Grey Bruce Health Services has started offering a new treatment to help patients with an opioid addiction. The medication is called Sublocade, and is prescribed to patients who are addicted to heroin, oxycodone and other opioids. The benefit of Sublocade is in the delivery – it is injected into the patients’ abdomen once per month, and gets released slowly over 30 days to reduce cravings, prevent withdrawal symptoms, and ideally, help people get off opioids.
The main ingredient in Sublocade is Buprenorphine, which is also in Suboxone, another medication used to treat opioid addiction.
“This new drug is a huge benefit over Suboxone, which has to be taken every day,” said Naomi Vodden, Director of Mental Health Services at GBHS. “By providing Sublocade to patients once a month, individuals no longer have to face the stigma of coming daily to a pharmacy for their medication. It is far less disruptive for individuals, many of whom struggle to find transportation, and there is less chance that patients will skip their dose when it is only has to be taken once per month.”
Sublocade is available at the GBHS RAAM (Rapid Access Addiction Medicine) clinic, which offers support to those suffering with addiction issues.
RAAM clinic staff work with clients taking Sublocade and encourage them to see a primary care provider for follow up. Initial reports suggest there is an increase in abstinence with those taking the monthly injection, and that clients get to a steady state more quickly in their journey to recovery.
The provincial government recently announced that Sublocade is now fully covered under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program and the Ontario Disability Support Program. For more information on the GBHS RAAM clinic and Sublocade, please visit the GBHS website.