Like many other medications, Suboxone has interactions and side effects that you should keep in mind as you take it. If you take Suboxone, understanding how it interacts with other substances will help you have a successful treatment. Combining the medication with alcohol can have dangerous effects, even when you take Suboxone according to your doctor’s directions. Learn about the dangers of Suboxone and alcohol and how to stay safe.
About Suboxone and Alcohol
Many patients who participate in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction use Suboxone. This medicine combines the opioid buprenorphine with the opioid agonist naloxone. While buprenorphine relieves cravings and withdrawal symptoms, naloxone helps the patient stay committed to treatment. Suboxone has safety features designed in its formula to promote a successful recovery.
Alcohol forms when yeast ferments sugars. Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, it can work as a stimulant or a depressant. Many American adults drink alcohol recreationally or add it to food.
Risks of Combining Suboxone and Alcohol
Drinking alcohol while taking Suboxone increases your risk of side effects and overdose. Suboxone has a good safety profile when you take it under a doctor’s supervision. However, when you drink alcohol during Suboxone treatment, you go against the recommended use of Suboxone. When an overdose happens, an opioid like buprenorphine can cause stopped or shallow breathing. Alcohol increases the likelihood of Suboxone causing this issue, even when you take it as directed. Combining Suboxone and alcohol can also cause:
- Changes in behavior
- Memory issues
- Motor control problems
Remember to practice caution in environments involving alcohol when you’re taking Suboxone. Choose non-alcoholic alternatives to alcoholic drinks, and when in doubt, ask about a drink’s alcohol content.
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 such as:
- Slowed breathing
- Decreased heart rate
- Poor judgment
If you experience severe symptoms, get immediate medical attention. A high level of CNS depression can result in coma, delirium or death.
Getting Help After Taking Suboxone With Alcohol
Patients who experience any of the following symptoms after drinking alcohol while taking Suboxone need emergency care:
- 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.