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How does Suboxone interact with alcohol?

Patients are discouraged from mixing buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) with alcohol. Alcohol acts as a depressant, thereby depressing the body’s central nervous system. When buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) and alcohol are mixed together, there is increased risk for sedation, difficulty breathing, overdose, and death.

As an opioid, Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is considered a CNS (central nervous system) depressant. This means that it depresses or reduces arousal and stimulation in various areas of the brain and other parts of the body (like the lungs). When taken as prescribed, Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) should make patients feel NORMAL, not tired or sedated. However, if it is combined with other CNS depressants—like alcohol or benzodiazepines, AKA “benzos” (like Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, Valium)—it can make you feel sedated and even cause difficulty breathing, leading to overdose and death. For these reasons, it is recommended that Burphoenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) NOT be combined with alcohol or benzos.

Rebekah L. Rollston, MD, MPH

Rebekah L. Rollston, MD, MPH, is a board-certified Family Medicine Physician and Head of Research at Bicycle Health. She earned her Medical Degree from East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine (in the Rural Primary Care Track) and her Master of Public Health (MPH) from The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Dr. Rollston completed her residency at Tufts University and Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard-affiliated community healthcare system in Greater Boston, with emphases in addiction medicine and sexual & reproductive health. Her professional interests focus on social determinants of health & health equity, addiction medicine, gender-based violence, sexual & reproductive health, rural health, homelessness & supportive housing, and immigrant health. Dr. Rollston has published on these topics in The Lancet, Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, American Journal of Health Promotion, Journal of Appalachian Health, and Medical Care.

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Rebekah L. Rollston, MD, MPH

Rebekah L. Rollston, MD, MPH, is a board-certified Family Medicine Physician and Head of Research at Bicycle Health. She earned her Medical Degree from East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine (in the Rural Primary Care Track) and her Master of Public Health (MPH) from The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Dr. Rollston completed her residency at Tufts University and Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard-affiliated community healthcare system in Greater Boston, with emphases in addiction medicine and sexual & reproductive health. Her professional interests focus on social determinants of health & health equity, addiction medicine, gender-based violence, sexual & reproductive health, rural health, homelessness & supportive housing, and immigrant health. Dr. Rollston has published on these topics in The Lancet, Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, American Journal of Health Promotion, Journal of Appalachian Health, and Medical Care.

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