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Original Research

Significant Decrease in Alcohol Use Disorder Symptoms Secondary to Semaglutide Therapy for Weight Loss: A Case Series

Jesse R. Richards, DO; Madisen Fae Dorand, MD; Kyleigh Royal; Lana Mnajjed; Maria Paszkowiak; and W. Kyle Simmons, PhD

Published: November 27, 2023


Objective: Despite being a major cause of preventable death worldwide, alcohol use disorder (AUD) currently has only 3 FDA-approved pharmacotherapies. The glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA) semaglutide has shown promise in preclinical studies for reducing alcohol consumption, but there are currently no randomized clinical trials that associate a decline in AUD symptoms with semaglutide use. This case series presents 6 patients with positive AUD screenings who were treated with semaglutide for weight loss. All subsequently exhibited significant improvement in AUD symptoms.

Methods: Retrospective chart review was utilized to identify patients treated with semaglutide for weight loss who also had positive screenings for AUD on the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT; score > 8 considered positive) prior to initiation of semaglutide therapy. Six patients were identified who met these criteria. A paired t test was utilized to compare initial AUDIT scores with AUDIT scores after initiation of semaglutide therapy.

Results: All 6 identified patients (100%) had significant reduction in AUD symptomatology based on AUDIT score improvement following treatment with semaglutide (mean decrease of 9.5 points, P < .001).

Conclusions: This case series is consistent with preclinical data and suggests that GLP-1RAs have strong potential in the treatment of AUD. Additional randomized, placebo-controlled clinical studies are needed to fully assess the efficacy of semaglutide in treating AUD.

J Clin Psychiatry 2024;85(1):23m15068

Author affiliations are listed at the end of this article.

Volume: 85

Quick Links: Uncategorized

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