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Semaglutide for Alcohol Use Disorder: New Evidence Coming Up!

Semaglutide and Alcohol Use Disorder

New evidence favoring Semaglutide for alcohol use disorder is coming up. However, randomized controlled clinical trials are needed before Semaglutide is recommended for alcohol use disorder.

Previous reports of real-life patients, published for the first time on, showed significantly encouraging results. Our data favored the use of Ozempic and Rybelsus for alcohol use disorder.

The table below summarizes the results of the data:

Alcohol Intake



Alcohol Intake Reduced ⇓17180.3%
No Change ⇔3918.3%
Alcohol Intake Increased ⇑31.4%

Weight loss correlated with reduced alcohol intake and was reported by 80% of the patients.

GLP-1 use and alcohol intake reduced, increased, or no change
Most patients reported that their alcohol intake was significantly reduced with GLP-1 analogs, Ozempic and Rybelsus in particular.

Here is a table summarizing the results of an observational study conducted by authors of in which alcohol users reported reduced cravings, more gastrointestinal side effects, and no desire to drink alcohol anymore while using Semaglutide:

The table below summarizes the results:

Why Alcohol Intake Reduced



Side effects (Gastric issues)3419.9
Both No Desire plus Side effects2715.8
No Desire to Drink Alcohol10159.1
Not drinking so as to lose more weight42.3
Other side effects such as a hangover the next day84.7

Semaglutide for Alcohol Use Disorder: Key points:

  • Preclinical and initial human studies suggest GLP-1 receptor agonists, like semaglutide, hold promise for treating alcohol use disorder (AUD).
  • Semaglutide’s use for weight loss has led to anecdotal reports of reduced alcohol consumption, sparking interest in its possible application for addictive disorders.
  • Despite positive preclinical findings, there’s a lack of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to firmly verify the efficacy of GLP-1RAs, emphasizing the need for ongoing research.
  • The surge in reports of reduced alcohol use on semaglutide prompts consideration of drug repurposing as a potential avenue for addressing the limited medications available for AUD.
  • We need careful studies on GLP-1RAs to ensure they’re safe and effective for treating substance use disorders, considering different groups’ responses. This helps address health equity concerns.

Semaglutide and Alcohol Use Disorder:

Drinking alcohol is very common worldwide and deeply connected to our social lives. Even though it is unhealthy in most scenarios, people can still stick to moderate portions to maintain their health while consuming alcohol.

Nonetheless, alcohol use disorders (AUD) are a rising concern and are potentially lethal if left untreated.

These disorders include various problems related to drinking too much, causing harm to our bodies, minds, and relationships.

Furthermore, a substantial portion of individuals transition from recreational drinking to patterns that escalate into problematic behavior, indicating the development of AUD.

Alcohol use disorders affect a substantial number of people globally. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 5.1% of the global population aged 15 years and older suffer from AUD [ref].

This disturbing statistic highlights the magnitude of the issue and its impact on public health. However, pharmacological interventions are required to treat this condition.

A recent post in ‘Nature‘ has discussed the potential of GLP-1 receptor agonists like semaglutide for treating alcohol use disorder.

This possibility became a topic of interest after the anecdotal reports of reduced alcohol consumption in patients who took semaglutide for weight loss.

An important point to note is that despite anecdotal reports, there is a lack of solid evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) regarding the effectiveness of drugs like semaglutide in treating alcohol use disorder (AUD).

It emphasizes the need to rely on scientific rigor before considering such medications for AUD, ensuring safety and efficacy through well-controlled studies.


How did they reach this conclusion?

Researchers reached this conclusion from a mix of animal studies and early investigations on human subjects, which indicated the possible benefits of GLP-1 receptors (like semaglutide) in treating alcohol use disorders.

Nevertheless, it is highlighted by the authors that there is a lack of sufficient evidence that calls to conduct randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in humans.

Furthermore, ongoing trials in North America and Europe imply that researchers are actively investigating these drugs to validate their effectiveness and safety, specifically for alcohol use disorder (AUD).

The authors used a caution-filled tone while concluding. It was done to prevent people from spreading misinformation and using GLP-1 receptor agonists without solid evidence.

They have further emphasized that while there is hope, it is important to wait for scientific interventions and randomized control trials before advertising these drugs as a treatment for AUD.


GLP-1 RAs for AUD and further evidence:

Earlier this year, an investigation published in The Lancet on rats proved that Semaglutide, a potent GLP-1R agonist, reduces alcohol intake and prevents relapse-like drinking, affecting dopamine levels and metabolism.

Therefore, since semaglutide is FDA-approved for weight loss it urges experts to explore this drug for its potential in AUD treatment in overweight individuals.

A recent publication from the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry also concluded that findings from earlier animal studies indicate that GLP-1RAs show promise in addressing AUD.

Nevertheless, a thorough evaluation is required to evaluate semaglutide’s effectiveness in treating AUD. Further randomized, placebo-controlled trials are required. [ref]

Another study from November 28, 2023, showed that people who used Semaglutide or Tirzepatide, especially those with obesity, drank less alcohol and showed fewer signs of Alcohol Use Disorder. This suggests that GLP-1 RAs can help treat alcohol abuse in obese individuals. [ref]


Semaglutide for Alcohol Use Disorder: In Conclusion

The primary research has indicated that semaglutide and other GLP-1 receptor agonists may be useful in treating alcohol use disorder (AUD).

The use of semaglutide for weight loss has been linked to reduced alcohol intake, which has inspired interest in studying these medications for the treatment of AUD.

However, it is crucial to wait for solid evidence from professionally conducted trials to prove their safety and efficacy.

What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

Here is a link to My Facebook Page. You can also contact me by email at or at My Twitter Account
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