If you or a loved one is dealing with substance use and opioid addiction, it can be a difficult path to recovery. Thankfully, new medications and treatments have made the process more tolerable. While the individual must still deal with withdrawal symptoms, discomfort, and the psychological battle of addiction, medications like Suboxone and Sublocade can aid in uncomfortable symptoms that may encourage opioid use.

What is Sublocade used for?

Sublocade, or long-acting buprenorphine, is used to help manage withdrawal symptoms of opioid addiction for those in recovery. It is an injected medication completed monthly by a medical staff member. It works throughout the body during the month to reduce cravings and make symptoms more manageable. It is best used as a long-term treatment in conjunction with other treatments, like counseling or therapy.

Does Sublocade have an opiate blocker in it?

Sublocade is considered a partial opioid agonist. This means it sticks to receptors in the brain to reduce cravings but doesn’t produce a ‘high’ or euphoric feeling. Medications like methadone are opioid agonists, which also work on receptors in the brain but tend to be stronger. Antagonists block opioids by attaching to the same receptors that opioids do but do not activate them. Examples of antagonists include Naltrexone and Naloxone. While Sublocade does aid with withdrawal symptoms, it is a partial agonist and is not an opiate blocker.

Is Suboxone the same as Sublocade?

No, Suboxone is not the same thing as Sublocade. Both contain the ingredient buprenorphine, which helps those coping with opioid addiction. Sublocade contains only buprenorphine, while Suboxone has a combination of both buprenorphine and naloxone. Naloxone is a drug formulated to keep users from overdosing. They also differ in how they are administered. Sublocade is a monthly injection, where Suboxone is taken daily. Sublocade is relatively new compared to Suboxone, which has been around since 2002. Those going to get the Sublocade injection must first be on Suboxone for one week to transition to Sublocade.

Does Sublocade get you high?

No. Sublocade is formulated to avoid any high or euphoric effects. This helps prevent any opioid cravings and makes one step in the recovery process more tolerable. As with any drug, there are possible side effects with getting a Sublocade injection that should be discussed with your provider. Be open with your provider about any health problems you may have, as these may help determine if Sublocade is the right treatment for you.

Does Sublocade make you sleepy?

Since Sublocade is an injection, you may have a small bump or irritation around the injection site. Other side effects of Sublocade include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, constipation, or headache. If you experience breathing problems, see a medical professional immediately. It is possible that the medication can cause some mood changes, irritability, or trouble with sleeping, but this is more likely to occur during your first injection. Many times, your blood levels will be taken to ensure the medication is not affecting your liver in any negative way.

Where is Sublocade injected?

Sublocade is injected once a month under the skin around the stomach region. You cannot administer the drug yourself, and it must be done through a practitioner who can give this medication. Those getting Sublocade must be on a stable dose of buprenorphine for one week. You may notice some redness, irritation, or a small bump at the injection site. This is because the medication slowly works throughout your body as a long-term extended-release consistently administered throughout the month.

How quickly does Sublocade work?

The medication begins to work immediately and should be noticeable within a few hours. The peak of its effectiveness is usually about one day after the injection. Since the injection is administered monthly and is long-acting, you should feel the positive effects of Sublocade throughout the month. You can get your next injection in about 26 days. If you are getting Sublocade, you will want to avoid certain activities, such as drinking alcohol or using pain medication. These should be discussed with your provider to avoid any unwanted consequences. Other drugs interfere with Suboxone, such as allergy medications or motion sickness medications.

Does Sublocade work for pain?

Sublocade does not work for pain. Many opioid users use illegal substances or high-dose prescriptions to cope with pain. If you experience pain, speak to your provider about alternatives to manage it while taking Sublocade. If over-the-counter pain relievers do not work, you could explore other massage or physical therapy options. Your doctor may also be open to treatments or injections for pain management. Sublocade is a controlled substance that has some risk of addiction. Therefore, a trained physician must complete the administration and follow-ups with you as you continue treatments.

Does Sublocade have naloxone?

Naloxone is a medication that can reverse overdose on opioids. Sublocade does not contain naloxone. Naloxone is used to restore regular breathing and reverse or block the effects of opioids in the system. It can be administered from a nasal spray, in muscle, under the skin, or in veins. Ideally, you will never need to take or be given naloxone. Sublocade is used to help people work through withdrawal symptoms of opioid use and to help manage cravings, while naloxone is used as an emergency medication for overdose.

If you or someone you know is suffering from opioid addiction, it’s important to get the treatment that works with them and is non-judgmental. Recovery Connection offers several treatment options, like medication-assisted treatment, that cover all aspects of recovery. This can include psychological or basic needs, like finding safe shelter or dealing with trauma. The first step to recovery is to reach out. Contact Recovery Connection today to begin your journey to a better and healthier you!