How does Sublocade work?
What is Sublocade?
Sublocade is used for treatment of moderate to severe opioid use disorder, to reduce cravings for opioids. It needs to be taken together with counseling and psychosocial support. Sublocade is partial mu-receptor agonist.
How does Sublocade work?
- When you take an opioid such as heroin or morphine, the drug binds fully to a receptor (mu-receptor) which gives the pleasure or high that you get when taking that drug.
- When you take Sublocade it binds to the same mu-receptor more easily than other drugs, but even though the Subocade binds to the receptor really well, it doesn’t work properly to switch it on, so you don’t get the high or pleasure sensation.
- So instead of giving you a high, the effect of Sublocade is that it prevents your cravings.
- So the Sublocade works to help stop the cravings, without the high, by binding to the mu-receptor.
Why do you need to take oral forms of buprenorphine before you start Sublocade?
Sublocade (buprenorphine) is an extended-release, once-monthly injection that steadily releases buprenorphine into your bloodstream.
- You can only start on Sublocade when you are fully detoxified, if you are not detoxified Sublocade will cause precipitated withdrawal, which can be severe and potentially serious.
- To prevent precipitated withdrawal Sublocade can only be started on people who have been stable for at least a week, on the daily form of buprenorphine that you take under your tongue or inside your cheek.
- Once stabilized on daily buprenorphine for at least a week, then you can start the Sublocade extended-release injection which is given monthly, so will keep the cravings under long term control.
For more information see our slideshow: Opioid Use Disorder: These Treatments Are Available, Now.
Related medical questions
- Sublocade vs Suboxone - What's the difference between them?
- Is Sublocade covered by Medicaid?
- Is Probuphine better than Sublocade?
- How and where is the Sublocade injection given?
- Is Sublocade an addictive drug?
- Does Sublocade need to be refrigerated?
- Who makes Sublocade in the U.S?
- How is Sublocade administered?
- How long does opioid withdrawal last?
- What are the different brands of buprenorphine?
- How long does Sublocade last?
- How long does buprenorphine stay in your system?
- What are the different types of buprenorphine/naloxone?
- How long do you take buprenorphine for?
- Is Buprenex safe for humans?
- Sublocade Information for Consumers
- Sublocade Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Sublocade (detailed)