Medical Research

published : 2023-12-10

New Study Suggests Weight Loss Drugs May Reduce Alcohol Use Disorder Symptoms

OU Health Researcher highlights 'spontaneous decrease' in alcohol consumption among patients

An image of a person taking Ozempic weight loss drug, showcasing their journey towards a healthier lifestyle. (Taken with a Nikon D850)

A recent study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry suggests that weight loss drugs, such as Ozempic and Wegovy, could help reduce symptoms of alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Researchers from The University of Oklahoma (OU) and Oklahoma State University (OSU) collaborated on the study, which found a 'significant and noteworthy decrease' in the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) scores of six patients who were undergoing semaglutide treatment for weight loss.

The lead study author, Dr. Jesse Richards, director of obesity medicine and assistant professor of medicine at the OU-TU School of Community Medicine, was inspired to conduct the study after hearing from a significant number of his patients that their alcohol intake was spontaneously decreasing while on the medication.

A close-up photo of a person participating in a research study on semaglutide treatments for alcohol use disorder. (Taken with a Canon EOS R5)

The study also revealed that even low doses of semaglutide medication, as low as a quarter milligram, led to a quick reduction in alcohol intake for the patients.

While the results seem promising, Dr. Richards does not currently recommend using semaglutide treatments specifically for alcohol use disorder due to supply and safety concerns.

However, for patients who have indications for these medications due to obesity and diabetes, being on this treatment may potentially be beneficial for those struggling with alcohol intake.

A celebrity spokesperson endorsing Wegovy weight loss drug as a potential aid in reducing alcohol consumption. (Taken with a Sony A7 III)

Further research is underway with ongoing trials to determine the impact of semaglutide treatments on alcohol use disorder compared to placebo drugs or environmental factors.

The findings of this study support what clinicians are already seeing in practice and could potentially provide another tool to help individuals with alcohol addiction.