How Does Sublocade® Work?

How Does Sublocade® Work?

Opioid addiction is a complex disorder with physical, mental, and emotional elements. It changes the way you think and feel, and it’s characterized by a strong urge to keep using the drug, no matter the cost.

While it might seem counterintuitive to use prescription drugs to treat a drug addiction like opioid use disorder, medications like Suboxone® and Sublocade® can actually increase your chances of kicking the addiction for good.

Daniel J. Headrick, MD, is an addiction recovery specialist. Alongside our team at Headrick Medical Center, he works with people from all walks of life to help them overcome opioid use disorder, using the latest medical technologies available.

Like any addiction, recovering from opioid addiction takes commitment — but you don’t have to do it alone. Read on to learn more about the steps to recovery and how Sublocade® can help you achieve lasting success.

Your comprehensive opioid treatment plan

Opioid addiction profoundly affects the way your body functions. Recovery is a multi-step process, and Dr. Headrick develops your recovery plan with your unique health needs in mind.

Suboxone: support during withdrawal

When you stop using opioids, your body enters withdrawal. Symptoms typically appear within the first 24 hours. They can gradually worsen over the next day or so, but typically start improving in about 72 hours.

Withdrawal and detoxification can be intense, so it’s important to be prepared. At Headrick Medical Center, we offer Suboxone as part of our medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program for people going through withdrawal.

Suboxone contains buprenorphine and naloxone. It’s a partial opioid agonist, which means it blocks the effects of opioids to help prevent cravings. It can also minimize withdrawal symptoms, making it a useful tool for people struggling with opioid withdrawal in the first phase of recovery.

Suboxone is a transmucosal medication, which means it dissolves under your tongue or inside your cheek. Our team may prescribe it for about a week, and we monitor you closely during treatment.

Sublocade: maintaining longer-term success

Sublocade is also buprenorphine, but it’s an extended-release version that’s meant for the maintenance phase of recovery. Once you go through withdrawal and your body has detoxed, you transition to the maintenance phase.

During this phase, you attend counseling, group therapy sessions, and regular doctor’s appointments. You learn how to change your behaviors to avoid relapse and addiction in the future, and sublocade could help you stay focused on your goals.

Like Suboxone, Sublocade blocks the effects of opioids. It reduces cravings and prevents the positive associations the drugs once had, so you can focus on behavioral therapy.

How Sublocade works

Dr. Headrick may prescribe Sublocade once your withdrawal symptoms are under control and you enter the maintenance phase of recovery from opioid use disorder.

Sublocade is an injection that must be given by a healthcare provider. You come into the office every 30 days or so during treatment, and we administer the injection under your skin.

Buprenorphine works in a similar way to opioid medication. It bonds with opioid receptors in your brain, but it triggers fewer endorphins. The result is a reduced “high,” and it can effectively block the effects of stronger opioid medications. 

Since Sublocade is slow-release buprenorphine, it reduces cravings and minimizes the pleasurable effects of opioid use over the course of the next month. Dr. Headrick and our team work with you closely during treatment, and we help you decide when it’s safe to stop the medication.

Both Suboxone and Sublocade may cause side effects. It’s important to maintain regular appointments with your doctor and participate fully in your recovery program while taking these medications. If you experience side effects, talk to Dr. Headrick and our team about your options.

Ready to learn more about how Sublocade could support your recovery from opioid use disorder? Schedule a confidential consultation at Headrick Medical Center. Call our office at 949-220-2412 or request more information online now.

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