Suboxone And Alcohol: Risks Of Polysubstance Abuse

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on April 26, 2021

Both Suboxone and alcohol cause central nervous system depression. When alcohol is combined with Suboxone it may lead to dangerous side effects and overdose.

Risks Of Mixing Alcohol And Suboxone

Suboxone is a narcotic painkiller medication used to treat drug abuse involving opioids and heroin.

The danger of Suboxone treatment is that the medication itself may lead to other forms of substance abuse.

Alcohol abuse is a commonly abused substance in the United States. Both Suboxone and alcohol cause central nervous system depression.

When alcohol is combined with Suboxone it may lead to dangerous polysubstance abuse side effects and overdose.

How Suboxone Works

Suboxone, methadone, and naltrexone are similar medications prescribed to inhibit the euphoric effects of opiates in the body.

Suboxone contains buprenorphine and naloxone. The buprenorphine in Suboxone binds to the same opioid receptors as other opiates, like morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and heroin. However, Suboxone doesn’t cause the same intense and euphoric side effects.

While Suboxone does produce mild euphoria, it acts as a partial opiate antagonist that limits the highs of opiate abuse.

What Happens When You Mix Suboxone And Alcohol?

A person that continues to abuse opiates while taking Suboxone will not achieve the same drug effects, as Suboxone treatment blocks how opiates act in the brain.

When Suboxone is abused it may cause chemical dependency and addiction. A person may experience withdrawal symptoms from Suboxone when they stop taking the medication and detox from the drug.

Suboxone is especially dangerous when a person takes the medication with other substances that cause central nervous system depression, such as alcohol.

When Suboxone is taken with alcohol, these substances amplify the sedative qualities of each other.

Dangers Of Mixing Suboxone And Alcohol

Healthcare providers are required to warn patients to not use Suboxone and other opiate drugs and take them with alcohol.

Side effects caused by Suboxone may increase when the drug is taken with other substances that cause sedation, including alcohol.

Because alcohol and Suboxone act as CNS depressants, taking them together will cause the side effects of both drugs to increase in intensity.

Get Started On The Road To Recovery.

Get Confidential Help 24/7. Call Today!

(844) 616-3400

Further, mixing Suboxone with alcohol can increase risks of tolerance and chemical dependency.

A person who abuses both of these substances may require higher doses of the drug and an increase in alcohol consumption to achieve the same effects.

This may lead to harmful and dangerous levels of alcohol consumption and Suboxone abuse.

Side Effects Of Suboxone And Alcohol

It is not recommended to take Suboxone without the guidance of a qualified physician and a valid prescription.

A person in Suboxone addiction treatment should discuss alcohol and medication usage with their physician to avoid adverse side effects and dangerous drug interactions.

Side effects from combining Suboxone and alcohol may include:

  • confusion
  • sedation
  • lethargy
  • dizziness
  • mood changes
  • drowsiness
  • respiratory depression
  • coma
  • delirium
  • overdose

A person who experiences these symptoms after mixing Suboxone and alcohol may require emergency medical treatment to prevent fatal outcomes.

Overdose Risk

The greatest danger of taking Suboxone with alcohol is the potential of life-threatening side effects and fatal overdose.

When a person takes Suboxone with alcohol, they are going against medical guidelines of safe use. Mixing these substances together may lead to respiratory depression, coma, and death.

Due to these risks, physicians are advised against prescribing Suboxone to people who abuse other CNS depressant drugs and alcohol.

The use of Suboxone with other CNS depressants and alcohol should always be avoided.

Drug Interactions

Suboxone may lead to dangerous drug interactions when taken with other medications and substances that cause CNS depression.

Medications that decrease activity in the brain and spinal cord may lead to the development of dangerous medical conditions when combined.

Other drugs that may interact with Suboxone include:

  • sedatives
  • antidepressants
  • antihistamines
  • common over-the-counter medications
  • painkiller medications
  • muscle relaxants

Any person who takes Suboxone should provide a list of all products and medications they use and share it with their pharmacist and physician.

Further, is not recommended to start, stop, or change the dose of any medications without a physician’s approval.

Suboxone Withdrawal

Suboxone can be addictive and produce similar withdrawal symptoms caused by other opioid drugs.

Once chemical dependency and addiction to Suboxone happens, a person may experience symptoms of withdrawal after stopping use.

Symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal may include:

  • anxiety, depression, and aggression
  • nausea and vomiting
  • muscle pain
  • sleep disturbance
  • flu-like symptoms
  • night sweats
  • headache

Addiction Treatment For Polysubstance Abuse

While Suboxone is a safe and effective treatment of opioid dependence and opioid withdrawal, misuse of this medication may lead to chemical dependency and addiction.

Several serious dangers and health risks are associated with Suboxone and drinking alcohol.

These risks extend to those who abuse Suboxone together witph other CNS depressants and medications that cause sedation.

For this reason, treatment may be needed for anyone who is mixing Suboxone and alcohol.

If you or someone you love has a Suboxone or alcohol addiction, or if you have any questions about substance abuse treatment, connect with our treatment center through our helpline today.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

  • Was this Helpful?
  • YesNo
Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on April 26, 2021
Let us walk you through the treatment process. We're here to help.
For 24/7 Treatment Help:
100% Free & Confidential. Call (844) 616-3400