Wednesday, November 29

Emerging Breakthroughs in Weight-Loss Medications

The talk of the town revolves around the latest wave of anti-obesity drugs, which are gaining popularity not just for their remarkable weight-loss outcomes but also for unexpected additional benefits. One standout medication, Semaglutide, originally introduced as Ozempic for diabetes and later as Wegovy for obesity, is causing a stir due to its potential to lead to a significant 15% to 20% reduction in body weight.

However, beyond mere weight loss, these medications, including others in the same category that mimic the natural hormone GLP-1, seem to possess an intriguing capability: curbing cravings for more than just food. People using GLP-1 drugs have reported decreased inclinations toward addictive and compulsive behaviors, such as alcohol consumption, smoking, excessive shopping, gambling, and even nail-biting.

Dr. Caroline Apovian, co-director of the Center for Weight Management and Wellness at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital, has heard similar anecdotes from her patients, particularly regarding reduced cravings for alcohol and sweets. The mechanism behind this phenomenon is not entirely clear, but it appears that GLP-1 drugs, in addition to suppressing appetite, may influence the brain's reward pathways, typically activated by substances like food, alcohol, and nicotine, as well as pleasurable activities such as gambling or shopping.

The potential advantages of GLP-1 medications go beyond weight loss, with Wegovy showing promise in lowering the risk of serious heart issues by 20%, according to a report from the drug's manufacturer in August 2023. This groundbreaking trial involving 18,000 people could mark the first instance of GLP-1 drugs providing cardiovascular benefits to overweight individuals without diabetes.

Research is delving into the drugs' impact on alcohol abuse and smoking. A study published in September 2022 suggested that a GLP-1 drug called exenatide significantly reduced alcohol consumption in individuals with both obesity and alcohol use disorder. Another ongoing trial is exploring whether escalating doses of semaglutide can lead to reduced drinking and smoking in individuals with alcohol use disorder who also smoke.

While these preliminary findings are promising, further research and large clinical trials are necessary for FDA approval beyond diabetes and obesity, which may take several more years. Dr. Apovian anticipates a surge in demand for these drugs as more benefits come to light, emphasizing the need to eliminate the stigma surrounding addictions and compulsions, viewing them as brain-based disorders rather than moral failings.

Dr. Apovian suggests taking into account the following for those who are interested in using GLP-1 medications to treat addiction or compulsive behavior:

1. Pursue it: If you're dealing with obesity and other compulsions, exploring GLP-1 medications could offer a potential solution. These medications might provide benefits beyond weight loss.

2. Watch for cheaper options: While newer GLP-1 drugs like Wegovy can be expensive and in short supply, first-generation alternatives like dulaglutide (Trulicity) and liraglutide (Saxenda), approved for diabetes or obesity, may become available as generics, making them more accessible and affordable.

In conclusion, the success of GLP-1 drugs in addressing a range of cravings could challenge the perception of addictions and compulsions as willpower issues, emphasizing their roots in brain-based disorders. Dr. Apovian encourages exploring these medications for their potential multifaceted benefits while also being patient and considering more affordable alternatives in the evolving landscape of anti-obesity treatments.



  1. This is the first time I've heard of GLP-1 drugs. It sounds interesting how it can help people control cravings, as well as addictive and compulsive behaviors.

  2. Oh very interesting post darling

  3. Thank you for the information! I learned so much! Have a great week!
    PerlaGiselle | iamperlita.com

  4. great to know....
    thank you for sharing

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