Mixing Subutex and Alcohol

What would happen if you were to mix Subutex and alcohol? Is this a dangerous or deadly combination? Below is an overview of what Subutex is and how it works, as well as information about the risks of mixing Subutex and alcohol.

Mixing Subutex and Alcohol
Subutex is a medication approved by the FDA to help treat opioid addiction and physical dependence. The active ingredient in Subutex is buprenorphine, which as an opioid partial agonist.

When someone takes Subutex, it binds to and activates the same opioid receptor sites as drugs like prescription narcotics and heroin, and while it may create some pleasant feelings, it doesn’t trigger a euphoric high.

Subutex is available by prescription including for at-home use from certified physicians, and the objective of its use is to help prevent withdrawal symptoms in people who are trying to discontinue their use of opioids.

Opioid withdrawal can be incredibly uncomfortable, physically and psychologically, so it’s a big roadblock to people who want to get sober. Rather than trying to make it through withdrawal, Subutex provides the opportunity for people to truly focus on their recovery. It can also be used in situations such as pregnancy, where going through a cold turkey detox from opioids could be dangerous to the fetus.

Since Subutex doesn’t act as a full opioid, it’s considered relatively safe, and it tends to have a low potential for abuse, addiction, and overdose when it’s used on its own and as directed.

What if you’re mixing Subutex and alcohol, however?

Alcohol is a depressant of the central nervous system, as are opioids. When you drink, it can impact your CNS in visible ways, such as by making you feel drowsy or affecting your motor skills and thinking.

While in general Subutex is considered safe, if you take Subutex with alcohol this can change. It can be a dangerous or even deadly combination.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, as is Subutex. This can cause serious problems if you’re mixing Subutex and alcohol. For example, it can increase the effects of the alcohol, making you feel more intoxicated than you would otherwise. This leaves you at risk for putting yourself or others in dangerous situations.

Alcohol also inhibits the normal metabolism of Subutex, so you may have high concentrations of the drug in your body for long periods of time.

With opioids, what happens when you overdose is that they depress the central nervous system’s essential functions so much that you have respiratory distress, you could slip into a coma, or you could die.

The same things can happen with alcohol and Subutex since both affect the central nervous system.

Subutex on its own isn’t likely to cause dangerous respiratory depression, but if you mix it with alcohol, it can and often does.

Doctors warn patients before prescribing them Subutex that they shouldn’t drink at all when they’re on it.

If you’re someone who is suffering from both an opioid addiction and an alcohol addiction, you should seek a treatment program that covers co-occurring addictions so that you can deal with both simultaneously.

To sum up, never mix Subutex and alcohol. It can lead to risky behaviors and actions, as well as potentially deadly respiratory depression since both affect the central nervous system.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.