Sublocade has a specific use to treat opioid use and dependence. There are certain indicators that it can help curb the cravings for opioids by reducing their effect on the body. Even so, pay attention to warnings and restrictions that are specifically cautionary.