Drugs Used to Treat Type 2 Diabetes Reduce Alcohol Cravings, Use in Individuals with Obesity

In social media posts on the community network Reddit, users reported reduced cravings for alcohol when taking drugs intended to treat Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

An analysis of those posts, together with a remote study of individuals with obesity who reported using semaglutide and tirzepatide, found that the drugs decreased cravings and reduced alcohol consumption, according to a study by Virginia Tech researchers published Nov.

The first was an analysis of more than 68,000 Reddit posts from 2009-23 that included terms linked to GLP-1 approved medications.

Semaglutide is a GLP-1 agonist, a class of drugs that reduce blood sugar and energy intake by mimicking the actions of hormones released after eating.

Among the keywords included in the search were Mounjaro, Wegovy, Ozempic, and Trulicity.

After cleaning the resulting data — such as eliminating comments with fewer than 100 characters — the set was narrowed to 33,609 posts from 14,595 unique users.

The study was unique in using Reddit to analyze the reported experience of thousands of users.

Of those, 71.7 percent addressed reduced cravings, reduced usage, and other negative effects due to drinking.

In a second study, 153 participants who self-reported having obesity were recruited from various social media platforms.

Roughly a third of these participants represented the control group, a third were taking either a semaglutide injection or tablet, and a third were using tirzepatide.

Participants on semaglutide or tirzepatide reported drinking significantly fewer drinks, on average, than those in the control group who were not on any medication for diabetes or weight loss.

In addition, researchers found that both the average number of drinks and the odds of binge drinking were found to be significantly lower.

Results also found that the stimulative and sedative effects of alcohol intoxication are reduced when taking these medications.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved only three medications to treat alcohol use disorder: disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate.

They have shown only modest success, have poor compliance, and are underprescribed.

The authors suggest further randomized controlled trials to explore the therapeutic potential of GLP-1 agonists and GIP/GLP-1 combination drugs to treat alcohol use disorder, which affects 5.9 percent of individuals in the United States ages 12 and older.


Fatima Quddos, Zachary Hubshman, Allison Tegge, Daniel Sane, Erin Marti, Anita S. Kablinger, Kirstin M. Gatchalian, Amber L. Kelly, Alexandra G. DiFeliceantonio, Warren K. Bickel. Semaglutide and Tirzepatide reduce alcohol consumption in individuals with obesity. Scientific Reports, 2023; 13 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-48267-2

Virginia Tech. (2024, January 8). Drugs used to treat Type 2 diabetes reduce alcohol cravings, use in individuals with obesity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 8, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2024/01/240108125905.htm
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