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Sublocade Now Available

Sublocade is a newly released medication alternative for treating opioid addiction. It is a product of Indivior, the pharmaceutical company responsible for Suboxone. Sublocade is a once monthly injection of time-released buprenorphine typically provided to patients who have been receiving buprenorphine for at least (7) days and who are stable on their medication.

The injection is subcutaneous (under the skin). The medication gradually breaks down (biodegrades) and releases buprenorphine for 30 days so that opioid withdrawal symptoms are effectively managed.




Sublocade was FDA-approved in the United States in late November 2017 and is presently available. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is making a concerted effort to address the ongoing opioid epidemic by making medication-assisted therapies available across the country. More information about Sublocade can be found on the Indivior website.

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Ohio Increases Buprenorphine Access

In 2017, Ohio increased its number of buprenorphine-approved prescribers by 266. This was the result of a $2.3 million dollar Federal grant that provided state-wide training to doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants as reported by Cleveland.com.

Historically, Ohio had numerous communities that were underserved with 19 counties having no buprenorphine providers at the beginning of 2017. The number of counties without buprenorphine access has presently been dropped to just 10. This increase in approved Ohio physicians will allow many more individuals to gain access to life-saving opioid addiction treatment.




The linked article above reports that additional trainings will be made available in 2018 in order to bring buprenorphine services to all areas of Ohio. In related news, a National Budget proposal aims to earmark $13 billion in new funding over years 2018 and 2019 in order to fight back the ongoing opioid crisis. How much money is ultimately allocated for this purpose will be determined by Congress.

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Comparing Buprenorphine and Methadone

Buprenorphine and methadone are the two leading medications available for the treatment of opioid addiction. Their primary medical benefit is their ability to eliminate opioid withdrawal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, runny nose, chills, sweating, muscle ache, cramps, anxiety, agitation, and sleeplessness.

Buprenorphine and methadone are FDA-approved and have been in use for a combined 50+ years. Scientific research has proven the effectiveness of both medications, and they have been deemed a best practice treatment intervention by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Methadone is a full opioid agonist whereas buprenorphine is categorized as a partial opioid agonist. Because of this, buprenorphine has a better safety profile and has less potential for overdose than does methadone. Buprenorphine’s improved safety profile allows it to be offered by prescription from a physician’s office. Methadone is more highly regulated and must be administered every day in a clinic setting.

Being able to take buprenorphine products at home (like Suboxone) provides much more convenience for those individuals with daytime jobs and other pressing responsibilities. Patients receiving methadone must report in to a clinic each day and be observed taking their methadone medication. Buprenorphine-based products like Suboxone or Probuphine do not require the patient to report in daily to a clinic.

Buprenorphine is often taken orally as a tablet (Subutex) or thin film (Suboxone) where it is dissolved sublingually (under the tongue). Methadone is typically dispensed as a liquid that is swallowed. Probuphine (which contains buprenorphine) is a relatively new time-released medication that in inserted under the skin.

More information on this topic is available at SAMHSA and Methadone.US.