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Unmoderated debate about buprenorphine, recovery, treatment approaches, addiction... But keep it clean!
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Suboxone and Alcoholism

Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:24 pm

Prior to my induction on Suboxone, or rather, Zubsolv--actually, prior to my acute opiate addiction--I had some problems with alcohol. Full disclosure, I'm type II bipolar, and right around the time I turned legal drinking age, my family up and moved from my childhood home. I medicated my resultant depression with Bacardi. A lot of it. Up to a 750ml bottle a night. I eventually stopped, but continued to have on again/off again problems with alcohol. In the end, it was mostly beer.

Back to the induction: I had gone into outpatient treatment which meant a 90 day commitment to not drinking, or the length of the program. I figured this was going to be the case so I got good and drunk one last time the night before. Fast forward a year and a half, I no longer drink, nor do I have any desire to do so. I'd argue it's the buprenorphine. I know it doesn't play nice with booze, but even in withdrawal state, alcohol sounds absolutely awful to me. For a time I had thought myself an alcoholic, but now I'm not so sure. It just makes me tired and groggy, whereas bupe allows me to use my brain for things other than scheming and dreaming about more drugs. Anyone else have a similar experience?

Re: Suboxone and Alcoholism

Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:00 pm

Short answer, yup, Not only me but for many people here at the forum. Also in clinic
many have had the same benefit.
The clinic at times has used buperenorphine on Alcoholic s. It seems to be one of the unwritten
benefits of the medicine.
I believe too that being in a more rounded recovery program has something to do with it too.
I drank for over 30 years. Mostly weekends then everyday during my opiate period.

I feel very lucky .


Re: Suboxone and Alcoholism

Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:10 pm

Another forum member and I were recently discussing this subject. I too agree that it also helps with alcoholism. Although I've yet to do any research to see if the medical/science field has looked at Buprenorphine as a decent addiction treatment drug for us alkies. It sure beats taking Antabuse which does nothing for cravings. My doctor put me on that many years ago and I had to plan ahead to get drunk. I figured out that four days was enough time to start drinking again if I didn't take my pill that day. Of course it didn't work because there was no recovery program to help me stay off.

I do wonder if they have tried it yet for alcoholism. Time to do some research.

Re: Suboxone and Alcoholism

Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:12 pm

Thank you Razor55 and Rule62 for your responses! It's a shame that a lot of this off label use doesn't get more light in medical studies. I'm a big fan of bupe, as it's the only thing that has helped me achieve some level of sanity and dispense with the Batman level secrecy I maintained in active addiction. Your responses also indicate that I have bupe to thank for my continued abstinence from alcohol, so I shall have to be very careful once I've been off of it for a while. Hopefully that won't be any time soon. All the same, if drink was that important to me, I don't know if the bupe would stop me. Thirty years is a long time behind the bottle. Myself, I was in it for maybe 14 years, where seven of those years were heavy, active daily drinking. And I've been off for almost two years with only the occasional sip or drink to remind me that I'm just not interested in any of that anymore. Thanks very much for your responses!

Re: Suboxone and Alcoholism

Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:05 pm

Time may prove me wrong but I don't think Buprenorphine will get traction as a treatment for alcohol addiction. There are currently 3 FDA approved treatments, Naltrexone, oral or injection, Campral or Antabuse.
I do believe there is validity to the idea that people with opiate addiction see less drinking/abuse of alcohol when on Suboxone. The problem comes with the person with only an alcohol use disorder. What if the buprenorphine doesn't stop the behavior? Now you have person drinking and physically dependent on an opiate. Similar argument why we are not seeing Suboxone being used for treatment resistant depression.
It is being studied, both here and abroad, but it comes down to risk/benefit and # to treat.
A recurrent problem with off label prescription is that insurance companies will not pay unless there is an FDA approval. A number of companies are now refusing to pay for Suboxone when prescribed 'for pain' with a regular DEA #.

Re: Suboxone and Alcoholism

Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:29 am


Those are great points, and very realistic. In this recovery journey, I've met all kinds who've used all kinds to find their bliss and are working their way back, same as me, same as any of us who finally pulled our heads up for air and decided to keep breathing. Personally, opiates have always been my point of bliss, and alcohol little more than a way of tiding myself over between dragon rides. I started stealing my dad's Vicodin when I was 18, and would catch as catch could until I was able to get a big boy prescription of my very own. I'm a big proponent for the efficacy of Suboxone, or any other brand of the same components, as it has helped to curb my cravings and improve my mood and outlook overall. Just the same, I would never wish an opiate addiction upon anyone, particularly a person who is already swatting away at Demon Alcohol by itself. I don't entirely see Suboxone as an effective painkiller, but I've been on it for two years now, and have little in memory to compare against its absence in my system.