Table of Contents

  1. What is Sublocade?
  2. Sublocade composition
  3. History behind the Sublocade
  4. Sublocade Indications
  5. How does Sublocade work? (Sublocade Mechanism of Action)
  6. How to Take Sublocade?
  7. Common Sublocade Dose
  8. When to Avoid Sublocade?
  9. Sublocade Side Effects
  10. Effects on organs
  11. Warnings and Precautions
  12. Reported Allergic Reactions
  13. Effect of Sublocade on the menstrual cycle
  14. Drug Interactions To Be Careful About
  15. Food interactions of Sublocade
  16. Interactions with laboratory procedures
  17. How Long Does the Effect Stay?
  18. Is Sublocade Addictive?
  19. Can I have Sublocade with alcohol?
  20. Can I have Sublocade When Pregnant?
  21. Can I have Sublocade when feeding a baby?
  22. Can I drive after taking Sublocade?
  23. Effect of an overdose of Sublocade
  24. Effect of using expired Sublocade
  25. Effect of missing a dose of Sublocade
  26. Storage requirements
  27. Substitutes for Sublocade

What is Sublocade?

Sublocade is a prescription medication belonging to the opioid group of drugs. It is prescribed to treat opioid addiction. 

Sublocade composition

Sublocade is composed of Buprenorphine as a key ingredient. Buprenorphine is available in various forms like tablets for use as under tongue or the cheeks use, injections, skin patches, and implants. Sublocade is available as an injection for subcutaneous usage.       

History behind the Sublocade

This medication is backed with almost a decade of research at Reckitt & Colman which is now known as Reckitt Benckiser. It was in the year 1969 they did attempts to synthesize an opioid compound which was initially termed as RX6029 while under research and was named Buprenorphine which started to use for human trails in 1971 and was successfully launched as injection form in the United Kingdom in 1971. The sublingual form of Buprenorphine was introduced in 1982.

In the USA, Buprenorphine and buprenorphine with naloxone got approved for use in opioid addiction by US FDA in 2002. Sublocade brand was approved for use in the USA in 2018.         

Sublocade Indications

Sublocade is prescribed to treat opioid addiction in patients suffering from drug addiction. Sublocade is prescribed in patients that have already used the oral form of Buprenorphine medicine.

How does Sublocade work? (Sublocade Mechanism of Action)

Sublocade is a long-acting opioid drug. The ingredient drug buprenorphine is works differently compared to the other types of opioid medications. Sublocade is available as an injection form which is administered as a subcutaneous injection. After administration, the injection forms into a solid gel deposit which is called depot. It then releases the medicine at a controlled rate throughout the month.         

How to Take Sublocade?

This medicine is given as a subcutaneous injection by professional medical staff in a hospital environment under medical supervision. Self-administration is not allowed. It is only given as a subcutaneous injection and not advised to give an intravenous injection or intramuscular injection. It can lead to serious life-threatening complications if used as an intravenous or intramuscular injection which can even lead to death. Hence it is only available through a controlled medical program in a hospital environment by medical staff.  

Common Sublocade Dose

Dosage depends on the condition of the patient and is decided by the doctor.

When to Avoid Sublocade?

Sublocade is not advised to use in patients suffering from some health conditions. It is advised to inform the tour doctor about your current health conditions and about any preexisting illnesses to avoid complications. Below mentioned are some examples of contraindications of Sublocade. It is not a comprehensive list and it is advised that you share all your health conditions with your doctor before prescription to avoid any further complication.      

  • Chronic Hepatitis B
  • Chronic Hepatitis C
  • Liver impairment
  • Alcohol intoxication
  • Problems related to lung functions
  • Adrenal gland impairment
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Severe or worsening COPD
  • Orthostatic hypotension

Sublocade Side Effects

Sublocade can show some side effects besides the intended benefits. Listed below are some common possible side effects of Sublocade.

  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Injection Site Itching
  • Vomiting
  • Increase In Liver Enzymes
  • Tiredness
  • Injection Site Pain

Effects on organs

Long term use of medicine may cause some serious health issues related to liver, fertility in men and women and may also result in decreased blood pressure. Using this medicine more than a moth can cause damage to adrenal glands.     

