Ozempic Shows Potential for Reducing Alcohol Cravings

The popular weight management and type 2 diabetes medication semaglutide, sold under the brand names Wegovy, Ozempic, and Rybelsus, may reduce alcohol cravings and help people with alcohol use disorder (AUD) drink less, according to a case series published on November 27 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

In the first published evidence in humans, investigators found a significant reduction in the symptoms of alcohol use disorder in all six people taking the medication, says the lead author, Jesse Richards, DO, the director of obesity medicine and an assistant professor of medicine at the OU-TU School of Community Medicine in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“These individuals had been prescribed semaglutide for weight loss, not AUD, but while they were on the medication, they spontaneously reported that they were drinking fewer drinks whenever they would drink alcohol, and they tended to drink less frequently as well,” says Dr. Richards.

“These findings mirror what many clinicians and patients have been reporting in terms of spontaneous reductions in alcohol use during treatment with newer GLP-1 receptor agonists,” says Christian Hendershot, PhD, a psychiatrist, associate professor, and researcher at the UNC School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. “These findings also align with reports that reductions in drinking can be substantial for some people,” adds Dr. Hendershot, who was not involved in the study.

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