Ozempic manufacturer Novo Nordisk launches study to find drug’s impact on reduced alcohol cravings

The new trial will determine whether the drug, which is approved to treat type 2 diabetes, can enhance liver health by reducing liver fibrosis or scarring rather than explicitly targeting alcohol addiction.

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Does Ozempic lower a user’s desire to drink alcohol — and if so, how? The manufacturer behind the popular medication is on a mission to find out.

Novo Nordisk will begin a 28-week study on Monday to examine the effects of semaglutide, found in Ozempic and other GLP-1 drugs, on alcohol consumption, CNN reported.

The company was gathering 240 participants for the new trial, which seeks to determine whether the drug can enhance liver health by reducing liver fibrosis or scarring rather than explicitly targeting alcohol addiction.

“Secondary endpoints include safety and tolerability and changes in alcohol consumption,” a Novo Nordisk spokesperson told CNN. “There is a significant unmet medical need in alcohol-related liver disease, and the first line of treatment for the condition is lifestyle intervention to refrain from drinking alcohol.”

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“Even though not all patients in the trial will have alcohol use disorder,” they added, “it is natural to include alcohol consumption as a secondary endpoint.”

Ania Jastreboff, an obesity medicine physician scientist at Yale University, told People magazine last year that some patients noticed they had less desire to consume alcohol while taking Ozempic, which is approved to treat type 2 diabetes and used for off-label weight loss.

Reports suggest that individuals using Ozempic have shown a decrease in drug cravings and improved control over other urges, such as shopping or nail biting. At the time, Jastreboff said additional research is needed to fully comprehend the effects of the weekly injections before categorizing them as “anti-addiction drugs.”

She also noted that Ozempic and Wegovy could influence the brain by interacting with hormones. The medications are believed to affect various brain areas responsible for regulating rewards associated with food consumption and other behaviors, as they operate within interconnected neural networks.

“For example, they used to drink a couple of glasses of wine, now they’ll drink a half a glass of wine and they don’t think to drink the rest of the glass,” Jastreboff explained. “So it’s as if they have the reward, or whatever it is that they were getting from drinking that wine,” from less of it. “Or they’re just not inclined to have a glass of wine.”