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Will The Sublocade Injection Kill Suboxone Films And Tablets?
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Will there still be a choice to get Suboxone Films and Tablets after Sublocade comes out?

Sublocade is a new monthly injection. It contains the medication buprenorphine. This monthly shot will be used for the treatment of opiate and opioid dependence and addiction. Another name for the medical condition is opioid use disorder. Currently, the gold standard treatment for opioid addiction is daily sublingual buprenorphine combined with therapy. Sublingual buprenophine is available as Suboxone films, Subutex and ZubSolv tablets. What will happen to the tablets and films after Sublocade is available?

Will Sublocade lead to new legislation to limit treatment options?

I am certain that there will be no change initially when Sublocade is released in March. It will take time for doctors and treatment facilities to become accustomed to the procedure of getting the shot and giving it to patients. There will be a lot of details to work out, including cost and insurance coverage. Interestingly, some Suboxone doctors are already providing Sublocade treatment to their patients and getting excellent results. Also, when it comes to a long acting injectable, it will be preferable to start with a short acting medicine to ensure that there are no serious side effects. Yet, long term, it is possible that Sublocade will encourage limits on the films and tablets.

The current state of Suboxone treatment

Suboxone and other forms of buprenorphine are a safe and effective medical treatment for opioid dependence. Lives are being saved from the deadly risk of overdose due to heroin, fentanyl and carfentanyl. However, not everyone agrees. In some U.S. states, there is a feeling that Suboxone clinics are the new pill mills and a new source of addiction. They are concerned about rogue doctors treating addiction. This is unfortunate. Limits are already in place in some states and will likely become even more strict.

Injectable Medical leashes

There is already a currently available monthly injection used to treat opiate and opioid addiction. This medication is Vivitrol, a monthly shot containing naltrexone. Vivitrol has become very popular with parents and spouses of people suffering from opioid use disorder. It is also popular with judges, prison wardens and law enforcement officers. They see it as a way to keep an eye on the addict from a distance. It is, in a sense, a chemical leash. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Especially early in recovery from active addiction, the addict can not trust their own thinking. Vivitrol has been proven to be very effective, nearly as effective as sublingual suboxone. It will be interesting to see how Sublocade measures up to Vivitrol.

If Sublocade is a success, what happens next?

While I strongly doubt that sublingual tablets and films will be discontinued, it is very possible that in some states, there will be new legislation to limit how doctors can prescribe these medications. Sublocade may be seen as a way to ensure that the patient takes their medication. Parents and police alike will be happy to know that medicine has been administered and not diverted to be sold on the street.

What about the good patients? Why punish everyone?

While there has always been an issue with diversion, most patients are responsible and take their medication as directed. How is it fair to limit available treatment options for them? Why does everyone get punished for a few bad apples?

Let us hope that we remain free to choose.

The contents of this article have been speculation. Yet, it is based on current events in the world of addiction treatment. Doctors and prescription medication are viewed with suspicion by the media, politicians and law enforcement in states that have been affected by the opioid epidemic. Still, I am hopeful that in much of the U.S., there will be no change in existing treatment options. In fact, I predict that we will see better access to treatment with cheaper and more readily available forms of sublingual buprenorphine. It has been proven to save lives, so this makes the most sense.

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. As a recovering addict who is on suboxone and has been for many many years, it scares me to think 1 day I might not be able to get my medication. I don’t see how subcolade can keep you from getting sick all month long but if t does I am going to look into it because I am sick of worrying about my medication . I like the idea of not having to ever run out of strips or pills so this is a good option.

  2. I’m currently taking 3 12mg Suboxone strips a day. I don’t see how an injection can give me the same amount of medicine all month. Extended release for a month? I’m sure there will be people suffering in the 4th week.

    1. Three 12mg strips is overkill. You do not need 3 strips per day. 36 mg per day would last me a month.

    2. Regarding the issue of Sublocade wearing off early, because of the way it works, this is not a concern. It is intended for patients who take between 16-24mg of buprenorphine daily. For a patient who takes more, they may be asked to taper down to that range before transitioning to Sublocade.

    3. 12 mgs three times a day seems excessive. . You would probably be fine with half that…

  3. I agree with shynes 3 12mgs a day is over kill!! I’ve been on 3 8’s for years and am Gucci

  4. This has to be the future of Suboxone treatment. If your doctor gives you the shot every month, no one has to worry what you do with your meds and you don’t have to go to a clinic every day so they can watch you take them.

  5. I was just wanting to know if the sublocade shot contains naloxone?

    1. Jbug: The Sublocade shot definitely does not contain naloxone. There is no need for it.

      1. If i would take suboxone while on sublocade would i withdrawal due to the naloxone in suboxone?

  6. Will you withdrawal if you take suboxone while on sublocade? Since suboxone has naloxone and sublocade does not..? Just curious

    1. No, if Suboxone is taken sublingually, as directed by a doctor, by a patient who is currently receiving Sublocade monthly injections, the naloxone in Suboxone would have no effect and would not interact with Sublocade. It would not cause precipitated withdrawal. Usually, there is no need for additional supplementation of Sublocade with sublingual Suboxone films or tablets. However, it is possible in some cases that supplementation will be prescribed for a period of time.

  7. I’m currently taking 2 Zubsolv tabs equivalent to 2 8/2mg Suboxone tabs daily, will I be ok to take the Sublocade shot as is? Or do I need to taper down first?

  8. I just started taking the sublocade shot. It’s so new that there arent any reviews from people about it. It leaves a little bruised on your stomach but I havent had to take any sub films after getting the injection. Been on subs on and off for 10 years. Switched to sublocade just fine. I’m a little worried about coming off it. My doctor said you can be on it 1 year and it’s so built up in your system that you could be fine without anything for 4 to 6 months and then start withdrawl whichbsucks! So we will see what happens

  9. You’re able to switch right from suboxone or subutex or zubsolv, right to the injection. I took my last sub dose the day I got the shot. I love not waking up sick! I metabolize oral doses quickly so the shot seemed like the better choice. With all the advancements in medicine I wont be surprised if they come out with something that actually takes away withdrawls from bupenoriphine. I know theres 1 med out but my doc says it’s exactly the same as clonidine.

  10. Can someone tell me what the equivalent of the 100mg sublocade shot is to suboxone? Is 100mg like 2,4,6,8mg of suboxone daily I’m on?

    1. I don’t know if there is a clear answer from the manufacturer on this topic. There is a standard protocol of administering 300mg monthly for the first two months and then switching to 100mg monthly. This is supposed to cover patients who were previously taking 16mg to 24mg of buprenorphine daily. The new weekly/monthly injectable buprenorphine, Brixadi, may have more flexibility.

  11. I’m an addict and have been for years and I’m clean with out subs vivatrol or methadone. I have used those drugs in the past to get clean and stay clean for a little while but the problem is that you are just trading one addiction for another I guess I just don’t know how trading one for another is a thing cus you are dependent upon a drug and if you don’t have it you are going to be sick as fuck from not having it so I just don’t get it that it’s supposed to be better to be on a medication that you are dependent on is better than using drugs

  12. It’s not like having a mass of plastic shot into you will cause problems

  13. It’s not like having a mass of plastic shot into you will cause problems

  14. does Sublocade and suboxen pill show up as the same thing on a drug screen

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