The short answer is no. Suboxone is not used to treat alcohol use disorder. It is used to treat opioid use disorder.
That being said, some people who use opioids and alcohol together may find that they are drinking less while on Suboxone simply because they are also using opioids less. In this way, being on Suboxone may help to decrease the frequency of alcohol use if you are using primarily when also taking opioids. However, Suboxone alone has not been shown by itself to decrease alcohol use or treat alcohol use disorder.
There are several pharmacological therapies for AUD, including Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram.
Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol use disorder (AUD), often referenced as alcohol addiction or alcoholism, is a medical condition characterized by difficulties stopping or controlling one’s alcohol use despite clearly understood negative consequences.
AUD ranges in severity, with the condition generally considered more severe when the person has little control over their alcohol use. At this point, it negatively impacts their life in a variety of ways.
It’s important to note that repeated alcohol use can essentially “rewire” the brain and cause a person to become physically and psychologically dependent on the substance. If a person who has grown dependent on alcohol stops drinking it, they will experience withdrawal symptoms, which can sometimes be so serious in the case of alcohol that they may be life-threatening.
Suboxone & Alcohol Addiction
Suboxone is one of several buprenorphine-based medications that is used to treat OUD. some people who use opioids and alcohol together may find that they are drinking less while on Suboxone simply because they are also using opioids less. In this way, being on Suboxone may help to decrease the frequency of alcohol use if you are using primarily when also taking opioids. However, Suboxone alone has not been shown by itself to decrease alcohol use or treat alcohol use disorder.
There have been some very preliminary studies that show Suboxone may help certain people to decrease their alcohol use however this is still largely unproven.  Few if any doctors would recommend Suboxone as a treatment for alcohol use disorder alone.
However, if you are also using opioids and you start using Suboxone, you might find that, because you are using less substances in general, you are actually consuming less alcohol while on Suboxone.
Does Suboxone Help With Alcohol Withdrawal?
Suboxone is not generally considered to help with alcohol withdrawal, nor should it ever be mixed with alcohol.
On the bright side, there are a variety of evidence-based treatments for AUD that you should talk about with an addiction treatment professional. These include Naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram. 
Addiction treatment should be customized to your individual needs. While the treatments you receive should always be evidence-based, there is no one “perfect” treatment plan that works for everyone. If you are interested in treatment for opioid use disorder with Suboxone, treatment for alcohol use disorder, or both, talk to your doctor about coming up with a plan that will work best for you.
- Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/understanding-alcohol-use-disorder. April 2021. Accessed October 2022.
- Medication Prescribing and Behavioral Treatment for Substance Use Disorders in Physician Office Settings. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_1976/ShortReport-1976.html. 2010. Accessed October 2022.
- Buprenorphine Reduces Alcohol Drinking Through Activation of the Nociceptin/Orphanin FQ-NOP Receptor System. Biological Psychiatry. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16533497/. January 2007. Accessed October 2022.
- Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) Treatment. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/alcoholusedisorderaudtreatment.html. September 2017. Accessed October 2022.
Medically Reviewed By Elena Hill, MD, MPH
Elena Hill, MD; MPH received her MD and Masters of Public Health degrees at Tufts Medical School and completed her family medicine residency at Boston Medical Center. She is currently an attending physician at Bronxcare Health Systems in the Bronx, NY where ... Read More