What is the relation between buprenorphine, alcohol and black-outs?

Regarding buprenorphine and alcohol being co-administered. Last week I drank 2-3 alcoholic beverages too quickly. Also, I am taking 4MG of buprenorphine daily. So, is it blacking out for an extended period of time?

Originally posted in SR 2.0 15/10/2013. Reviewed 20/2/22

Buprenorphine is a medication that is primarily used to treat opioid addiction.  Blackouts or amnesic episodes are not typical side effects. In fact, this possibility is not even mentioned as a rare side effect in the technical sheet of the product.

However, the consumption of alcohol can lead to blackouts or amnesic episodes, even without any other factors present. Drinking alcohol too quickly, especially high concentration beverages, can increase the likelihood of experiencing a blackout. During a blackout, a person may engage in activities as talking, walking… but they have no recollection of these events the next day.

This occurs because alcohol interferes with the formation of new memories in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a part of the brain that is responsible for forming and storing memories. 

To prevent blackouts, it is recommended to drink alcohol in moderation, avoid binge drinking, and stay hydrated by drinking water between alcoholic beverages. It is important to pace yourself when drinking and to be aware of the concentration of the beverages you consume. 

In conclusion, while blackouts are not a known adverse effect of buprenorphine, consuming alcohol too quickly or in high concentrations can lead to blackouts or amnesic episodes.