Beating opioid addiction is notoriously difficult, and for some, it can be dangerous as well. The withdrawal period is so intense that it can send people with the best intentions running back to the drug, and it can take up to several months from your last use to entirely leave the withdrawal period.

Physicians began using medication-assisted treatment since 1964. In the past, your options were methadone, which was problematic. Now, you can use buprenorphine, which doesn’t require a daily trip to the doctor.

Sublocade is the latest in the buprenorphine treatments, and it offers an extended-release dose of buprenorphine so that you only need one dose a month.

What is Sublocade, and are you a good candidate? Keep reading to learn more.

What is Sublocade (Buprenorphine)?

Sublocade is a form of buprenorphine medication used to help people beat opioid addictions.

Buprenorphine is an opioid and narcotic, but it is not used as a pain medication, as other narcotics are because it only partially stimulates the opioid reactor, which prevents the euphoric effects associated with other drugs.

As a result, it helps you manage your withdrawal symptoms and prevents cravings, but it isn’t a full detox from opioids.

Healthcare providers give Sublocade in injection format, and only certified providers with waivers can offer it. You can’t get it from a retail pharmacy or even a doctor who hasn’t received certification.

You get the injection under the skin in your abdomen once each month (with at least 26 days between doses) for the prescribed treatment period.

One of the reasons you can’t give yourself the medication is that it requires extreme accuracy. It can’t be injected into your veins or muscles. An improper injection can result in blood clots that can become a pulmonary embolism with a serious risk for death.

Is Sublocade Different to Suboxone or Subutex?

Yes. There is a difference both in ingredients and in the way you take these drugs.

Suboxone and Subutex are oral buprenorphine available in sheets that dissolve under your tongue. 

Additionally, Suboxone, in particular, contains buprenorphine and naloxone. Naloxone is used to reverse opioid overdoses.

Sublocade is an injection that is solely buprenorphine.

The other difference is that you don’t have to worry about taking the oral drug daily; you only get Sublocade once a month from a certified professional.

You can only take Sublocade if you are at least seven consecutive days into your initial oral buprenorphine treatment (either Suboxone or Subutex).

Your Sublocade then becomes your maintenance treatment.

Is There a Generic Form?

No, you can only get Sublocade in its brand form.

There are, however, generic brands of other oral buprenorphine. There are several FDA-approved generic products, but your experience of these may vary compared to the brands.

What Happens When You Get a Sublocade Injection

The injection enters your body as a liquid, but it becomes a solid form once it’s in your body. The solid structure is called a depot.

You can feel the depot initially, and it will feel like a small bump near your injection site. It will grow smaller over time as the medication releases.

You must be aware of the depot and protect it.

You should not try to remove it. Your doctor will also instruct you not to massage or rub the site. It should also be in a place where your belt or waistband won’t press on it, but you should be careful when choosing your clothes anyway.

What Else Do You Need to Do When You Take Sublocade?

Sublocade can help you safely manage cravings while you battle your opioid addiction. But there are other things you need to do to keep yourself safe and improve your chances of success while receiving Sublocade injections.

1. Tell Your Doctor You Use Sublocade

Any healthcare provider you see should know that you are receiving Sublocade as a treatment for opioid abuse, especially if they aren’t the provider prescribing it.

Why is this so important?

Other medications produce interactions with buprenorphine that can cause serotonin syndrome, which is a dangerous condition. Serotonin syndrome occurs when the levels of serotonin begin to accumulate in your body, and it can cause shivering, diarrhea, fever, and seizures. If it becomes too severe and goes untreated, it can be fatal.

You need to provide a full medical history and a complete list of prescriptions and supplements to the clinic before you can take Sublocade.

2. Avoid Alcohol and Certain Prescription Drugs

While you take Sublocade, it is incredibly crucial that you do not drink alcohol. You can experience severe harm or death if you mix the two.

You also can’t take the following medications while on Sublocade:

  • Anxiety medications/benzodiazepines
  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Sedatives
  • Sleeping pills
  • Tranquilizers

Like alcohol, these can also interact with Subclocade, and the interaction in its worst forms can be fatal.

You should report any of the above, including your alcohol use, to both your certified clinic and your doctor before taking Sublocade. Be sure to report any prescription drug use, even if you do not have a prescription for it.

3. Complete Counselling

A complete treatment plan includes both a buprenorphine prescription (like Sublocade) as well as a counseling or talk therapy element. Both parts of your treatment plan an equal role in your success in beating addiction.

Is Sublocade the Right Choice for You?

Sublocade is an extended-release buprenorphine injection available to people who already completed seven days of the oral medication.

It allows you to live your life more freely without worrying about taking a daily dose. Although it is incredibly helpful for managing your cravings, it is not a replacement for other essential types of addiction therapy, like CBT or drug counseling. A complete treatment plan always includes both medication and counseling.

Are you ready to start living a life free from your opioid addiction? Get in touch today to learn about how Healthy Life Recovery can help you on the path to sobriety and wellness.

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