Sublocade: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) are an important tool for those who are addicted to opioids.

12/27/20223 min read

Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) are an important tool for those who are addicted to opioids. This pharmaceutical component's efficacy has been demonstrated in numerous studies. To date, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three drugs to treat opioid use disorder (OUD): methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. One or more of these three drugs are included in all brand-name MOUD prescriptions. Bunavail, Belbuca, Subutex, Suboxone, Naltrexone (Vivitrol), Sublocade, and ZubSolve are all common brand names. Each drug comes with its own set of qualities and adverse effects. This article is dedicated to the Sublocade brand name.

What exactly is Sublocade?

Sublocade is the brand name for a subcutaneous injection of extended-release buprenorphine monotherapy. Buprenorphine (Sublocade) is prescribed when people have been on induction for at least seven days and have been taking transmucosal buprenorphine (film/tablet dissolved under the tongue or inside the cheek). Suboxone and Subutex are two brands of transmucosal buprenorphine medications. Buprenorphine (Sublocade) must be administered by a healthcare provider because it is a partial opioid agonist that is injected. The initial buprenorphine dose (Sublocade) is comprised of two injections totaling 300 mg of buprenorphine. Following this initial injection, a monthly injection of 100 mg of buprenorphine will be given. Maintenance doses of buprenorphine can range from 100 mg to 300 mg, depending on the patient. Buprenorphine (Sublocade) is an abdominal subcutaneous injection, which means it is injected directly beneath the skin through the stomach. The drug is administered as a liquid that hardens into a gel beneath the skin. Over the course of a month, this gel slowly distributes buprenorphine into the body.

Some opioid use disorder (MOUD) treatments, such as Suboxone or Zubsolv, combine buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine (Sublocade), on the other hand, is a buprenorphine monotherapy. Ingredients in buprenorphine monotherapies are not combined. Sublocade is made entirely of buprenorphine. To completely comprehend Sublocade, we must first comprehend the effects of buprenorphine.

What is Sublocade and how does it work?

As previously stated, buprenorphine is one of three FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of opioid addiction. It's offered as a buccal film, sublingual film or tablet, injection, or implant, among other things. Buprenorphine is a partial agonist for opioids. In those with OUD, a partial opioid agonist can assist to lessen opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It accomplishes this by interacting with the same opioid receptors that full opioid agonists activate. Oxycodone, heroin, fentanyl, and methadone are examples of complete opioid agonists. Buprenorphine, unlike a complete agonist, does not fully activate opioid receptors. Because it only partially activates opioid receptors, buprenorphine has a "ceiling effect." Buprenorphine makes it practically impossible for people with OUD to go "high" or experience euphoric effects. Buprenorphine is a maintenance drug that can be used as a short-term or long-term treatment for those who have OUD.

Information on the drug

Sublocade's buprenorphine belongs to a class of medicines known as partial opioid agonists. A drug class is a group of pharmaceuticals that all operate in the same way. Sublocade is injected into your stomach just beneath the skin (subcutaneous). The injection will be given to you once a month in a clinic by a healthcare practitioner. As part of your treatment, you'll receive counseling and other forms of assistance. These treatments are designed to assist you in coping with emotional difficulties or social settings that may contribute to the reintroduction of opiate use


Sublocade has been shown to help people stop using opioids.

People with opioid use disorder were the subjects of a 24-week clinical trial. For at least 80 percent of the research, about 30 percent of persons who took Sublocade and received counseling did not use additional opioids. This was compared to 2% of those who received a placebo (treatment with no active drug).

Sublocade is a regulated substance, right?

Sublocade is classified as a Schedule III restricted drug. This is a medication that has a significant potential for abuse and addiction. (When a drug is misused, it is taken in a way that is not prescribed.) When you're addicted to a substance, your body requires it to function normally. The US government has special procedures for prescribing and administering Schedule III medications because of these concerns. Doctors who prescribe Sublocade to treat opioid use disorder must first complete specialized training before being certified by the US government Sublocade is a performance-enhancing substance that is prohibited in competitive sports. After you stop using Sublocade, traces of the drug may stay in your blood for up to a year. If you plan to participate in competitive sports during or after Sublocade therapy, see your doctor first.