We already know that ozempic will kill your appetite but will it kill your addiction? This week on HealthBite, we are talking about reports that the new class of weight loss drugs (referred by the public as ozempic) are not only curbing people’s appetite for food but also curbing appetites for alcohol, nicotine and even shopping!
Prescribers like me have noticed this trend in our patients- many have described a major curbing in their mojo for other substances. Patients tell me “I used to drink 1 or 2 glasses of wine with dinner and now I can’t even get through one!”
Long before the Tiktok craze, scientists showed that GLP-1 (the primary hormone mimicked in this class of drug) not only affects hunger centers in the brain but also hits on areas in the brain responsible for feelings of reward, desire, and emotional regulation. Basically dopamine!
Some exciting findings: (and yes, much of this work has been done in animal models)
- Animals habituated to alcohol reduced their preference and consumption for alcohol after the drug was given to them.
- They also reduced binge-like use of alcohol (yes they can create binge drinkers out of rats.)
- Similar neurochemical changes and patterns of use were shown in the brains of animals who were dependent on amphetamines and cocaine.
More recently, small studies have shown similar findings in humans where those using GLP1 agonists significantly reduced their drinking more than those who were treated with cognitive behavioral therapy.
What is super fascinating tho is that it does not seem to stop there. There is evidence that these drugs may also help control overly-sexual behaviors and compulsive behaviors like shopping and nail-bitting!
It must be reiterated that human studies in these other domains are small if not negligible and that the FDA has not looked into the use of these drugs for the treatment of “addiction”. What also must be said is that these drugs, as amazing as they seem, are still relatively new and it will take time to truly know the long-term impact. The use of these drugs or any drugs for that matter should not be taken lightly and as is the case with all things, there are benefits and also, potential costs.
Hear the entire episode here.
Wishing you a happy and healthy week!