New Brunswick Tribune

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

A woman from Moncton has been able to resume her opioid addiction treatment

Key takeaways:

  • Rebecca Billard was apprehensive until she received confirmation of her next opioid addiction treatment dose.
  • Billard had to present proof of a negative pregnancy test before receiving her first shot because she utilised the patch method of birth control.

Rebecca Billard was nervous until she received a confirmed appointment for the next dose of her opioid addiction treatment.

Last week, though, she felt a wave of relief after receiving her second Sublocade shot.

“It took away a lot of anxiety and worry,” Billard remarked. “It fills me with happiness and optimism for the future.”

Billard spoke out earlier this month about losing access to her opioid addiction treatment when she and her doctor differed on the form of birth control she wanted to use.

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Sublocade, a monthly injection rather than a daily dose, assists with the severe withdrawal symptoms that many people experience when they stop taking opioids.

Sublocade, which Health Canada approved in 2018, may represent a risk to an unborn infant if a woman becomes pregnant while taking it, according to the product monograph.

According to the product monograph, “given the high degree of uncertainty in terms of safety to both the mom and the unborn baby, Sublocade use should be avoided in women of childbearing potential who are not utilizing an effective and reliable method of contraception or are judged unable to comply with contraceptive methods.”

Billard’s doctor advised her that she wouldn’t continue with the treatment unless she switched to “invasive” birth control methods, which she didn’t want to do. Long-acting reversible contraceptive options, such as an intrauterine device (IUD) or a hormone implant, were indicted by the doctor as necessary for her to continue treatment.

Moncton woman can resume treatment for opioid addiction

Billard used the patch method of birth control and had to show documentation of a negative pregnancy test before receiving her first shot. The prior clinic Billard attended, Horizon Health Network, did not reply to a request for comment this week.

Sublocade’s producer, Indivior Inc., stated in a statement that the product monograph does not “recommend or mandate a specific method or recommendation for contraception.”

After hearing her tale and offering his assistance, Dr. Christopher Levesque of Moncton reached out to Ensemble Moncton, a harm reduction organization.

Consent with knowledge

“I reached out and said, ‘Look, I’ll sit down with you, and we’ll talk about it, and we’ll come to a decision between the two of us,'” said Levesque, who worked at the Cameron Street Clinic in Moncton.

When prescribing Sublocade to patients, Levesque says he makes sure to clarify the dangers and side effects.

“The patient should understand the dangers connected with any sort of treatment and then provide an informed consent whether or not they choose to continue with the treatment,” Levesque added.

“I believe the manufacturer of the drug states in their product monograph that a suitable method of birth control is required. I believe the patient should decide whether or not the form is suitable, as long as it is consistent with proper medical care.”

Billard had her second monthly injection last week and hasn’t had to adjust her birth control regimen.

“One of the things that struck me was that there was a young lady who was well-informed, had done her homework, understood the concerns, and was in a position to make that decision,” Levesque said.

“Because of the nature of their conditions, not every patient would be a good candidate for Sublocade. But, as I previously stated, Rebecca was very well informed, and I felt quite comfortable telling her that I was willing to assist in her treatment after our conversation.”

Source: CBC News

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