A subcutaneous solution to opioid addiction treatment
What do surgical implants have to do with opioid addiction treatment? By placing an implant device under the skin to steadily release medication, we solve many problems. The medication works better, the patient does not have to remember to take daily meds. Additionally, the doctor and loved ones don’t have to worry about the patient misusing their meds. Unfortunately, there are problems with implant surgeries. The doctor must cut the patient’s skin to implant a medical device. After therapy is complete, the doctor must cut again to get it out. Hence, a non-surgical solution is the holy grail of implant therapies.
Why is it a problem to do implant surgeries?
Surgeries always come with risks. While minor operations are fairly safe, problems can still occur. Scarring, infections, nerve damage and pain are some of the dangers of even small surgeries. When cutting through skin and working around nerves and arteries and other sensitive tissues, the doctor must exercise extreme care.
What if there were another way?
Imagine if a doctor could place an implant under the skin without any cutting. While you may think this is impossible, it is already being done. Thanks to a miracle of modern chemistry and technology, doctors are already inserting a medication releasing implant device without any surgery. In fact, this implant replaces the need to take daily Suboxone for opioid addiction.
What is Atrigel and how does it allow for non-surgical implanting of a medication device?
This incredible substance that is a key component of Sublocade starts out as a liquid. When the Sublocade injection arrives at a doctor’s office, it is a liquid in a pre-filled syringe. After the doctor injects it under the patient’s skin, it immediately becomes a solid structure. Hence, the liquid injection touches human tissues and becomes a solid. This solid material releases buprenorphine in a very controlled manner. When the patient returns the next month, you can still feel the solid under the skin. It often feels like a solid disc. In fact, you may think that it feels like an implanted device. It would not be incorrect to say that it literally is an implant.
How does the “implant” get removed?
Fortunately, you do not have to worry about removal. The solid created by Sublocade will dissolve away over time. This takes care of how to get it out. It simply goes away on its own.
Is this the future of opioid addiction treatment?
Sublocade is a huge leap forward in opioid addiction treatment. Yet, while it does work very well, there are some drawbacks. The injection does hurt going in. This is understandable, considering that it is transforming from liquid to solid as it is injected. The pain does subside quickly, after a few minutes. Other issues are mainly related to insurance coverage and getting specialty pharmacies to fill the prescription on time every month. I believe that all of these issues will be resolved over time. The age of the non-surgical implant is now here.