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Does Sublocade need to be refrigerated?

Medically reviewed by Sally Chao, MD. Last updated on Feb 2, 2021.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com

Yes, Sublocade should be stored in a refrigerator between 35.6 and 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be kept at room temperature (between 59 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit) for up to a week before it is given. It must be discarded if it is unrefrigerated for longer than 7 days.

Sublocade is the brand name for the injectable form of buprenorphine, a drug used to treat moderate to severe opioid use disorder involving drugs such as heroin, hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and fentanyl.

Buprenorphine is a schedule III controlled substance. This class of drugs has a moderate to low potential for dependence. Sublocade is a replacement for more addictive drugs because it has a weaker effect on the brain. It can help a person's brain adjust to functioning without these other drugs.

Before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Sublocade in November 2017, buprenorphine was only available as a tablet or film placed under the tongue. Sublocade starts as a liquid, then turns into a solid gel, called a "depot," once inside the body. This depot releases the medicine gradually throughout the month.

Only a health care provider can legally administer Sublocade. It is injected in the abdominal area monthly, with at least 26 days between doses.

The drug needs to be removed from the refrigeration unit at least 15 minutes before it will be used. The drug should be left in its foil pouch until it is time to administer it, and the needle should not be attached before that time. The medication inside the syringe can be colorless to yellow or amber. It should not appear to contain particles.

The typical dose of Sublocade is 300 mg per month for 2 months, then 100 mg for maintenance in future months. The amount can be increased to 300 mg again if the lower dose does not work.

References
  1. Sublocade.com. Administration and storage. Undated. Available at: https://www.sublocade.com/hcp/buprenorphine. [Accessed January 21, 2021].
  2. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Sublocade: highlights of prescribing information. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/209819s000lbl.pdf.  [Accessed January 21, 2021]. 
  3. Sublocade.com. How Sublocade works. Undated. Available at: https://www.sublocade.com/how-sublocade-works. [Accessed January 21, 2021]. 
  4. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. FDA approves first once-monthly buprenorphine injection, a medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. November 30, 2017. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-once-monthly-buprenorphine-injection-medication-assisted-treatment-option-opioid. [Accessed January 21, 2021].
  5. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Opioids. Available at: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids. [Accessed January 21, 2021].
  6. Sublocade.com. Frequently asked questions. Undated. Available at: https://www.sublocade.com/frequently-asked-questions. [Accessed January 21, 2021]. 

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