Opioid use disorder (commonly referred to as opioid addiction) is a devastating condition that affects more than 5 million American adults over the age of 12. In 2021, the number of opioid overdose deaths surpassed 80,000, making drug overdose deaths one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.
Unfortunately, overcoming opioid addiction can be incredibly difficult. People with opioid use disorder not only have to overcome the painful symptoms of withdrawal, but they also have to manage cravings for a long time.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder. One of the most popular, effective, and safe medications is called Sublocade.
If you or a loved one think Sublocade treatment may be right for you, please reach out to our North Carolina addiction specialists today.
What is Sublocade?
Sublocade is the brand name for a once-monthly subcutaneous injection containing buprenorphine, a medication used to treat opioid dependence. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist-antagonist that attaches to and activates opioid receptors in the brain while blocking the euphoric effects of other opioids. It reduces symptoms of opioid withdrawal and helps manage cravings for people in recovery.
Sublocade was approved by the FDA in 2017. Like other medications used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT), the Sublocade shot is most effective when it is combined with behavioral therapy, mental health counseling, and peer support.
How Does the Sublocade Shot Work?
Sublocade is intended for use in people who have been taking a daily dose of buprenorphine for at least 7 days. This is known as the induction phase during which oral buprenorphine helps keep withdrawal symptoms under control. After this time, patients who qualify may present for their first injection.
The injection is subcutaneous meaning it is injected just below the skin. Sublocade is usually administered in the abdomen. The liquid from the injection forms into a solid gel-like substance under the skin called a “depot.” The depot allows for a steady dose of buprenorphine to be absorbed into the bloodstream at sustained levels over a course of 28-30 days or more.
After one month, patients will return to their doctor for their next injection.
Sublocade is only administered in a medical office. Doctors will not send Sublocade home with patients. This makes it virtually impossible to abuse.
In clinical trials, patients taking Sublocade were 14 times more likely to be successful in treatment compared to people who only attended counseling.
Sublocade Side Effects
Sublocade may cause side effects. The most common side effects are injection site reactions such as pain, itching, redness, and irritation at the injection side. These side effects are common and typically subside after a few days.
Other potential side effects of Sublocade include:
- Increased liver enzymes
Severe and potentially life-threatening breathing problems may occur if Sublocade is taken along with other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol, opioids, or benzodiazepines. If you are receiving Sublocade injections, it is essential to follow your doctor’s directions and heed their warnings closely.
What to Expect During Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) With Sublocade
Addiction treatment with Sublocade involves more than just monthly injections. The Sublocade shot can stabilize brain chemistry, alleviate withdrawal symptoms, and keep cravings under control, but therapy and counseling are required to treat the root causes of your substance abuse.
Comprehensive medication-assisted treatment typically involves:
- Group and individual therapy
- Family Counseling
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Mental health counseling
- Holistic therapies such as outdoor adventure, yoga, and meditation
- Case management
- Aftercare planning
Depending on the severity of your opioid addiction, you may be able to choose from multiple levels of care. These include inpatient rehab, day treatment, intensive outpatient programming (IOP), and outpatient programming (OP). Before you complete treatment, your counselor will help you develop a detailed aftercare plan that is appropriate for your situation.
Find Out if Sublocade Treatment in North Carolina is the Right Choice for You
Sublocade may not be suitable for everyone, but there are alternative treatment options available. Although we are not a MAT provider, we support clients who choose MAT with Sublocade by offering them comprehensive outpatient treatment services for substance abuse and mental health.
The first step toward beginning treatment of any kind is to speak with an admissions counselor to evaluate your needs and verify your insurance. Our dedicated addiction specialists are available now to take your call and help you get started. Call now to begin.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): What is the scope of prescription drug misuse in the United States?, Retrieved April 2023 from https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/misuse-prescription-drugs/what-scope-prescription-drug-misuse
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): Drug Overdose Death Rates, Retrieved April 2023 from https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA): FDA approves first once-monthly buprenorphine injection, a medication-assisted treatment option for opioid use disorder, Retrieved April 2023 from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-once-monthly-buprenorphine-injection-medication-assisted-treatment-option-opioid
- National Library of Medicine: Injection Site Reaction to Extended-Release Buprenorphine (Sublocade®) for Opioid Use Disorder Fourteen Days after Administration, Retrieved April 2023 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9409986/