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  • Writer's pictureNoah Carpine

The Pros & Cons: Brixadi vs Sublocade

Updated: Jun 26

Brixadi vs Sublocade Chalkboard

Brixadi and Sublocade are available to Partnership Health Plan members (Medi-Cal) at no cost. Both medications are controlled substances and available by prescription only. This article is for informational purposes only, please consult with a medical professional for questions regarding these medications.


Brixadi is an injectable form of buprenorphine available in weekly or monthly injections that was approved by the FDA in 2020. It is administered as a subcutaneous injection in the stomach, upper arm, or thigh.


Brixadi is available in four doses: 64 mg, 96 mg, 128 mg, and 160 mg. This medication is designed to be a long-acting treatment for individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD), providing a steady dose of buprenorphine throughout the month. The availability of multiple dosage options allows healthcare providers to tailor the treatment to the specific needs of their patients, potentially improving treatment outcomes.


What is Sublocade?

Sublocade is also a once-monthly injectable form of buprenorphine that was approved by the FDA in 2017. It is administered as a subcutaneous injection in the stomach. Sublocade is available in two doses: 100 mg and 300 mg. Since its introduction, Sublocade has been a significant advancement in the treatment of dependence of opioids such a fentanyl, heroin, and other opiates. Sublocade offers patients a reliable and consistent delivery of medication that can help maintain their recovery. The long-acting formulation is designed to provide a stable level of buprenorphine, which is crucial for reducing the risk of relapse.


Pros of Brixadi

  • Long lasting: This could be particularly beneficial for patients who have a higher tolerance to opioids or who have been on opioid replacement therapy for an extended period.

  • Lower cost: Brixadi may be more cost-effective for patients who require higher doses of buprenorphine, as the monthly cost is the same regardless of the dose. This can make a significant difference for patients who are managing their treatment expenses. There is no cost for Partnership Health Plan members (Medi-Cal).

  • Less invasive: Brixadi can be injected in the stomach, upper arm, or thigh, providing more options for administration compared to Sublocade, which can only be injected in the stomach. This flexibility can be advantageous for patients who may have discomfort or scarring in certain injection sites.

  • No need for tapering: Brixadi has a lower risk of withdrawal symptoms compared to Sublocade, as it does not require a tapering period when stopping treatment. The ability to stop treatment without a tapering process can be an attractive option for patients who are concerned about the potential for withdrawal.

Cons of Brixadi

  • Injection site reactions: Some patients may experience injection site reactions, such as pain, redness, or swelling, after receiving Brixadi injections. These reactions, while typically mild, can be a deterrent for some individuals considering this treatment option.

  • Not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women: Brixadi is not recommended for use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, as the effects on the baby are unknown. Pregnant or breastfeeding women may need to explore alternative treatments that have been proven safe for both the mother and child.

  • Potential for misuse: As with any medication, there is a risk that Brixadi could be misused or diverted, although this risk is reduced due to the controlled administration by healthcare professionals.

Pros of Sublocade

  • Established medication: Sublocade has been on the market for longer than Brixadi, so there is more data available on its effectiveness and side effects. This extensive track record can give both patients and providers confidence in the treatment's reliability.

  • Lower risk of diversion: Sublocade is less likely to be diverted or misused compared to other forms of buprenorphine, as it is only administered by a healthcare professional. The controlled administration helps ensure that the medication is used as intended.

  • No daily dosing: Sublocade eliminates the need for daily dosing, which can help improve medication adherence. This is especially beneficial for patients who have busy schedules or who may struggle with remembering to take daily medication.

  • Safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women: Sublocade is considered safe for use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, as long as the benefits outweigh the risks. This provides a viable option for women who are managing OUD during this critical time.

Cons of Sublocade

  • Higher cost: Sublocade can be more expensive for patients who require higher doses of buprenorphine, as the monthly cost increases with the dose. This could make it less accessible for some patients, particularly those without adequate insurance coverage.

  • Requires tapering: Sublocade requires a tapering period when stopping treatment, as abruptly stopping the medication can lead to withdrawal symptoms. The need for a tapering schedule can make the discontinuation process more complex and require additional planning and support.

  • Injection site reactions: Some patients may experience injection site reactions, such as pain, redness, or swelling, after receiving Sublocade injections. While these reactions are generally manageable, they can occasionally be severe enough to require medical attention.

  • Limited dosing options: With only two available doses, Sublocade may not provide the same level of dosing flexibility as Brixadi, which could be a limitation for some patients requiring a more customized approach to treatment.


Center Point DAAC and Brixadi vs Sublocade

Center Point DAAC is a treatment center that offers both Brixadi and Sublocade as part of their MAT program for opioid addiction. Their experienced medical professionals can help determine which medication may be the most effective for each individual patient. They also offer counseling and support services to help patients achieve long-term recovery. At


Center Point DAAC, patients receive comprehensive care that addresses not only the physical aspects of addiction but also the psychological and social factors that contribute to substance use disorders. The center's holistic approach to treatment can be critical in helping individuals sustain recovery and improve their overall quality of life.


Conclusion

In conclusion, both Brixadi and Sublocade are effective options for treating opioid use disorder with buprenorphine. Brixadi may be a better choice for patients who require higher doses, while Sublocade may be more suitable for those who require lower doses. Ultimately, the decision between Brixadi vs Sublocade should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional, taking into consideration factors such as cost, availability, and individual medical needs.


If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, reach out to a treatment center like Center Point DAAC for help. With the right medication and support, recovery is possible. The journey to recovery can be challenging, but with access to effective treatment options and a supportive care team, individuals with fentanyl addiction can overcome addiction and regain control of their lives.

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