Sublocade Side Effects and Precautions - Suboxone Treatment Clinic

Sublocade was the first extended-release formulation of buprenorphine that was approved to treat opioid use disorder. It comes in the form of a liquid injection that is administered just below the skin on the abdomen. This subcutaneous liquid injection turns into a solid gel-like substance once in the body that is referred to as a depot (dee-poh). The depot slowly releases a steady dose of buprenorphine in the body all month long to alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.

Sublocade, like any medication, may cause side effects. The injection’s side effects are usually minor and resolve on their own within a few days. However, other more serious side effects may warrant medical attention. It’s important that patients who are taking Sublocade stay aware of the potential side effects of the medication as well as potential interactions to avoid and precautions they should take.

Common Side Effects of Sublocade

As an injection that turns into a gel-like substance once administered, the most common side effects involve injection site reactions. Shortly after administration, patients may feel a hard lump on their abdomen where the injection was given. At this location, patients may feel mild to moderate pain, discomfort, and tenderness. Other injection-site reactions that may occur include:

  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Painful to the touch

Injection site reactions are completely normal. The symptoms usually subside within a few days as the depot gets smaller and smaller.

Other common side effects of Sublocade include:

  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue

These side effects are usually mild and subside as the patient gets used to their medication. However, if they persist or become severe, patients may speak with their doctor about switching to a different medication.

Rare Side Effects of Sublocade

Sublocade may also cause rare side effects that range from mild to severe. Rare, yet mild side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Low energy
  • Sweating
  • Blurred vision
  • Generalized weakness
  • False sense of well-being

Other rare side effects may be more severe. The following side effects often warrant a phone call to one’s doctor or a trip to the ER. Rare but serious side effects of Sublocade include:

  • Decreased lung function
  • High alanine/aspartate transaminase levels
  • Adrenal gland problems
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Allergic reaction
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid heartbeat

It’s important to remember that these side effects are extremely rare and that Sublocade is used because the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.

Known Sublocade Drug Interactions

Sublocade may interact adversely with certain drugs or medications. Drug interactions can increase the risk of moderate to severe side effects. Patients should always discuss all of their medications with their doctor to determine whether or not they are a good candidate for Sublocade treatment.

Types of medications and substances Sublocade may interact with include:

  • Opioids – opioid painkillers like hydrocodone and codeine should never be mixed with buprenorphine.
  • Benzodiazepines or sleep aids – depressant medications such as alprazolam, zolpidem, lorazepam, and clonazepam can cause drowsiness or breathing problems when used with Sublocade.
  • Muscle relaxers – medications like carisoprodol and cyclobenzaprine can cause respiratory depression when combined with Sublocade.
  • Antihistamines – using allergy medications such as cetirizine and diphenhydramine while on Sublocade may cause extreme drowsiness.
  • Alcohol – may cause dizziness or fainting when combined with Sublocade.

These medications may also reduce the efficacy of Sublocade.

Precautions When Taking Sublocade

People who have experienced adverse reactions to buprenorphine products (i.e. Suboxone or Subutex) in the past or are allergic to buprenorphine should avoid taking Sublocade. Patients should also talk to their doctor about their medical history before taking this medication. Doctors should be aware of the following conditions in Sublocade candidates:

  • Head injury
  • Seizures
  • Breathing problems
  • Liver disease
  • Mood or mental health conditions
  • Stomach/intestinal problems
  • Difficulty urinating

Patients with liver disease are rarely prescribed Sublocade because buprenorphine can lead to increased liver enzymes. Those with reduced liver function should undergo regular tests to check the levels of their liver enzymes while taking Sublocade.

Lastly, Sublocade is intended only for use in patients who have already been taking buprenorphine for at least seven days. This induction period helps prepare the body for the injection by making sure individuals do not respond badly to buprenorphine. Patients who have not been taking buprenorphine during the detox portion of their care may not be suitable for Sublocade treatment.

Start Sublocade Treatment in Florida Today

Sublocade is not right for everyone, but the benefits of the medication outweigh the potential side effects and risks. Sublocade can help patients cope with lingering withdrawal symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and drug cravings, which can help improve rates of treatment retention and treatment success.

If you or a loved one are addicted to opioids, Sublocade may be right for you. When combined with a comprehensive treatment program consisting of counseling and behavioral therapy, Sublocade can help you live a fulfilling, healthy life in recovery. Our team at Suboxone Palm Beach can help you or a loved one locate a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program near you. Contact us today to get started.