Sublocade is another brand name for buprenorphine. Sublocade, developed by the drug manufacturer Indivior, is an extended-release injectable form of buprenorphine. Historically, buprenorphine has been administered as a tablet or film under the tongue; Sublocade offers a novel alternative to patients with severe opioid use disorder who need sustained and long-term opioid inhibition.
Sublocade is unique because it's long-lasting and allows for more controlled levels of buprenorphine in the bloodstream. Its extended-release formulation provides a steady, constant dose of buprenorphine that produces a continuous level in the body for up to 30 days. This helps to suppress cravings for opioids and reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Sublocade is different from other extended-release opioid medications because it has higher bioavailability. That means more of the drug enters the bloodstream compared to other forms of buprenorphine, resulting in a more sustained and consistent level of opioid inhibition. This can help reduce the risk of relapse in patients with severe opioid use disorder.
Sublocade is a potentially life-saving medication that has the capacity to help people suffering from severe opioid use disorder (OUD) find long-term relief. Side effects of Sublocade are similar to those of other formulations of buprenorphine and may include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and sleeping problems.
Sublocade can be a helpful treatment for those suffering from severe opioid use disorder, as it provides steady and consistent levels of opioid inhibition and may help reduce the risk of relapse. Those looking to take Sublocade as a treatment should consult with a qualified medical professional to discuss the risks and benefits of this medication.
One of the significant considerations for Sublocade as opposed to the sublingual forms of buprenorphine (such as Suboxone, Subutex, Zubsolv) or the buccal form (Bunavail) is cost. The injectable form is generally much higher in cost, which is in line with other medications that also cost substantially more than their orally consumed counterparts. Due to the high cost, Sublocade is generally not on the formularies of many insurance companies; or may have a high co-pay attached to it. This is particularly the case for many Medicaid programs as compared to private insurances.
Another consideration for Sublocade is the aspect of drug reversal. Sublocade is injectable depot medication, which means that a single dose lasts for an extended period of time. In the case of Sublocade, that is 30 days. If the effects of this medication are to be reversed for any reason (such as intolerance or emergency surgery etc.), there is no easy way to do that. In the case of the sublingual and buccal formulations, one would simply stop taking the medication and the last dose of medication will dissipate over a day or so. For Sublocade, a patient will need to undergo a minor procedure during which a small incision will be made at the injection site and the medication (which forms a small depot or "ball" in the area where it was injected) will be cut out. This should be done within 14 days of the injection.