Senate Bill 2680, opioid addiction treatment and Sublocade
There is a bill in congress now known as Senate Bill 2680. Could it possibly earn the nickname, “The Sublocade Senate Bill”? I believe that it could.
Sublocade is the new Suboxone
If you haven’t heard, Sublocade is the new, game-changing monthly injectable buprenorphine. It was just approved for use by the FDA in March of 2018. While Sublocade use is off to a slow start, it is clearly the future of opioid addiction treatment.
Why is Sublocade the future of MAT for OUD?
Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder is increasingly being done with buprenorphine-based medications. Yet, the most well known, Suboxone, has an inefficient delivery system. While the tablets and films contain up to 8mg of buprenorphine, only about 30% actually gets absorbed. This is due to the fact that it must be placed under the tongue every day to dissolve. Sublocade is a monthly injection. It solves many problems that have plagued Suboxone.
The many benefits of Sublocade
Sublocade is easy to administer. It is a simple injection, just under the skin. The needle is small, like an insulin needle. The pharmacy ships the medicine to the doctor and the patient gets the shot in the office. Law enforcement concerns about diversion by the patient are no longer an issue. Pharmacy hassles are a thing of the past. Gone are the problems of safe storage and worries over loss and theft. There will be no more keeping meds in a lockbox under the bed. The fear of police stops while possessing prescribed medication will no longer be a concern.
So why would 2680 be called the Sublocade Senate Bill?
Senate Bill 2680 promises greatly improved access to treatment for opioid dependence. There will be significant funding, doctor patient quotas will be increased, and much more. This bill gives some hope that the tides may be turning in the war against the opioid epidemic. We need to push forward on all fronts. Harm reduction, access to treatment, better delivery of evidence based healthcare are all of the utmost importance. Up until now, Suboxone has been something of a household name, synonymous with opioid addiction treatment. With the technological advance of its successor, Sublocade, we may be soon referring to MAT as “Sublocade treatment”.
We still have obstacles that we must overcome
It is taking time for doctors to start using Sublocade. The process for getting a patient approved and funded for the medication is difficult and time consuming. However, as we become more comfortable with the process and it becomes more streamlined, Sublocade will become more of a mainstream treatment. There are just too many improvements over the currently available medications. We also look forward to the near future when other pharmaceutical manufacturers invent similar products that have the same and possibly even more benefits. With the Sublocade senate bill, we can also expect widespread adoption of these new technologies with the support of government funding. With my hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida being the epicenter of the opioid crisis of America, I hope that we are able to move quickly in making these positive changes to help more people survive opioid addiction and move on to live fulfilling lives.