If you’re taking Subutex, an opioid agonist, to try and relieve an opiate addiction, washing down this pill with alcohol is the last thing you want to do. Doctors prescribing buprenorphine hydrochloride, the active ingredient in Subutex, forbid drinking while taking this medication as the combined effects can cause serious damage to your body. When you mix Subutex and alcohol you risk respiratory distress, coma and even death. While both drugs are addictive, alcohol and Subutex enhance each other’s harmful physical and psychological effects in an unpredictable manner, making it unsafe for anyone to take the two together.

Alcohol is a dangerous addition to any drug cocktail. If you or a loved one are taking prescribed medications, avoid alcohol usage and spare yourself a deadly gamble. And if you have found it difficult to overcome your substance use disorder, it may be time to seek professional help. Call The Recovery Village today to speak with an intake coordinator who can point you in the direction of recovery.

What Is Subutex?

Subutex is a medication that counters opiate addiction and relieves pain. It was developed before Suboxone and contains only buprenorphine, while Suboxone contains naloxone, making it less addictive. Subutex is a Schedule III substance, meaning it has a lower abuse potential than other drugs, but it can be addictive even as an opiate substitute. If you abuse Subutex, you can expect to experience side effects such as flu-like symptoms, trouble breathing, sleeping problems and blurred vision. When you drink alcohol after taking this opioid agonist, the damage only multiplies.

What are the Side Effects of Subutex and Alcohol?

Subutex and alcohol abuse can result in irreversible harm to your mind and body. On its own, alcohol depresses your central nervous system and can affect your heart and breathing rates. Alone, Subutex can create unpleasant body aches as well as psychological issues.

Symptoms of Subutex Abuse:

  • Intense muscle pain
  • Headaches
  • Sneezing
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse:

  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired judgment
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Flu-like symptoms

Side effects of Subutex and Alcohol Abuse:

  • Respiratory depression
  • Vertigo
  • Liver disease
  • Shallow breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma

In addition the mental and bodily damage of substance use disorders, there are also other side effects that can impact your daily life. Financial problems, being fired from a job, and loss of close relationships can all stem from Subutex and alcohol abuse.

Dangers of Mixing Subutex and Alcohol

No matter what kind of prescription drug you’re taking, be it Subutex or not, it’s never a good idea to drink while taking medication. Since the effects of both drugs are heightened when combined, and everyone has different tolerances, you cannot control the type of effects you’ll experience when you mix pills with alcohol. Specifically with Subutex, alcohol inhibits the metabolism of this opioid agonist, meaning Subutex will be active in your body for longer than you expect.

In the long term, the more alcohol you drink and Subutex you take, the higher your tolerance becomes. This means you will have to ingest greater amounts of each to feel the same effects, and your risk of blacking out and overdosing increases every time you do this. For your health, happiness and future prosperity, Subutex and alcohol is a life-threatening cocktail you should avoid at all costs.

Treatment for Subutex and Alcohol

If you find yourself reliant on Subutex and alcohol or know someone who is, it’s important to not go it alone. Detoxing at home can have calamitous consequences, and going “cold turkey” is more likely to land you back on square one than on the path to sobriety. Your best option for recovery is seeking out a rehabilitation facility that can provide you with around-the-clock care and co-occurring disorder (anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, etc.) therapy.  

When you come to The Recovery Village, you’ll experience care that’s tailored to your specific needs, every step of the way. From medically assisted detox through outpatient care, you’ll work with compassionate clinicians who care about your recovery and can help you beat Subutex and alcohol addiction for good. The first step is reaching out to us — call to speak to an intake coordinator today and begin your journey back to health.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.