Last week the FDA approved Sublocade, a once monthly injection of extended release buprenorphine, for the treatment of moderate and severe opioid abuse disorder in adults. The injection can only be administered by a healthcare provider and the patient must also enroll in a treatment program that includes counseling and psychosocial support. Sublocade (buprenorphine) works by binding and occupying opioid receptors in the brain and preventing true opioids (heroin/painkillers/etc) from binding and having effect for 30 days. The net result is that with the opioid receptors occupied, drug abusers begin to stop liking and wanting opioids, allowing them to break the cycle of addiction with the combined counseling and therapy. It is estimated by the CDC that from 2000-2015 more than 500,000 people have died from drug overdose, and in 2017 an average of 91 Americans die from an opioid overdose daily. Sublocade is set to become available in early 2018.
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Do you have any patients, family, or friends struggling with opioid addiction who could benefit from treatment with Sublocade? What plans need to be put into place for the dispensing and administration of Sublocade at the retail level?