Sublocade (buprenorphine) and Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) are brand-name prescription medications. They’re approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat opioid use disorder (OUD). With this condition, you feel unable to stop taking opioids even though they may be causing harm.
This article explains what’s mainly the same and different between Sublocade and Suboxone. If you’re considering taking either medication, review this information with your doctor. They can help determine whether Sublocade or Suboxone may be better than the other for you.
Key differences between Sublocade and Suboxone
These are a few of the main differences between Sublocade and Suboxone:
- Active ingredients: Sublocade and Suboxone both contain buprenorphine as an active ingredient. Suboxone also contains another active ingredient called naloxone. (See “Generics: Sublocade and Suboxone” below.)
- Dosage: Sublocade is taken less often than Suboxone. (See “Dosage, forms, and administration” below.)
- Forms: Sublocade is given as subcutaneous injections. Suboxone comes as oral films that dissolve in your mouth. (See “Dosage, forms, and administration” below.)
Below are answers to some common questions about Sublocade and Suboxone.
How do Sublocade and Suboxone compare with Subutex?
Sublocade and Suboxone are medications approved to treat opioid use disorder (OUD). Subutex is a medication that was once available to treat OUD, but it’s been discontinued. Below are a few other ways Sublocade and Suboxone compare with Subutex.
Suboxone contains buprenorphine and naloxone as its active ingredients. The drug comes as an oral film that dissolves under your tongue or between your gums and cheek. Suboxone is available as a generic medication called buprenorphine/naloxone.
Subutex was a brand-name drug that contained buprenorphine as its active ingredient. It came as a tablet that dissolved under your tongue. However, Subutex is no longer available. Its active drug is available as a generic medication called buprenorphine. This generic version comes as a tablet that dissolves under your tongue.
To learn more about Sublocade, Suboxone, and Subutex, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Can I take Sublocade and Suboxone at the same time?
No, it’s not likely. Your doctor probably won’t prescribe these medications for you at the same time. This is because Sublocade and Suboxone both contain buprenorphine as an active ingredient. Treatment with both drugs at the same time could increase your risk of side effects.*
However, you may be able to switch from one medication to the other. (See “Switching between Sublocade and Suboxone” below.) To learn more about this, talk with your doctor.
Here’s information about the generic status for Sublocade and Suboxone, as well their active ingredients.
|Drug class||partial opioid agonist||partial opioid agonist/opioid antagonist|
The generic version of Suboxone is called buprenorphine/naloxone.
Sublocade and Suboxone have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) in adults. With this condition, you feel unable to stop taking opioids even though they may be causing harm.
Both Sublocade and Suboxone are prescribed in combination with counseling and other mental health support.
Here’s a quick look at the dosage and administration of Sublocade and Suboxone for the conditions both drugs treat.
Dosage for opioid use disorder
Below are the dosages of Sublocade and Suboxone for opioid use disorder (OUD). Milligrams and milliliters are abbreviated as “mg” and “mL.”
|Sublocade for OUD||Suboxone for OUD|
|Forms||liquid solution given by subcutaneous injection||oral film that dissolves under your tongue or between your gums and cheek|
|Strengths||• 100 mg per 0.5 mL |
• 300 mg per 1.5 mL
|• 2 mg buprenorphine/0.5 mg naloxone |
• 4 mg buprenorphine/1 mg naloxone
• 8 mg buprenorphine/2 mg naloxone
• 12 mg buprenorphine/3 mg naloxone
|Dose||• starting dose: 300 mg for 2 months |
• maintenance dose: 100 mg, starting in the third month
|• starting dose: |
￮ day 1: up to 8 mg buprenorphine/2 mg naloxone
￮ day 2: up to 16 mg buprenorphine/4 mg naloxone
• maintenance dose: up to 16 mg buprenorphine/4 mg naloxone, starting on the third day
|Frequency||once monthly||• starting dose: |
￮ day 1: given in divided doses as often as every 2 hours
￮ day 2: given as a single dose
• maintenance dose: once daily
|Given by||healthcare professional (see below)||self (see below)|
You’ll receive Sublocade injections from a healthcare professional in a doctor’s office or clinic. You won’t give yourself injections of Sublocade.
Your first few doses of Suboxone may be given in a doctor’s office or clinic. In this situation, your doctor will decide when you can continue Suboxone treatment at home. If you have questions about whether you’ll take Suboxone at home, talk with your doctor.
Both Sublocade and Suboxone are approved to treat opioid use disorder. These drugs can cause some of the same side effects, as well as some different ones. Some of the side effects reported in clinical trials of these drugs are mentioned below.
To learn more about side effects of the two drugs, see our Sublocade and Suboxone articles. You can also refer to the Sublocade prescribing information and Suboxone prescribing information. This information contains details about the drugs’ clinical trials.
