Suboxone vs. Sublocade - Suboxone Treatment Clinic in Palm Beach

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction incorporates the use of medications to limit symptoms of withdrawal and stop the patient from experiencing cravings for opioids. Two of the most common medications utilized in MAT are known as Suboxone and Sublocade. While these medications produce similar results, it’s important to know the key differences between the two substances before choosing one.

These medications must be prescribed by a doctor and are typically used during professional opioid addiction treatment. When used as prescribed, these medications provide patients with higher rates of success in treatment and an increased chance of long-term sobriety.

Suboxone and Sublocade both help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms in people recovering from opioid addiction. However, each medication has different compositions, methods of administration, dosage, and timelines for treatment. Depending on the individual, one medication may be more convenient than the other.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone contains two main ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine works to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings. On the other hand, naloxone is a medication that reverses opioid overdoses by binding to opioid receptors, preventing other opioids from being able to bind to them.[1] As a result, if an individual relapsed while taking Suboxone, they would not be able to get high and would potentially avoid a fatal overdose.

Side Effects of Suboxone

Like any medication, Suboxone comes with some side effects to be aware of. If an individual experiences the common side effects of Suboxone, they should subside within a week or two.

The side effects of Suboxone include:

  • Anxiety or depression
  • Fatigue or insomnia
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Sweating

What is Sublocade?

Sublocade is a newer medication that was approved in 2017. Similar to Suboxone, Sublocade contains buprenorphine. As mentioned previously, buprenorphine reduces opioid withdrawal symptoms and blocks cravings from occurring. This is because buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, meaning it only partially activates opioid receptors in the nervous system. Only full opioid agonists like heroin, oxycodone, or morphine create the euphoric and sedative high that users crave. In other words, buprenorphine does not get patients high even though it is technically an opioid.

Side Effects of Sublocade

Similar to Suboxone, Sublocade has a few common side effects to be aware of.

The common side effects of the Sublocade injection include:

  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Itching or pain at the injection site
  • Increased liver enzymes
  • Fatigue

The Differences Between Suboxone and Sublocade

While Suboxone and Sublocade are prescribed to treat the same things, there are some key differences to be aware of. The obvious differences in the two medications are the active ingredients, as Suboxone contains buprenorphine and naloxone while Sublocade only contains buprenorphine. With that being said, let’s take a look at the other differences between Suboxone and Sublocade.


While Suboxone has been used in opioid addiction treatment since 2002, Sublocade was approved in 2017. Oftentimes, people are confused about the differences between the two medications. The main difference between these medications is each drug’s composition. Suboxone contains two main active ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone. On the other hand, Sublocade only contains buprenorphine.

Method of Use and Dosages

The way that the two medications are administered is also a major difference to be aware of. For example, Suboxone is a film that patients put under their tongues while Sublocade is an injection.[2] Additionally, the dosages for these medications are different. Sublocade is administered as an injection once a month, while Suboxone is consumed daily as a single dose.

Because Sublocade is injected into the patient’s skin, it is only administered by a certified health care professional. While Suboxone must be prescribed by a certified health professional, patients may take this medication at home or under the care of an addiction professional.

Timeline of Prescriptions

The timeline of when these medications are prescribed also differs. Suboxone is prescribed early in a patient’s treatment plan, while Sublocade is prescribed to patients after they have been on Suboxone or another buprenorphine treatment for seven days. This is done to ensure that the patient is tolerating the drug well before they commit to a monthly injection.

Some patients prefer Sublocade as it is more convenient to take the medication once a month, rather than every day. On the other hand, some individuals may be attracted to the idea of being able to take Suboxone within the comfort of their own homes. However, taking the monthly injection eliminates the risk of buprenorphine abuse, as the individual only has access to an injection once a month.

Finding Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction

If you or a loved one suffer from opioid addiction and have tried traditional addiction treatment, it may be time to consider medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid abuse. MAT for opioid addiction combines the use of prescription medication and evidence-based therapy to effectively treat opioid use disorder.[3]

At Suboxone Clinic of Palm Beach, we understand how crucial it is to receive professional and effective addiction treatment care. By combining evidence-based therapies, FDA-approved medications, and a safe and supportive setting, we provide our patients with the best care possible. Contact us for more information on how to begin medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction.