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Sublocade Dosing & Administration Guide

Danny Nieves-Kim, MD profile image
By Danny Nieves-Kim, MD • Updated Oct 10, 2023 • 3 cited sources

Sublocade is an injectable form of buprenorphine. Doctors can choose from two dosages: 100 mg or 300 mg.[2]

Your doctor will observe your symptoms closely. You’ll explain the problems you’re feeling. Together, you’ll find a dose that works for you. 

What Is Sublocade?

Sublocade is a brand-name, injectable form of buprenorphine. It’s used as part of a Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) program. For people with opioid use disorder, MAT is the gold standard of treatment. Unfortunately, few people use it.[1]

Buprenorphine attaches to the same receptors used by opioid drugs. It eases cravings, reduces withdrawal symptoms, and offers overdose protection. 

When used in an MAT program, buprenorphine can reinforce lessons you learn in therapy and offer another tool you can use to stay sober. Since your opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings will be controlled, you’ll be better able to focus on the work you are doing in therapy.

Sublocade comes pre-loaded in syringes. Two dosages are available:[2]

  • 100 mg
  • 300 mg 

No other active ingredients are in these syringes. Since no abuse protection is included, this isn’t a medication you can use at home. A doctor must administer each drug dose, but since it’s on a monthly schedule, most people find these visits manageable.

What Is Sublocade’s Typical Dose? 

You can’t use Sublocade to ease your initial detox from drugs. You must use an oral drug (like Suboxone) that offers more dose flexibility. When you’re secure in buprenorphine therapy, you can start Sublocade at the manufacturer’s recommended dose. 

Your treatment program might look like the following:[2]

  • Month 1: 300 mg injection
  • Month 2: 300 mg injection 
  • Month 3: 100 mg injection 

You’ll continue with a 100 mg per month injection as long as you’re enrolled in MAT. If you must travel and will miss a dose, you can use a 300 mg dose to prepare.[2] But otherwise, you’ll visit your doctor monthly for your 100 mg shot. 

How Do Doctors Determine Your Dose?

MAT is an effective way to address opioid misuse.[3] But you must have the right dose for full protection. Otherwise, you could be tempted to return to opioid misuse. 

Is Your Dose Too Low?

Your Sublocade dose could be too low if you experience the following symptoms:[2]

  • Cravings for opioids: If your thoughts are filled with drugs, or you find yourself actively planning a return to opioid misuse, you are at risk for relapse. 
  • Withdrawal symptoms: If you experience flu-like symptoms (such as nausea, diarrhea or anxiety), you could need more help. Your doctor may adjust your Sublocade dose accordingly.
  • Relapse: Returning to opioid misuse is the clearest sign that your Sublocade dose isn’t strong enough to help you. Talk to your doctor if you feel like relapse is likely. 

Your MAT provider may offer routine drug screening tests to ensure you’re not misusing opioids. If you test positive for drugs, your doctor will discuss those results and the additional support you need to stay sober. 

But many of your low-dose signs are invisible. You must be honest with your doctor about your thoughts and feelings. 

Is Your Dose Too High?

If you’re using too much Sublocade, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Sedation 
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of coordination 

Talk with your doctor if you experience these signs. You may need to adjust your dose or find a new MAT solution. 

Common Factors That Affect Your Sublocade Dosage 

Every person is different, and so are the doses they need to stay sober. Plenty of factors influence how large your Sublocade dose should be.

Known factors that influence how much Sublocade you should take include the following:

  • Your height and weight 
  • Your metabolism 
  • Your age and overall health 
  • How long you’ve used opioids
  • How much you took regularly 
  • Your MAT history and buprenorphine tolerance 

Work closely with your MAT provider, and you can find a dose that’s just right for your body.

By Danny Nieves-Kim, MD

... Read More

  1. Heidbreder C, Fudala PJ, Greenwald MK. History of the discovery, development, and FDA-approval of buprenorphine medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder. Drug Alcohol Depend Rep. 2023;6:100133. Published 2023 Jan 10. doi:10.1016/j.dadr.2023.100133 
  2. Suboxone prescribing information. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Published March 2021. Accessed August 17, 2023.
  3. Effective treatments for opioid addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Published November 2016. Accessed August 17, 2023.

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