The FDA has approved a once-monthly injectable drug, called Sublocade, in order to treat opioid use disorder and fight the nation’s opioid epidemic. The drug will be used to treat moderate to severe opioid use disorder. Sublocade will help patients ease their withdrawal symptoms.
The new buprenorphine treatment provides an option for patients to receive treatment once a month, instead of using tablets or film that dissolve in the mouth. This will remove the burden of having to take a medication daily as prescribed.
The treatment is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2018.
There are currently three opioid use disorder medications available
The three opioid withdrawal medications available are buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. Sublocade will treat opioid withdrawal symptoms, by utilizing buprenorphine.
“Given the scale of the opioid crisis, with millions of Americans already affected, the FDA is committed to expanding access to treatments that can help people pursue lives of sobriety,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “Everyone who seeks treatment for opioid use disorder deserves the opportunity to be offered the treatment best suited to the needs of each individual patient, in combination with counseling and psychosocial support, as part of a comprehensive recovery plan.”
How Sublocade was evaluated
The evaluation of Sublocade took place in two clinical studies of 848 adults that have been diagnosed with moderate to severe opioid use disorder. The results indicated that patients treated with Sublocade had more weeks without positive urine tests or self-reports of opioid use.
“As part of our ongoing work in supporting the treatment of those suffering from addiction to opioids, the FDA plans to issue guidance to expedite the development of new addiction treatment options,” explained Gottlieb. “We’ll continue to pursue efforts to promote more widespread use of existing, safe and effective FDA-approved therapies to treat addiction.”
What will Sublocade cost?
It is unclear how much the drug will cost, since it was just approved this past week. You can continue to monitor our blog, or subscribe to our email newsletter, to receive updates on Sublocade’s price and availability.
Similar treatments, like Buprenorphine HCL, cost around $100 for 60 tablets.
The new drug does come with some common side effects. Those include constipation, nausea, vomiting, headache, drowsiness, injection site pain, itching at the injection site, and abnormal liver tests.
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