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Buprenorphine (injection - Sublocade)

Generic Name: buprenorphine (injection - Sublocade) (BUE pre NOR feen)
Brand Name: Sublocade

Medically reviewed on January 9, 2018

What is Sublocade (buprenorphine)?

Buprenorphine is an opioid medication, sometimes called a narcotic.

This medication guide provides information about the Sublocade brand of buprenorphine injection. Buprenex is another brand of buprenorphine injection that is used to treat moderate to severe pain.

Sublocade is used to treat opioid addiction. Sublocade is not for use as a pain medication.

Sublocade is given to people who have started addiction treatment with an oral form of buprenorphine placed under the tongue or inside the cheek (such as Suboxone or Subutex).

Sublocade is available only in a certified healthcare setting under a special program. You will not be able to give yourself buprenorphine.

Sublocade may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Sublocade is available only in a certified healthcare setting under a special program. You will not be able to give yourself this medicine.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use buprenorphine if you are allergic to buprenorphine. You will not receive Sublocade unless you have already been using oral buprenorphine for at least 7 days in a row.

To make sure Sublocade is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Some medicines can interact with buprenorphine and cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Be sure your doctor knows if you also take stimulant medicine, herbal products, or medicine for depression, mental illness, Parkinson's disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting. Ask your doctor before making any changes in how or when you take your medications.

If you use Sublocade while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Sublocade can pass into breast milk and may cause drowsiness, and breathing problems in a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.

Sublocade is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

How is Sublocade given?

Sublocade is injected under the skin once per month. A healthcare provider will give you this injection. You should not give yourself this medicine.

Sublocade should never be injected into a vein or a muscle. This medicine is for injection only under the skin. Sublocade forms a solid mass when it comes into contact with a bodily fluid such as blood. Injecting Sublocade into a vein or muscle could result in damage to the skin or underlying tissues, as well as a blood clot that could travel to the lungs and cause death.

After each injection, you may see or feel a small lump under your skin where the medicine was injected. This could last for several weeks but the lump should eventually get smaller. Avoid rubbing or massaging the lump, or wearing tight clothing over the area.

At least 26 days should pass between each injection of Sublocade.

Sublocade is only part of a complete treatment program that may also include counseling and other types of addiction support. Tell your doctor if you feel that this medicine is not helping to improve your symptoms of addiction.

You will need frequent blood tests to check your liver function.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using Sublocade.

Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you are being treated for opioid addiction and that you are receiving Sublocade. Make sure your family members know how to provide this information in case they need to speak for you during an emergency.

Do not stop receiving Sublocade suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your Sublocade injection.

What happens if I overdose?

Since buprenorphine is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid while receiving Sublocade?

This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how Sublocade will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.

Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.

Avoid using any opioid pain medicine without approval from the doctor who is treating you with Sublocade. Opioid pain medicine will not work as well while you are receiving Sublocade. Talk with your doctor about other options for pain relief while you are using Sublocade.

Sublocade side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, itching; severe dizziness; wheezing, difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • weak or shallow breathing;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • opioid withdrawal symptoms--shivering, goose bumps, increased sweating, feeling hot or cold, runny nose, watery eyes, diarrhea, vomiting;

  • liver problems--loss of appetite, upper stomach pain, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or

  • low cortisol levels-- nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening tiredness or weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Serious side effects may be more likely in older adults.

Long-term use of opioid medication may affect fertility (ability to have children) in men or women. It is not known whether opioid effects on fertility are permanent.

Common side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Sublocade?

Narcotic (opioid) medication can interact with many other drugs and cause dangerous side effects or death. Be sure your doctor knows if you also use:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with Sublocade, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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