University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State

University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State

Richards

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Jesse Richards, MD, director of Obesity Medicine and assistant professor of medicine at the OU-TU College of Community Medicine and lead author of the study.

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Credit: Photo courtesy of OU-Tulsa.

The first published evidence from humans that semaglutide specifically reduces symptoms of alcohol use disorder (AUD) has been published in Journal of Clinical Psychiatry and details a recent collaboration between clinicians and scientists at the University of Oklahoma College of Community Medicine and the Oklahoma State University Health Sciences Center. The paper describes results for six patients who received semaglutide during weight loss treatment, demonstrating a significant and noteworthy reduction in Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) scores.

The paper is titled “Significant Reduction in Alcohol Use Disorder Symptoms Secondary to Semaglutide Weight Loss Treatment: A Case Series.” This collaboration has the potential to impact the lives of individuals with alcohol use disorder.

Semaglutide has recently made headlines as an FDA-approved drug for treating diabetes under the name Ozempic, and for weight loss under the name Wegovy. Recently, attention has turned to the possibility that semaglutide may have broader applications, including its potential effect on addictive behaviors such as reducing drug craving and alcohol consumption. Preclinical research in rodents and monkeys has shown that semaglutide is associated with a significant reduction in drug and alcohol consumption, and many patients taking the drug for diabetes and weight loss have reported a significant reduction in the desire to drink alcohol.

“This research represents an important step forward in our understanding of the potential therapeutic applications of semaglutide in the field of addiction medicine,” said lead author, Dr. Jesse Richards, director of Obesity Medicine and associate professor of medicine at OU-TU. Community medicine.

This case series evidence paves the way for gold-standard, placebo-controlled clinical trials like the one he is currently conducting in Tulsa, noted Dr. Kyle Simmons, senior author of the study and professor of pharmacology and physiology at The Ohio State University Health Sciences Center. Hardesty Center for Clinical Research and Neuroscience at The Ohio State University.

This clinical trial is called STAR (Semaglutide Alcohol Reduction Therapy), and is funded by the Hardesty Family Foundation and The Ohio State University-CHS. A sister study is currently underway in Baltimore, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

“This is an example of what can happen when our two R-1 institutions in Oklahoma collaborate,” Simons said. “With the publication of this case series in Journal of Clinical Psychiatry“The stage is set for future clinical trials, such as the STAR studies, that can conclusively tell us whether semaglutide is safe and effective for treating alcohol use disorder.”

The researchers stressed the need for further investigation through larger, controlled studies to validate and extend these preliminary findings. Until results of future placebo-controlled clinical trials are available, the authors believe that health care providers should direct patients toward behavioral therapies and medications that have been validated by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of alcohol use disorder.

Key takeaways from the research:

Treatment of semaglutide and alcohol use disorder: The study reveals a significant decrease in Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) scores in all six patients who received semaglutide treatment during weight loss drug therapy. The results suggest a potential role for this medication in the management of alcohol use disorder.

Implications for future research: The findings open new avenues for future research into the use of glucagon-like peptide-1 drugs, such as semaglutide, in treating addictive behaviors.

Collaborative research model: This collaboration between the University of Oklahoma College of Community Medicine and the Oklahoma State University Health Sciences Center is an example of the potential for clinicians and scientists to collaborate to explore innovative solutions to complex health care challenges.


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