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Addiction Treatment With Sublocade in North Carolina

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Beating opioid addiction can be incredibly difficult. Between the agonizing symptoms of withdrawal and long-lasting drug cravings, staying sober can feel like an impossible feat. Fortunately, there are several medications available that, when combined with a comprehensive treatment program, can improve treatment outcomes and reduce the risk of relapse.

Some of the most widely used opioid addiction treatment medications include Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) and Subutex (buprenorphine). However, buprenorphine can be habit-forming and there is a risk of abuse and dependence.

Recently though, an extended-release injectable form of buprenorphine has been approved by the FDA to treat opioid use disorder. This once-monthly medication, sold under the brand name Sublocade, is administered in a doctor’s office and has very little potential for misuse. When combined with behavioral therapy and counseling, Sublocade can help individuals achieve and maintain recovery.

If you or a loved one are interested in starting Sublocade treatment in North Carolina, please contact us at Carolina Center for Recovery today.

What is Sublocade?

Sublocade is an injectable, extended-release medication containing buprenorphine. It is the very first injectable buprenorphine product that was approved by the FDA in 2017. The creators of Sublocade wanted to offer patients in recovery from opioid use disorders an option that reduced the burden of taking daily medications as well as improving medication adherence.

The injection comes in a pre-filled syringe that is injected subcutaneously (under the skin) by a licensed healthcare professional. The buprenorphine liquid suspension forms a solid deposit called a “depot” under the skin containing buprenorphine. The depot then slowly breaks down, releasing a steady dose of buprenorphine in the body that lasts about one month.

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that binds to and partially activates opioid receptors in the brain. As such, it can reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms and alleviate drug cravings while also blocking the effects of another opioid.

What is Sublocade Treatment Like in North Carolina

Sublocade treatment involves monthly injections, group and individual therapy sessions, and other comprehensive drug and alcohol rehab services. Sublocade alone cannot cure opioid addiction, but it can make recovery feel easier. First, you must detox.

Detox and Buprenorphine Initiation

You must detox fully before starting Sublocade. The injection is meant for people who have been on a steady dose of buprenorphine for at least seven days.[2] As a result, you will likely be treated with Suboxone or Subutex during detox until you’ve been taking buprenorphine for at least a week.

During detox, nurses will monitor your symptoms and doctors can prescribe buprenorphine as well as symptom-specific medications to alleviate any discomfort. 24/7 supervision is provided as well as group and individual therapy sessions.

Monthly Sublocade Injections

After initiating buprenorphine treatment for at least seven days, you will present for your first injection. Your doctor will explain the injection to you, go over any side effects, and answer any questions you may have.

The subcutaneous injection is usually administered on the stomach or abdomen. At least 26 days should pass between each Sublocade injection. If you miss a dose, try to get your dose as soon as possible, preferably within the next two weeks.

Comprehensive Treatment Services

Like other MAT medications, Sublocade should be used as part of a complete substance abuse treatment program that includes behavioral counseling and whole-person support. Treatment may take place on an inpatient or outpatient basis depending on your needs and may consist of:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Mental health counseling
  • Trauma & PTSD therapy
  • Holistic treatments (yoga, massage, exercise, nutrition, and more)
  • Case management
  • Relapse prevention therapy
  • Aftercare planning and support

Sublocade Side Effects

Sublocade comes with a boxed warning that warns against the risks of intravenous self-injection. IV Sublocade use can cause blockages in the circulatory system and tissue damage. The medication must be administered by a healthcare professional for it to be safe and effective.

Sublocade may cause side effects. The most common side effects are injection site reactions such as redness, pain, swelling, itching, and irritation at the injection site. These symptoms are normal and usually subside within a couple of days.

Other common Sublocade side effects include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Abnormal liver function tests

If you have any concerns while on Sublocade, contact your healthcare provider.

What Happens When You Stop Taking Sublocade?

Buprenorphine can be physically habit-forming, so long-term Sublocade use may result in physical dependence. However, withdrawal from Sublocade usually isn’t as severe as opioid withdrawal, and your doctor may help you taper off it to reduce your symptoms even further.

If you do experience Sublocade withdrawal, your symptoms may take up to a month to appear. Symptoms may include:

  • Shaking
  • Goosebumps
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Feeling too hot or too cold
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

If your symptoms are moderate or severe, your doctor can prescribe medications to ease your symptoms.

Find out if Sublocade Treatment in North Carolina is Right for You

Sublocade may not be right for everyone, and you should never start taking Sublocade unless it is prescribed to you by a healthcare provider. If you or a loved one are addicted to opioids, interested in medication-assisted treatment (MAT), or want to learn more about Sublocade, please contact us at Carolina Center for Recovery today. Our dedicated admissions counselors are available now to assess your needs and help you get started on your recovery journey.