Symptoms of liver damage may be seen in some cases which include –

  • Yellowing of skin or eyes (white region of the eye)
  • Dark urine
  • Pale stools
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite

Regular blood checkups may be conducted to diagnose liver damage while under the medication.

Warnings and Precautions

This medicine is intended to use as a subcutaneous injection, under medical supervision in a hospital environment. Using it as an intravenous or subcutaneous injection will cause serious issues that can even lead to death.

Reported Allergic Reactions

Sublocade may show allergic reactions in some patients which include –

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Swelling of Your Face
  • Wheezing
  • Dizziness

Effect of Sublocade on the menstrual cycle

Long-term usage of Sublocade may lead to hormonal imbalance, lowered sex drive, and decreased or no menstrual cycles in women. Consult your doctor if any such symptoms are noticed.  

Drug Interactions of Sublocade to Be Careful About

Sublocade may show drug interactions if used along with some other medications. It is advised that you share details about all your current list of prescription and non-prescription medications with your doctor before beginning the treatment of Sublocade. Some examples of drug interactions of Sublocade are –

  • Gabapentin
  • Lyrica (Pregabalin)
  • Nucynta (Tapentadol)
  • Viagra (Sildenafil)
  • Tamsulosin

Food interactions of Sublocade

There is no major food interaction associated with this medicine. Let your doctor know if you have any allergic symptoms towards any food items.

Interactions with laboratory procedures

Let your doctor know about the medication before attending any diagnostic tests.

How Long Does the Effect Stay?

Sublocade is a long-acting or extended release opioid medication. This is administered once in 26 days. Traces in the clinical test are known to last up to 5 months after a steady state of the drug is achieved. 

Is Sublocade Addictive?

Sublocade is addictive as it is an opioid, but rarely possible due to the controlled administration of the medicine by medical professionals but not by individuals by self-use.

Can I have Sublocade with alcohol?

No, Alcohol consumption is not advised during the treatment period. Consumption of alcohol or any other medicine such as sedatives, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, anti-histamine medicine, muscle relaxants, etc. can cause life-threatening side effects such as breathing disorders and which can even lead to death.    

Can I have Sublocade When Pregnant?

Not advised to use in pregnancy unless it is an absolute necessity. Babies born to mothers who used this medicine during pregnancy may have symptoms of opioid withdrawal at birth.   

Can I have Sublocade when feeding a baby?

Not advised as this medicine can pass through mother milk and can harm the infant. Talk to your doctor about guidance on feeding if you can’t avoid this medicine during breastfeeding.

Can I drive after taking Sublocade?

Sublocade may cause drowsiness and slow reaction during initial days of administration or when there is a modification in dose. Driving or operation machinery is not advised in such conditions to avoid complications.

Effect of an overdose of Sublocade

Overdose of the medicine is rarely possible since it is administered by a trained medical professional. Symptoms of overdose include slow breathing, blurred vision, severe dizziness, high body temperature, trouble in walking, slurred speech. Bring it to the notice of your doctor immediately if you suffer any such issues or any symptom that is making you uneasy.  

Effect of using expired Sublocade

Possibility of using expired medicine is not possible as it is administered in hospitals by trained medical professionals.

Effect of missing a dose of Sublocade

Possibility of missing a dose is rare in case of this medicine as it is administered once in 26 days and is done by professionals in a hospital setup with prior appointment. 

Storage requirements for Sublocade

Sublocade is advised to store at refrigeration condition at 20C to 80C temperature. Once removed from the refrigeration, it can last up to 7 days for administration if stored at room temperature in its package. Medicine stored outside refrigeration for more than 7 days must be discarded.    

Substitutes for Sublocade

Below mentioned medications may be prescribed as alternative options depending on the level of opioid addiction of patients.

  • Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
  • Opioid antagonists such as naltrexone (Vivitrol)
  • Buprenorphine sublingual tablets
  • Buprenorphine and naloxone sublingual tablets (Bunavail, Suboxone, Zubsolv)
  • Buprenorphine implant (Probuphine)



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