• Clinical Insights

Frequently asked questions: buprenorphine-containing products

Mar 6th, 2023

Have questions on buprenorphine-containing products?
You’re not alone.

See below for answers to your common questions surrounding these popular medication-assisted treatment prescriptions.

  • What is buprenorphine and what is it used for?
    • Buprenorphine is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medication used to treat opioid use disorder (OUD). It is the first medication for treating OUD that can be prescribed and/or dispensed in physician offices, significantly increasing access to treatment for OUD.
  • What is Suboxone® and what is it used for?
    • Suboxone® is a medicine that fuses buprenorphine and naloxone – a medication used to reverse or reduce the effects of opioids – that works to decrease the severity of withdrawal symptoms and reduce a patient’s dependence on opioids.
  • What is Sublocade® and what is it used for?
    • Sublocade® is an extended-release form of buprenorphine that continuously releases and sustains medicine levels throughout the month. It blocks the rewarding effects of opioids, and when paired with a full treatment plan can be an effective tool in combatting opioid use disorder. Prior to starting the injectable Sublocade®, a prescriber must induce and adjust treatment with eight to 24 milligrams of a transmucosal buprenorphine-containing product for a minimum of seven days to ensure tolerability.
  • How is Sublocade® administered?
    • Sublocade® is injected subcutaneously by a treatment provider as a liquid and, once inside the body, turns to a solid gel called a depot. The depot gradually releases buprenorphine at a controlled rate all month. Please note – pharmacists are not currently permitted to administer Sublocade®.
  • Is Sublocade® a part of a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) program?
    • Yes, for safety reasons Sublocade® is included in a REMS program. Only certain pharmacies can dispense Sublocade® and it can only be dispensed to a licensed medical provider, not to individual consumers. Furthermore, Sublocade® can only be delivered to a prescriber’s DEA registered address.
  • Why does the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) recommend a medical exam before prescribing Suboxone®?
    • Patients living with opioid use disorder often have comorbidities or other health concerns that are occurring alongside their opioid use disorder diagnosis. Additionally, anytime you start a patient on a new drug therapy, its best to have a baseline understanding of the patient’s health profile. For these reasons and more, a medical exam is recommended before prescribing Suboxone® for a patient.
  • Are patients billed directly for Sublocade® treatment?
    • Yes, the patient’s insurance plan is billed directly

Want to learn more?

Curious how medication-assisted treatment can help support your patients? Contact us today and we’ll be in touch.

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