Semaglutide’s Promising Impact on Alcohol Use Disorder: A University Breakthrough

Semaglutide’s Promising Impact on Alcohol Use Disorder: A University Breakthrough | The Lifesciences Magazine

In a groundbreaking collaboration between the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine and Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, a recent study has unveiled compelling evidence that semaglutide, a drug known for its FDA-approved applications in diabetes and weight loss, is associated with significant reductions in the symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, this research presents the first human-based evidence of semaglutide’s potential impact on addictive behaviors.

A Noteworthy Decrease in the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test scores

The study, titled “Significant Decrease in Alcohol Use Disorder Symptoms Secondary to Semaglutide Therapy for Weight Loss: A Case Series,” outlines outcomes from six patients who received semaglutide during weight loss treatment. Notably, the patients demonstrated a noteworthy decrease in their Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) scores.

Semaglutide, commercially available as Ozempic for diabetes and Wegovy for weight loss, has recently garnered attention for its potential broader applications. Pre-clinical research in animals showcased the drug’s association with substantial decreases in drug and alcohol consumption. Patients taking semaglutide for diabetes and weight loss have reported significant reductions in alcohol cravings.

Lead author Dr. Jesse Richards, Director of Obesity Medicine and Assistant Professor of Medicine at OU-TU School of Community Medicine, expressed the significance of this research in advancing our understanding of semaglutide’s therapeutic applications in addiction medicine.

A Stepping Stone for Gold-Standard Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trials

Senior author Dr. Kyle Simmons, Professor of Pharmacology & Physiology at OSU-Center for Health Sciences, highlighted the case series evidence as a stepping stone for gold-standard placebo-controlled clinical trials. The ongoing STAR (Semaglutide Therapy for Alcohol Reduction) trial, funded by the Hardesty Family Foundation and OSU-CHS, aims to explore semaglutide’s safety and efficacy in treating alcohol use disorder. A parallel study in Baltimore, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), reinforces the potential of this research.

Dr. Simmons emphasized the collaborative power of Oklahoma’s R-1 research institutions, foreseeing future clinical trials to definitively determine semaglutide’s role in treating alcohol use disorder. While the current findings open new research avenues, the authors stress the need for larger, controlled studies to validate and build upon these initial discoveries. Until then, healthcare providers are encouraged to guide patients toward established FDA-validated behavioral treatments and medications for alcohol use disorder. This collaborative research model exemplifies the potential when clinicians and scientists join forces to tackle complex healthcare challenges, offering hope for innovative solutions in addiction medicine.

Also Read: A Study finds that Small amounts of Alcohol may reduce Stress

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