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What is the Sublocade Shot?

Opioid addiction is at epidemic levels in this country, and we are losing more and more people every day to overdoses. Opioid addiction is a tough addiction to beat, and many people stay sick for far too long out of fear. The fear of withdrawal is real, and it is debilitating for a lot of individuals with opioid dependency. The National Institute of Health Director’s Blog published an article titled “After Opioid Overdose, Most Young People Aren’t Getting Addiction Treatment”. It says:

Drug overdoses continue to take far too many lives, driven primarily by the opioid crisis (though other drugs, such as methamphetamine and cocaine, are also major concerns). While NIH’s Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative is taking steps to address this terrible crisis, new findings serve as another wake-up call that young people battling opioid addiction need a lot more assistance to get back on the right track. (NIH)

Thankfully there are different treatment options now available for those who battle opioid addiction. Some people aren’t able to completely detox off of opioids, so they choose medication-assisted treatment. Currently, three medications have been approved by the FDA for use in treating opioid use disorder: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.

What Is Sublocade?

Sublocade is an extended-release form of buprenorphine that is injected subcutaneously (into the fatty tissue) once a month. This injection releases a controlled dose of buprenorphine into the body over 30 days. To be prescribed and treated with the Sublocade shot, you must first be inducted with sublingual buprenorphine. During this induction period, usually seven days, you will work with your prescriber to get to a dose of buprenorphine that controls any withdrawal symptoms sufficiently. Once you have reached a stable dose, you can then switch over to the Sublocade shot. It is important to note that Sublocade can only be used for maintenance treatment (long-term treatment with buprenorphine to help keep cravings and withdrawal symptoms at bay).

Typical Doses for Sublocade Injections

Sublocade comes in two strengths: 100 mg/0.5 ml and 300 mg/1.5 ml. The typical dose is a 300 mg injection once a month for 2 months. Then the individual is given a 100 mg injection once a month for as long as treatment is recommended. However, sometimes 100 mg isn’t enough, so the doctor will increase the dose back to the 300 mg injection. There must be at least 26 days in between monthly injections or doses.

How Does Buprenorphine Works?

One of the most popular medications used today for opioid addiction is buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is a long-acting, partial opioid agonist used to treat individuals with opioid use disorder. Since this medication is an actual opioid, it helps prevent withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. Buprenorphine does have a ceiling effect, so once you get to a certain dose, usually 24mg, taking more of the drug will not increase the high you experience. Buprenorphine comes in either sublingual tablets or film and is dissolved under the tongue each day.

Treatment for Opiate Addiction

Treatment time with buprenorphine will vary for each person. Whether choosing sublingual buprenorphine or the once-monthly Sublocade shot, it is very important to remember that the medication is only a tool. It is a tool used to help manage the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that come with opioid addiction while a treatment program is completed. An effective treatment program will involve individual and group counseling sessions along with mental health treatment if necessary. Learning to cope with life and the stress that comes with life is a big part of recovery. Using medication without treating the bad behaviors involved with addiction or learning effective coping skills could only make the problem worse. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to opiates, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Evoke Wellness MA offers evidence-based treatment programs. Our solution-focused addiction treatment will lead you on a road to long-lasting recovery. You don’t have to suffer any longer. Give us a call today to learn more about Sublocade and opioid addiction.