Sublocade vs. Suboxone
Both medications are used to minimize withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Suboxone also contains naloxone, which is an opioid antagonist that blocks the activation of opioid receptors and helps prevent misuse.
Sublocade contains only buprenorphine, while Suboxone consists of buprenorphine and naloxone.
The side effects of your prescribed Sublocade or Suboxone regimen may vary, with some people experiencing minimal discomfort and others seeing more severe adverse effects. If you experience Sublocade or Suboxone side effects, contact your provider immediately for guidance or seek emergency medical care. Some side effects to be aware of include:
- Blurred vision
- Muscle aches
- Nausea and vomiting
Since Sublocade is injected into the skin, there are additional side effects that may appear at the injection site, such as:
- Skin hardening
Some people also find that Sublocade treatment makes them feel very drowsy or slows down their reaction time. These side effects may be temporary, and you could see them dissipate within a few days or weeks of starting your Sublocade prescription. If these side effects are particularly bothersome, worsen, or do not go away after several weeks, reach out to your provider for guidance.
In some cases, Suboxone and Sublocade can lead to serious side effects. Be alert for the following adverse effects:
- Low blood pressure
- Stomach pain
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Dark-colored urine
- Pale-colored stool
If you notice any of the above side effects after beginning a Suboxone or Sublocade regimen, contact your provider immediately or seek emergency medical treatment.
Dosage and Forms
Sublocade is delivered as an injection that can only be administered by a licensed medical professional. You will receive an injection in your provider’s office once a month to keep opioid withdrawal symptoms under control. Sublocade is injected into the abdominal wall, and the medication is slowly released over thirty days. The effects of the medication should last the entire month, making it the most convenient form of opioid medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
Sublocade is available in two dosages of buprenorphine:
- 100 mg injection
- 300 mg injection
A Sublocade regimen begins after your provider has ensured you have been stabilized with a minimum of seven days of Suboxone treatment. At this point, you will start with a monthly injection containing 300 mg of Sublocade. Your provider will evaluate your condition after two months and determine whether to decrease your dosage to 100 mg or keep you on the 300 mg injection. If you experience any discomfort after beginning Sublocade treatment, speak with your provider to determine the best course of action.
Suboxone is supplied as a sublingual tablet or film that your provider prescribes. You will either fill the prescription at a licensed pharmacy and follow your provider’s instructions at home or receive your Suboxone treatment in your provider’s office. Suboxone tablets and films are dissolved under the tongue and are typically prescribed as a single daily dose, although your provider may have you take more than one dose during induction as needed.
Suboxone is available in four dosages, all in a 4:1 ratio of buprenorphine to naloxone:
- 2 mg/0.5 mg films or tablets
- 4 mg/1 mg films
- 8 mg/2 mg films or tablets
- 12 mg/3 mg films
A Suboxone regimen usually begins with an induction phase in which your provider starts you on the lowest dose of Suboxone. They may choose to prescribe films or pills for your treatment. An hour or two after your first dose, they will evaluate your condition and may instruct you to take a second 2 mg/0.5 mg dose. During the first day of induction, the typical Suboxone dosage is up to 8 mg/2 mg. By the second day, that dose may go up to 16 mg/4 mg.
Once your provider determines that your condition has stabilized, which is usually by the third day, they will move you into the maintenance phase of treatment. A maintenance dosage typically ranges between 4 mg/1 mg to 24 mg/6 mg daily, with a target dosage of 16 mg/4 mg. Your provider will still monitor you to ensure you receive the optimal dosage of Suboxone to manage your symptoms. If you encounter any discomfort after beginning Suboxone treatment, consult with your provider for advice.