Mild side effects
The following table lists some of the more commonly reported mild side effects of Sublocade and Suboxone. The table may also include less common mild side effects that you might have concerns about in some cases.
|Mild side effects||Sublocade||Suboxone|
|digestive problems, such as constipation, nausea, and vomiting||✓||✓|
|feeling dizzy or lightheaded||✓||✓|
|burning, redness, or numbness in your mouth or tongue||✓|
|discoloration, itching, or pain around the injection site||✓|
|mild allergic reaction*||✓||✓|
These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. If the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
* An allergic reaction is possible after taking Sublocade or Suboxone, but it’s not clear whether this side effect occurred in clinical trials.
Serious side effects
The following table lists the reported serious side effects of Sublocade and Suboxone.
|Serious side effects||Sublocade||Suboxone|
|risk of serious harm or death if injected into a vein*||✓|
|risk of misuse and dependence||✓||✓|
|liver problems, such as hepatitis||✓||✓|
|respiratory depression (shallow, slow breathing)||✓||✓|
|adrenal insufficiency (low level of adrenal hormones, such as cortisol)||✓||✓|
|severe allergic reaction†||✓||✓|
If you have serious side effects with Sublocade or Suboxone, call your doctor immediately. If the side effects feel life threatening or you believe you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number right away.
* Sublocade has a
† An allergic reaction is possible after taking Sublocade or Suboxone, but it’s not clear whether this side effect occurred in clinical trials.
Keep reading to learn more about the effectiveness of Sublocade and Suboxone.
Prescribing information. For information about how these drugs performed in clinical trials, see the prescribing information for Sublocade and Suboxone. Keep in mind that trial results may not apply to your individual health situation.
Treatment guidelines. Another way to see whether a drug is considered effective is to look at treatment guidelines. When an organization includes certain drugs in treatment guidelines, this means that research has shown the drug to be safe and effective.
Guidelines from the American Society of Addiction Medicine recommend buprenorphine as a treatment option for people with opioid use disorder. This recommendation includes both Sublocade and Suboxone, which contain buprenorphine as an active ingredient.
How much Sublocade and Suboxone cost depends on the treatment plan your doctor prescribes and your insurance plan. The cost of Sublocade will also depend on the cost of the visit to a healthcare professional to receive doses of the drug. In addition, the cost of Suboxone will depend on your pharmacy.
Both Sublocade and Suboxone are brand-name drugs. Sublocade does not come in generic form, while Suboxone does. Brand-name medications are often more expensive than generics. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to learn about the generic form of Suboxone, which is called buprenorphine/naloxone.
You can also refer to this article for information about Suboxone and Medicare.
Sublocade and Suboxone may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. The two drugs share some of the same precautions, but they also have different ones. Some of these precautions are mentioned below.
Boxed warning: Risk of serious harm or death if injected into a vein
Sublocade has a
Sublocade forms a solid mass after it’s injected. If given as an IV injection, the drug could block the blood flow through your veins. Reduced blood flow could lead to serious conditions such as blood clots and damage to the tissue around the injection site. These conditions may, in some cases, be fatal. Your doctor can tell you more.
Due to this risk, Sublocade is available only through the Sublocade risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) program. This REMS program helps ensure that Sublocade is prescribed and injected safely.
You’ll receive Sublocade injections in a doctor’s office or clinic. The location where you receive the injection must be certified through the REMS program.
Where to find more information
To learn more about this risk and the Sublocade REMS program, talk with your doctor. You can also call 866-258-3905 or visit the Sublocade REMS website.
In addition to boxed warnings, Sublocade and Suboxone have other warnings.
If any of the following medical conditions or other health factors are relevant to you, talk with your doctor before taking Sublocade or Suboxone.
|if you’ve had an allergic reaction to either drug or any of its ingredients||✓||✓|
|if you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant*||✓||✓|
|if you’re breastfeeding or thinking about breastfeeding||✓||✓|
|if you have a lung condition, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma||✓||✓|
|if you have a brain problem or head injury, or recently had either condition||✓||✓|
|if you have gallbladder problems||✓||✓|
|if you have liver problems, such as hepatitis||✓||✓|
|if you have an abnormal heart rhythm||✓||✓|
* Taking Sublocade or Suboxone while pregnant can lead to neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome in newborns. To learn more about this condition, see the pregnancy sections in these articles about Sublocade and Suboxone.
Switching between Sublocade and Suboxone is possible.
If you’d like to know more about switching between Sublocade and Suboxone, talk with your doctor. They can give you additional details and help determine the best course of action for your personal situation.
Even if two drugs treat the same condition or are in the same drug class, your body can still respond differently. It’s important that you do not stop, start, or switch any of your drug treatments without your doctor’s recommendation.
Some key points to remember when comparing Sublocade and Suboxone include:
- Both Sublocade and Suboxone contain an active ingredient called buprenorphine. In addition, Suboxone contains naloxone as an active ingredient.
- Sublocade is given monthly as a subcutaneous injection. Suboxone comes as an oral film and is taken daily.
If you’d like to learn more about Sublocade or Suboxone, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about similarities and differences between the drugs. They can also help determine whether one drug or the other might work well for you.
Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.