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Suboxone® and Alcohol Interactions and Risks

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As with any medication, Suboxone can have interactions and side effects that require careful attention. If you’re taking Suboxone, it’s important to understand how it interacts with other substances to ensure a successful treatment. However, combining Suboxone with alcohol can lead to hazardous consequences, even when following your doctor’s instructions. Therefore, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential dangers of combining Suboxone and alcohol and take necessary precautions to stay safe.

About Suboxone and Alcohol

Suboxone is a commonly used medication in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction, as it combines buprenorphine with naloxone. Buprenorphine helps alleviate cravings and withdrawal symptoms, while naloxone is an opioid antagonist that promotes treatment adherence. Suboxone’s formula is designed with safety features to support successful recovery.

On the other hand, alcohol is a product of yeast fermentation of sugars, and its effects can range from stimulant to depressant depending on the amount consumed. Many adults in the US consume alcohol for recreational purposes or add it to food.

Risks of Combining Suboxone and Alcohol

Drinking alcohol while taking Suboxone increases your risk of side effects and overdose. Although Suboxone is considered safe when taken under medical supervision, consuming alcohol during treatment is strongly discouraged. In the unfortunate event of an overdose, opioids such as buprenorphine can lead to shallow or stopped breathing. When combined with alcohol, Suboxone’s potential for this issue increases, even when taken as directed. Combining Suboxone and alcohol can result in a range of side effects such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in behavior
  • Memory issues
  • Motor control problems

We recognize that navigating social situations involving alcohol while taking Suboxone can be challenging, but it’s essential to take necessary precautions. Choosing non-alcoholic alternatives to alcoholic beverages is a great way to minimize your exposure to potential risks, and if you’re unsure about the alcohol content of a drink, don’t hesitate to ask a professional.

How Does Alcohol Use With Suboxone Affect the Central Nervous System?

Your central nervous system (CNS) includes your brain and spinal cord. Both alcohol and Suboxone depress the CNS, meaning they slow down its functions. Mild CNS depression doesn’t always cause danger and can sometimes help people with conditions like anxiety. However, combining alcohol and Suboxone can slow the CNS too much, causing symptoms including:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Poor judgment
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion

If you experience severe symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. A high level of CNS depression can result in coma, delirium or even death.

Getting Help After Taking Suboxone With Alcohol

It’s crucial to seek emergency care if you experience any of the following symptoms after consuming alcohol while taking Suboxone:

  • Pale, clammy skin
  • Purple or blue fingernails or lips
  • Slow heartbeat or breathing
  • Inability to respond or awaken
  • Extreme drowsiness and dizziness

When the cause of alcohol use involves an alcohol addiction, the patient may need additional care for their alcoholism.

Comprehensive Opioid Addiction Treatment at MedMark Treatment Centers

MedMark Treatment Centers helps patients with opioid use disorder across the United States reclaim their lives. At MedMark, we use evidence-based MAT programs that allow patients to learn coping and recovery skills. With a combination of medicine, therapy and social support, we assist patients as they work toward opioid-free lives. You can contact us online at any time to schedule your first appointment.

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