Home Medizin Wie ein Medikament gegen Fettleibigkeit bei einer Alkoholabhängigkeit helfen könnte

Wie ein Medikament gegen Fettleibigkeit bei einer Alkoholabhängigkeit helfen könnte

von NFI Redaktion

The glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist semaglutide, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of type 2 diabetes (Ozempic) and obesity (Wegovy), has been making headlines.

Recently, attention has turned to the possibility that semaglutide could have broader applications, including potential positive effects on addictive behaviors such as reducing cravings for drugs and alcohol consumption.

„There are some really interesting preclinical studies in rodents and primates showing that GLP-1 agonist molecules like semaglutide not only reduce food intake, but also alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, and amphetamines,“ said Kyle Simmons, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology at the Center for Health Sciences at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa, as reported by Medicine News from Medscape.

Some of this early research was conducted by Elisabet Jerlhag Holm, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

„We have been working on GLP-1 and alcohol since 2012 and have been observing promising effects,“ said Holm to Medicine News from Medscape.

Her team published two studies earlier this year – one in Pharmacology Limits and the other in eBioMedicine

„We have shown that semaglutide binds to the nucleus accumbens—a brain region associated with rewards. We have also shown that semaglutide alters dopamine metabolism when alcohol is present. This represents a preliminary mechanism,“ said Holm.

First human data

The preclinical data sparked interest in testing the value of the GLP-1 agonist in patients with addiction disorders.

Simmons and colleagues have now published what is likely the first evidence in humans that semaglutide specifically reduces symptoms of alcohol use disorder (AUD).

In a report published online on November 27 in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, they describe six patients (five female; average age 43 years) who received semaglutide treatment as part of a pharmacotherapy for weight loss.

All six tested positive for AUD with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), and all six showed a significant improvement in their alcohol-related symptoms after starting treatment with semaglutide.

An AUDIT score > 8 is considered positive. The average AUDIT score was 14 at the start of the study. After semaglutide treatment, it averaged 4.5. The mean decrease in AUDIT values of 9.5 points under semaglutide was statistically significant (P < .001).

The patients were followed for several weeks to nearly nine months, and all showed a reduction in AUD symptoms. At various follow-up points, all six patients had AUDIT scores consistent with „low-risk“ alcohol consumption.

Strong response at low doses

„There was a very strong response, even at a very low dose,“ said lead author Jesse Richards, DO, Director of Obesity Medicine and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine in Tulsa, as reported by Medicine News from Medscape.

Three patients were treated with 0.5 mg of semaglutide weekly, two with 0.25 mg weekly, and one with 1 mg weekly. These doses are lower than those currently approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Holm is not surprised by the results in these six patients. „Based on our preclinical data, this result is to be expected. The data is promising, and larger studies are required,“ she said to Medicine News from Medscape.

Simmons is currently leading a randomized, placebo-controlled study to further test the impact of semaglutide on AUD.

The STAR study (Semaglutide Therapy for Alcohol Reduction) is funded by the Hardesty Family Foundation and the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences.

A sister study is also underway in Baltimore, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Hopefully, these studies „will ultimately tell us whether semaglutide is safe and effective for the treatment of AUD,“ said Simmons in a statement.

Although AUD is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths worldwide, it currently has only three FDA-approved pharmacotherapies. The acceptance of these medications, however, is limited.

„There remains a substantial treatment gap, and there is a need for new and novel, or potentially better-tolerated, or other treatment mechanisms for patients,“ said Richards.

The preclinical and early clinical data provide a „signal“ of a treatment effect of semaglutide on AUD, said Richards. The ongoing randomized controlled studies are expected to be completed in the next one to two years. „At this point, we will have a much better sense of the safety and efficacy of this drug against AUD,“ he said.

There was no specific funding for the case series. Richards is a member of the speaker bureaus of Rhythm Pharmaceuticals and Novo Nordisk and a member of an advisory board of Rhythm Pharmaceuticals. Simmons is a recipient of a grant from the Hardesty Family Foundation to support an ongoing clinical study with semaglutide for the treatment of AUD. Holm has no relevant disclosures.

Related Posts

Adblock Detected

Please support us by disabling your AdBlocker extension from your browsers for our website.