"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Can a drug like Ozempic help treat addiction to alcohol, opioids, or other substances?

Semaglutide (marketed as Ozempic, Wegovy and Rybelsus) was originally developed to treat diabetes. It works by stimulating the production of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.

This style of drug is increasingly being prescribed for weight reduction, despite the proven fact that it was initially approved for an additional purpose. Recently, there was growing interest in one other potential use: to treat addiction.

Anecdotes from patients taking semaglutide for weight reduction show that it reduces their appetite and cravings for food, but surprisingly, it also reduces the urge to drink, smoke cigarettes, or take other drugs. can reduce

But does the research evidence back it up?

Animal studies show positive results

Semaglutide acts on glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors and is often called a “GLP-1 agonist”.

Animal studies in rats and monkeys have been overwhelmingly positive. Studies have shown that GLP-1 agonists can reduce drug consumption and the rewarding value of medication, including Alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and opioids.

The Out team reviewed the evidence and located that greater than 30 different preclinical studies had been conducted. The majority show positive leads to reducing drug and alcohol use or cravings. More than half of those studies focused specifically on alcohol use.

However, translating research evidence from animal models to individuals with addiction is difficult. Although these results are promising, it is simply too early to inform whether or not they can be secure and effective in humans with alcohol use disorder, nicotine addiction or one other drug dependence.

What about research in humans?

Research leads to human studies are mixed.

Only A large randomized controlled trial Wine has been held to date. This study of 127 people found no difference between exenatide (a GLP-1 agonist) and placebo (a sham treatment) in reducing alcohol consumption or binge drinking over 26 weeks.

In fact, everyone within the study reduced their alcohol consumption, each those on the lively medication and within the placebo group.

However, the authors conducted further analyzes to look at changes in drinking in relation to weight. They found that drinking decreased for individuals who had each alcohol use problems and obesity.

People who began at a standard weight (BMI lower than 30), despite an initial reduction in drinking, saw a rebound increase in levels of heavy drinking after 4 weeks of medication, compared with Heavy drinking days increased overall. Placebo

There were no differences between groups for other measures of drinking, comparable to cravings.

Some studies show rebound increases in levels of heavy drinking.

In one other 12 weeks case hearingthe researchers found that the GLP-1 agonist dulaglutide didn't help reduce smoking.

However, people receiving the GLP-1 agonist dulaglutide Drink 29 percent less alcohol in comparison with those on placebo. More than 90 percent of individuals within the study were also obese.

Smaller studies have checked out short-term use of GLP-1 agonists. Cocaine And Opioidswith mixed results.

Many other clinical studies of GLP-1 agonists and alcohol and other addiction disorders are currently underway.

While we await results from larger studies, conflicting results are difficult to interpret. These differences in treatment response may stem from individual differences that affect addiction, including physical and mental health problems.

Larger studies in larger populations of individuals will tell us more about whether GLP-1 agonists will work for addiction, and if that's the case, for whom.

How can these drugs work for addiction?

The exact way GLP-1 agonists work remains to be not well understood, but along with reducing consumption (of food or medicine), they can also reduce cravings.

Animal studies show that GLP-1 agonists reduce cravings. Cocaine And Opioids.

This may involve the ventral striatum, a key to the brain's reward circuit, with experiments showing that in the event that they administered GLP-1 agonists directly into this region, rats showed less “craving.” Oxycodone or Cocainepossibly by reducing drug-induced dopamine release.

Using human brain imaging, experimenters can induce craving by showing images (cues) related to alcohol. GLP-1 agonist exenatide Decreased brain activity In response to alcohol cues. The researchers found decreased brain activity within the ventral striatum and septal regions of the brain, which hook up with regions that regulate emotion, comparable to the amygdala.

In human studies, it stays unclear whether GLP-1 agonists work directly to scale back cravings for alcohol or other drugs. Any reduction in use must be directly assessed in future research.

Are these drugs secure for addiction?

Overall, GLP-1 agonists have been shown to be relatively secure in healthy adults and in individuals with diabetes or obesity. However, uncomfortable side effects include nausea, digestive problems and headaches.

And while some individuals are positive with dropping pounds as a side effect, others will not be. If someone is already underweight, for instance, this medicine might not be suitable for them.

In addition, only a few studies have been conducted in individuals with addictive disorders. However, some uncomfortable side effects could also be more problematic in individuals with addiction. Recent research, for instance, points to a Rare risk of pancreatitis GLP-1 agonists are associated, and individuals with alcohol use problems are already at increased risk for the disorder.

Other drug treatments are currently available.

Although the emerging research on GLP-1 agonists for addiction is an exciting development, rather more research is required to grasp the risks and advantages of those GLP-1 agonists for individuals with addiction.

In the meantime, there are currently effective drugs being prescribed for addiction. Only about 3% For example, Australians with alcohol dependence are prescribed drug treatments comparable to Naltrexone, acamprosate or Disulfiram. We must be sure that existing drug treatments are accessible and that health providers know find out how to prescribe them.

Continuous innovation in addiction treatment can be essential. Our team is leading research toward more individualized and effective medications for alcohol dependence, while others are investigating treatments for nicotine addiction and other drug dependence.